Most Catholic religious orders still refuse to put out a list of ‘credibly accused’ clerics. The latest one to actually take this minimal step, however is the Chicago-based Divine Word Missionaries.
It’s a pretty interesting list. And a somewhat vague one.
California has 39.5 million people. It covers 161,000 square miles and has 12 Catholic dioceses.
A credibly accused Divine Word cleric, Brother Jeremiah Walsh, worked there.
That’s all we’re told by his church supervisors. Not a town name or parish name or even a diocesan name.
Florida is smaller, with 21.5 million people over 65,758 square miles and seven Catholic dioceses.
Another credibly accused cleric, Fr. Crescente DeRivera, worked there.
Again, that’s all the information we’re given.
At least that’s better than how Divine Word officials list several other ‘credibly accused’ abusers.
Fr. Louis Altendorf was in China (population 1.4 billion).
Fr. Ponciano Ramos was in the Philippines (population: 109 million).
Br. Deogratias Aguilar was in Mexico (population 128 million).
Fr. Andrew (Dorfmeister) Masters was in South Africa, England and Ireland.
The list goes on and on: Br. Henry Miller (Ghana, Kenya), Fr. Elias Aiyako (Jamaica), Fr. Michael Carew (Ghana). . . .
But absolutely no one has any idea if these priests or brothers were in huge cities or tiny villages or both.
How on earth could providing this basic information be hurtful to Catholic officials, who constantly puff out their chests and declare how ‘open’ and ‘transparent’ they are about abuse these days?
And as bad as the Divine Word order is, the Christian Brothers worse.
They published a list of accused clerics only because they were forced to do so when they sought Chapter 11 protection.
That list has only individual names on it. No pictures or assignments. No years of ordination, death or abuse. No nothing.
And as best we can tell, the Christian Brothers haven’t updated the list since it was first posted seven years ago, except to note that one of the clerics has passed away.
Think about that a minute: essentially what the Christian Brothers hierarchy is saying either:
“We only posted a predators’ list because we were forced to and now that the litigation is over, we’re going right back to our secretive, reckless and callous secrecy,”
“Not a single allegation against a single Christian Brother has surfaced in seven years that we deem credible or even worthy of public mention.”
What makes all this so egregious is that members of both religious orders work among some of the most vulnerable youngsters in the world – mostly Catholic kids in mostly Catholic schools, including those in boarding schools and in developing nations.
Help us force the truth out of recalcitrant, secretive religious orders. Ask your Catholic and ex-Catholic acquaintances if they know or suspect anything about clergy sex crimes and cover ups by Marianists, Jesuits, Christian Brothers, Divine Word Missionaries or any of the hundreds of other such church entities.
Horowitz Law represents children and adults who were victims of sexual abuse by clergy — whether it it a priest, brother minister, rabbi, deacon, nuns, or other clergy in civil lawsuits. If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a church or other religious organization, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an email to [email protected]