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August 16, 1991     The Message
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August 16, 1991

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12 August 16, 1991 asked to organize peace pilgrimages to Marian shrines for the Aug, 15 celebration of the feast of Mary's Assumption. !Work toward justic d The :head of the U,S. bish- ops' conference, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnatii told Knights of Columbus meeting in St. iouis A:ugi 6 to work toward astice in e world as part if their Call to :evangelize:: The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana II Father Ritter leaves Franciscans for India diocese NEW YORK (CNS) -- Fa- ther Bruce Ritter, the Covenant House founder who resigned following charges of sexual and financial irregu- larities, has left the Francis- can order to become a dioce- san priest in India. According to a statement from his order, Father Ritter "on his own initiative and with the blessing of his Fran- ciscan superiors in the Unit- ed States and in Rome" re- quested and received as of July 3 permission from the Vatican Congregation for In- stitutes of Consecrated" Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to transfer from his order to the Diocese of Alleppey in Kerala, India. The statement was signed by Father Giles Van Wormer, who in June succeeded Fa- ther Conall McHugh as head of Immaculate Conception Province. The provincial of- fices also were moved from Union City, N.J., to Staten Is- land. Father Van Wormer was not available for comment, but his vicar, Father Denis Hackett, said in a telephone interview Aug. 12 that the statement was dated July 17, and had been held for when- ever the story might break. The New York Daily News broke the news in a story Aug. 12 by reporter Charles M. Sennott. He was the re- porter, then at the New York Post, who first reported in December 1989 that the Man- hattan district attorney was investigating charges Father Ritter had used Covenant House funds to support a young man with whom he had a sexual relationship. Father Hackett said he did not know how Sennott learned of Father Ritter's leaving the order, but that the reporter then confirmed it in telephone conversations with Father Van Wormer and Fran- ciscan Father Canice Con- hers, and that all aspects of the article were correct. Sennott quoted the provin- cial as saying, "We did our best to urge Father Bruce not to take this step. We believe he should have returned to the community and under- gone full psychological coun- seling. We told him that no matter how bad it was, he was part of our family." Father Conners, who head- ed an internal investigation by the order into the allega- tions against Father Ritter, was quoted as saying: "Father Ritter continues to want to control his own des- tiny. I think he is avoiding dealing with the problem and the issues at hand. Sadly, Fa- ther Ritter has resisted our help. We pray for him." Upon the completion of the internal investigation, Father McHugh said Father Ritter had been directed to "return to daily living with his Fran" ciscan community," but said nothing about the order'S conclusion regarding his guilt or innocence. Father Hackett's confirma" tion of the Sennott story was apparently the first official indication that the order be- lieved Father Ritter had a "problem" for which he should undergo "full psycho" " I " logical counsehng. In an interview with Catholic News Service Feb, 21, almost a year after Father Ritter was directed to return to community life, Father McHugh said the priest was .... still living alone. Father McHugh said he did not know how he was occu" pying his time or how he was supporting himself. /:'::: .. Precious Blood ,;::i,! ii "'"" "711 Annual Picmc! ..! {' ,,x9  . .:,. Hwy. 56 West D eken, Re-  ":-';'" "" ...:.-. i":' *'r, ed Ch, ,,e Care ter. ressirg. Ch" ust Beef " {, "::" ": .;'." "! \\; ' "'ekerl and Dumplings EveJthng Served 0 Cou n tj Style frown 10:45-4.30 %# Country Store Games Quilts Over 80 Homemade Quilts Applique Embroidery Patchwork and Baby Quilts Hamburgers Soft Drinks - All Activities Start by 11:00 a.m. EST Hoosier Hospitality at it's Finest!!!