Letter states that priest engaged in 'homosexuality'


A LETTER released by the Vatican last week states that Fr Andrew Ronan engaged in “homosexuality” with the students in an Irish seminary and was subsequently transferred to the US.

The late Fr Ronan is at the centre of a US court case which seeks to hold the Vatican accountable for the abuse allegedly suffered more than 40 years ago by John V Doe, the man taking the case who was then in his teens.

The letter, dated June 21st, 1963, from the provincial of the Servite Fathers in Chicago, and addressed to the head of the same religious order in Rome, says Fr Ronan engaged in “homosexuality with the students”.

It goes on to say that Fr Ronan “freely admitted and confessed” to this when one of the students brought the matter to the attention of the prior in the seminary.

“This was found out on my visit to Benburb after the last General Chapter in June of 1959, and I removed him to the USA immediately. We lost vocations as a result of this in Ireland and we are most fortunate that more scandal did not come.

“I am sure you will agree that to put him back in a seminary would be contrary to all prescripts of the church and to common sense.

“While there has been no known recurrence of this problem, all the experts in this perversion agree that there is no permanent cure. I am expecting the worst any day here at St Phillips but much better that it occur here than in a seminary.”

The Vatican, in publishing internal files on the Vatican Radio website last week, said the documents proved that it had only learned of the accusations against Fr Ronan in 1966, after the alleged abuse of a victim, named in US court papers as John V Doe, had occurred.

However, Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer for John V Doe, said the letter, to the head of the religious order as appointed by the Holy See, demonstrated that the order, the Holy See and the Vatican had “actual knowledge that Ronan is a predator and a paedophile”.

Another letter from 1966 requesting Fr Ronan’s laicization states that “if the Holy Father will grant” it, it would be possible “for him to leave quietly and without scandal”. Commenting on this letter Mr Anderson said: “In other words it’s up to who? The pope.”