A St. Louis priest, Fr. Walter Craig, was ordained 90 years ago. He died more than 40 years ago. Now, he’s been credibly accused of child sex crimes.
Fr. Craig wasn’t recruited, ordained, supervised, trained, transferred or shielded by Archbishop Robert Carlson. In fact, Carlson probably never met him (since Carlson was ordained a priest in 1970 in another state).
Since so much time has passed, anyone else who may have been hurt by Fr. Craig surely has no chance to file a lawsuit.
So it should be easy for Carlson to do the right thing here: reach out to others who may be struggling because they were assaulted in childhood by Fr. Craig.
Wouldn’t this be a wonderful way for St. Louis’ top Catholic official to launch the New Year – by turning over a new leaf, acting like a true shepherd, and doing what he can to potentially help even one person who may still be in pain because of a St. Louis priest’s hurtful and heinous crimes?
A decade ago, then-Archbishop Justin Rigali personally visited a Crestwood parish where a credibly accused child molesting cleric (Fr. Robert Johnston) worked. As best we can recall, that was one of only a handful of times a local archbishop has done this.
We aren’t sure if Carlson ever has.
But he needn’t go in person to each church where Fr. Craig worked, begging any victims to get help. Even a short news release or bulletin item or website notice would be a step forward. Any step beats no step. Any outreach trumps silence.
Please, Archbishop Carlson, honor and obey your boss, Pope Benedict, who promised that church officials would “do everything possible” to help abuse victims. Please reach out, now, to anyone who may be struggling because of childhood betrayal at the hands of Fr. Walter Craig.
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