IL--SNAP: “Bishops warn bishops about him but not the public”

IL--SNAP: “Bishops warn bishops about him but not the public”

Priest who was here last year is accused

Allegation comes from internal church memo

He’s the 7th Belleville priest “outed” this year for first time

Group will write their names on church headquarters sidewalk

Six of them are “credibly accused child molesters,” church admits

“Continuing secrecy violates Pope Francis’ latest promises,” group says

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will

--disclose an internal US Bishop Conference memo – under the heading “WARNING” – that names a never-before-accused priest who worked in the Belleville diocese last year,

--write his name in chalk, and the names of six other recently-outed local predator priests, on the sidewalk outside the diocesan headquarters, and

--provide their photos and work histories.

They will also

-- prod anyone who was hurt by the priests to speak up and get help, and

-- prod Catholic officials in Belleville and St. Louis to “honor the recent promises by Pope Francis to end church secrecy on abuse” by “coming clean” with more information about the priests and aggressively seek out their victims.

WHEN

Thursday, Oct. 1 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside the Belleville diocese HQ (“chancery office”), 222 South Third St. in Belleville, IL

WHO

Two-four individuals who belong to a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)

WHY

1.  SNAP has obtained an internal memo in which Catholic officials warn one another about a Belleville priest who engaged in what they call “inappropriate conduct” with parishioners and “similar inappropriate conduct in (his) previous assignments” outside the diocese.

As recently as last year, he was still working in southern Illinois  until he was dismissed by church officials.

http://www.franklincounty-news.com/2014/04/14/obituary-vera-romani-sesser/

He is Fr. Peter Balili and he worked at St. Mary Parish in Sesser and St. Andrew Parish in Christopher.  According to the Belleville diocese, he also worked in parishes in two California dioceses (San Bernardino and San Francisco) and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Joseph Medical Center in Orange, California for six years in the 1990s. Ordained in 1989, after studying at Notre Dame University, Fr. Balili is a native of the Phillipines and was once with a religious order called Opus Dei Fathers.

http://www.diobelle.org/documents/BISHOP-Welcomes4newPriests.pdf

He was also affiliated with a group called “Shrines of Europe Pilgrimage.”

The memo does not specify the kind of “inappropriate” behavior he engaged in but SNAP says that it’s seen similar memos and they “usually” refer to sexual misdeeds or crimes.

2.  A few months ago, records about several predator priests who worked in the Belleville/St. Louis area were released as part of a lawsuit settlement. Only one of the priests had been publicly exposed in this area as a credibly accused child molester.

One lived in Belleville as recently as 2012. Another was there until 2009.

One of them, Fr. James Fitzgerald, spent seven decades as a priest in this area. From the 1940s until 2009, he worked in six states (and in at least three towns in Illinois towns and two in Missouri).

Two of them also worked in St. Louis archdiocese: Fr. Robert J.  Reitmeier (at Holy Guardian Angels Parish) and Fr. Fitzgerald (at St. Michael’s Community).

The five other priests who worked in the Belleville diocese are: Fr. Paul Kabat (Belleville), Fr. Thomas Meyer (Belleville, Alton), Fr. Emil Twardochleb (Belleville, Henry), Fr. Michael Charland (Belleville, Sparta, Godfrey) and Fr. Orville Munie (Belleville, Toluca, Mendota, Bethany, Campus).

More details about each of the predators and their specific work histories (and sometimes photos) is available at AndersonAdvocates.com and/or BishopAccountability.org

SNAP and FOSIL believe it’s likely others who were hurt by these priests are “still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.” The groups want St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson and Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton to “use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements” to “aggressively seek out and offer help to these wounded victims.”

Fr. Reitmeier and Fr. Charland are alive. (The latter is a psychologist in the Twin Cities area.) The other five are deceased. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/07/07/oblate-names-released

CONTACT

David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Anne Harter (618-277-7594), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)  

 

This is from a memo sent to all US bishops in Aug. 2014

"WARNINGS: USCCB- RE: FR. PETER BALILI The Diocese of Belleville has advised the Conference of its concerns regarding Fr. Peter Balili a priest of the Diocese of Tagbilaran (Philippines) who had previously served as a fidei donum missionary in the Diocese of Belleville. The Diocese of Belleville informs the Conference that it has dismissed Fr. Balili from this position, and has requested his bishop to direct Fr. Balili to return to his home diocese, and that it took this action based on instances of what the Diocese of Belleville viewed as inappropriate conduct regarding certain of his parishioners. The Diocese of Belleville also indicates that it has learned of similar inappropriate conduct in Fr. Balili’s previous assignments. Those needing further information should contact Fr. Von C. Deeke, Liaison for International Priests of the Diocese of Belleville at (618) 277-8181."

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