A Catholic priest in Australia who was convicted of sexually abusing more than 30 children says that’s not a good enough reason to give up his title as a priest.
Vincent Gerard Ryan (above), who served a 14-year prison sentence for abusing dozens of boys under the age of 13 — only to be hit with another prison term for abusing altar boys — was interviewed by the nation’s ABC network.
“It’s a duty. I’ve committed myself to it,” he said. “It’d have to be a very serious reason, unless I’m stopped by authority, for me to make that decision and at this moment I don’t see it.”
In the ABC’s Revelation series, filmed on the eve of Ryan’s 2019 criminal trial, the paedophile priest is seen performing mass in his home, wearing holy vestments and blessing the communion wine and bread.
Following his fourth conviction in March 2019 on charges of sexually abusing two boys in the Newcastle region in the 1970s and 1980s, Ryan, 81, is currently serving a prison sentence in NSW of three years and three months.
If molesting children isn’t enough of a problem for someone like Ryan to leave the priesthood, what would it take?
The Catholic Church has only given Ryan slaps on his wrists throughout the years, but his victims are speaking up and hoping to affect change.
Survivors of Ryan’s abuse have condemned the Church’s failure to remove Ryan from the priesthood. Peter Dorn was a victim of Ryan’s as a primary school boy in Maitland in the 1970s.
“How does the church want somebody like that? How did they say that’s a person acting on behalf of God? They’ve got no decency, they’ve got no compassion,” Dorn said. “They say they have acknowledged it, but if they still recognise him as a priest, you know that’s disgraceful.”
Ryan can still hold Mass in private, and he shows no signs of holding back. In fact, he said if he were removed from the priesthood, he still might not adhere to that.
Ryan questioned whether he would in any case accept a decision to remove him from the priesthood and no longer say mass.
“I will have a real quandary, because I will want to obey the church, but I will have a conscience problem. I don’t know what I’ll do,” he said.
No one was doubting he has a “conscience problem.” Ryan saying he wouldn’t follow the rules is exactly why he shouldn’t be in a position of authority.