The notorious paedophile priest Vincent Gerard Ryan will no longer be permitted to celebrate the sacraments or dress as a priest, after a decision to remove his priestly faculties.
- The 82-year-old can no longer dress in clerical garb or identify himself as a priest
- Victim advocates say it does not go far enough, arguing instead that Ryan should be defrocked
- In the ABC’s Revelation program, Ryan was seen performing mass in his home
The 82-year-old walked free on parole last month; he had served less than half of a three-year sentence relating to two altar boys.
Ryan had previously spent 14 years in prison for abusing more than 30 boys.
The Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, Bill Wright, had been pressed to reveal what steps he had taken to ask Pope Francis to remove Ryan from the priesthood.
At the time he was paroled, Ryan was still listed as a priest on the diocese website.
The ABC can reveal that his status has now changed and his faculties have been permanently removed.
The Catholic Church said faculties were a cleric’s authorisation to celebrate the sacraments and act on behalf of the Church.
“A cleric who had no faculties could not carry out any liturgical, sacramental or administrative action on behalf of the Church,” it said.
Ryan can no longer dress in clerical garb or identify himself as a priest.
In the ABC’s Revelation program, Ryan was seen performing mass in his home.
Survivors were livid, and after the program aired they told the ABC it caused anger and distress.
Action does not go far enough: survivor
Bob O’Toole from the Clergy Abuse Network said removing Ryan’s faculties did not go far enough, arguing instead that he should be defrocked.
“When you consider the number of victims, there a lot and he should be laicised.”
Bishop Wright said the authority to remove a priest from the clerical state was reserved to the Pope on advice from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
He said he had petitioned the CDF following Ryan’s conviction in 2016 and again following his 2019 convictions.
“On both occasions the CDF were provided with the presiding justices’ judgments and sentencing remarks and other relevant information,” the Bishop said.
As part of these submissions, Bishop Wright said he had offered his opinion to the Pope as to what should occur with Ryan’s priesthood.