May 12, 2006

Letter calls for removal of priest

Belleville News-Demcorat


Admitted child molester the Rev. Real "Ray" Bourque should be removed from the diocese or housed under strict supervision, according to a letter delivered Thursday for Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton.

"Once again we find ourselves forced to beg a bishop to protect the innocent and vulnerable from a sexual predator," stated the letter from the St. Louis-based citizen's group, Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests. Four group members delivered the letter at the chancery. Braxton was not there.

Bourque, 78, is a retired and defrocked priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a world-wide priestly order that operates theAbuse Tracker Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. Both Braxton and former Belleville bishop Wilton Gregory, now archbishop of Atlanta, have stated they were unaware of Bourque's background until reading about it in the News-Democrat. Gregory has said had he known, he would not have allowed Bourque's transfer, which occurred in 2002 when Gregory was president of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

"It's hard to imagine that a religious order would secretly transfer a known predator into (the) diocese at the height of the clergy sex scandal, without the knowledge of church officials," the letter said.

Posted by kshaw at May 12, 2006 11:43 AM