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March 26, 1993     The Message
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March 26, 1993

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1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 26, study of Vincennes schools to conclude in April ;MARYANN HUGHES Board, the Vincennes An analysis of student dition and utilization of th Catholic community of Vin- staff writer parishes and the diocesan Of- population trends at Flaget present school facilities in re- cennes on the status of our ...... rice of Education, a 24-mem- Elementary and Rivet High lation to the present program schools." e study of ber committee has been meet- schools, both in Vincennes. offerings. He says he is "hopeful for Vincennes Catholic ing this winter. Their An assessment of the Vin- A review and analysis of growth, but quite frankly, objective is to complete a cennes community's dome- the financial position of the some programs could be el- come to con- "comprehensive study of the graphics. Vincennes Catholic school tered. I'm hopeful and realis- April, according school system," Dr. Politz * An analysis of the general system, including revenue tic and I hope everyone else Arthur Politz, superin- said. The finished report will education and religious edu- sources and expenditure is too. at of the Vincennes provide "an accurate picture cation programs in the two needs. schools and princi- of where we are in the 1992- Vincennes Catholic schools Dr. Politz explained that "There is potential in the :High School. 93 school year. in terms of current offerings the purpose of the study is to community to do great director of the The study has focused on and projected offerings. "develop a comprehensive things." Catholic School the following areas: An assessment of the con- study to present to the The study is under the di- rection of three professors .......... from the School of Education at Indiana State University in , Terre Haute; they are Dr. Robert Boyd, Dr. Robert Ester- .... . .... brook and Dr. Gregory Ulm. .: Committee members include Dr. Politz, Phyllis Beshears, ..... diocesan director of schools, ": : and Ruth Padgett, principal at ..... Flaget. :  The four pastors in the Vin- cennes area and teachers .... : ...... from both Flaget and Rivet schools are also on the com- mittee. They include Father James Blessinger, Sacred ..... Heart Church; Father Robert Bultman, Old Cathedral; Fa- ther Donald Ackerman, St. John the Baptist Church; Fa- ..... thor Albert Scheller, St. Vin- cent de Paul Churchi Sally Snyder, Flaget, and Ralph .... Holscher, RiveL Committee members also include Mark Hill, James Hills and Diane Quinn, all members of Old Cathedral parish; Mary Zoe Cannon, :: .... : : Lou Ann Gilbert and Robert the library dodiaiion, Dr. Arthur Politz, su, Stryzinksi, all members of Sa- at Rivet erintendent of the Vincennes Catholic schools and cred Heart parish; Kathy 1 Dulin, Barbara Fabyan, Mar- vls Lane and Jim Zelgler, all : members of St: John parish, and Sarah Bilskie and Marl, ! lyn Vantlin, both members of ;;i St. Vincent parish. Sexual misconduct alleged against 3 Illinois priests IYPAUL R, LEINGANG Message editor ests of the Diocese have been asked arishes while is underway legations of sex- The diocese of the Diocese of COvers 28 counties Illinois. priests are Father m, pastor of J F-33zabeth- ames Calhoun, Boniface Church, Wn; and Father pastor of 'acrament Church, Voanahmen may be in southwestern of his work of Camp in nearby Ozark, as head of a travel COmpany which is not connected with his diocese. The Belleville diocesan paper, the Messenger, re- ported March 12 that Bishop James P. Keleher had cele- brated all the weekend Masses at Blessed Sacrament Church on March 6 and 7, and that the bishop told parishioners that their pastor had resigned because of alle- gations of sexual misconduct more than 20 years ago. Fa- ther Ratterman is a former school principal and dioce- san school superintendent. A statement was issued on behalf of Bishop Keleher March 18 by Msgr. Bernard Sullivan, diocesan vicar gen- eral, to the members of the Germantown parish. That statement acknowledged that an "alleged incident occurred more than 10 years ago, and involved sexual misconduct with a young adult." YOUR #I CHOICE .OW COST AUTO INSURANCE ClePendent Agent ly COmpanies to choose from of experience DENNIS K. FELDHAUS A similar statement was shared at the Elizabethtown parish, acknowledging that an "alleged incident occurred more than 25 years ago and involved sexual misconduct with a minor." Bishop Keleher returned early from his "ad limina" visit to Rome, in order to pre- side at weekend Masses March 20 in Elizabethtown and March 21 in German- town. In remarks prepared for de- livery to the two parishes, the bishop said that he had asked the three diocesan priests to leave their parishes "because of reports of sexual miscon- duct with minors, teenagers or young adults." The bishop continued, "inappropriate sexual activity has also been reported. The reported inci- dents are certainly violations of our Catholic moral code and the vow of celibacy." Belleville and St. Louis area media reports had also alleged that sexual miscon- duct had taken place at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. Father William P. Clark, O.M.I, di- rector of the shrine, told shrine personnel and apart- ment residents that no accu- sation or complaint had been brought to his attention, or to the attention of previous directors, over the past 18 years. "The reporting of these in- cidents raises many questions and concerns," Bishop Kele- her told parishioners in Ger- mantown and Elizabethtown. He said, "My heart goes out to anyone who has suffered such a terrible wrong," and he urged anyone who has been abused by a member of the clergy to come forward. He promised "confidentiality to victims and those who bring the reports of sexual abuse to our attention. To maintain this confidentiality means that times, dates, places and other details can- not be released." A seven-member review board has been established and a review administrator has been hired to deal with allegations of sexual miscon- duct by clergy or other dioce- san personnel. An "800" number will be installed in an office independent of the chancery, according to Sister Michelle Emmerich, S.S.N.D., diocesan vice-chancellor. In a telephone conversation with the Message March 23, Sister Emmerich said that the reasons for setting up a sepa- rate office were to assure any- one reporting an incident that they will be taken seriously, thai there will be an investi- gation, and "that we have great concern for the paoral care and counseling of any- one who may have been abused or hurt as a result of any inappropriate sexual mis- conduct." Bishop Keleher said that he shared the people's feelings of "anger, embarrassment, hurt, confusion and other feelings as well." He said in the parishes, "Some of you refuse to be- lieve that such things are pos- sible. And there are times I have been told things I also could hardly believe. Others say we have heard the rumors for years and the church should have acted sooner. Some of those rumors also ....... reached my office, and when : they did I looked into them. Mistakes have been made and I apologize for any mistakes, But I believe that we have learned and are learning with each allegation how to re- spond in a better and more appropriate way." Although the information "sheds a pall" over all priests, Bishop Keleher said "the vast majority of our priests are good men dedicated to you their people, working hard to ........ serve you and the church." He said the priests "are human and have to strue with life lust asyou do-but this has laid on them a bur. den of pain and sham.e the, i surely do not deserve.' : i ..... ....   ,