For immediate release: Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Msgr. Brad Offutt is no longer the vicar general of the Kansas City Catholic diocese, the only diocese in the world headed by a bishop who was convicted of endangering kids by hiding evidence. We are glad Offutt is no longer in the diocesan headquarters but don’t believe it will improve the reckless, secretive and deceitful way Bishop Robert Finn and his top aides continue to deal with clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
After hundreds of child porn pictures were found on his computer, Fr. Shawn Ratigan was ordered to stay away from kids and computers. According to the diocese’s own internal report, Offutt knew Fr. Ratigan was disobeying this order. (The same report noted that “there was no supervision given to Ratigan to ensure those instructions were followed.”)
Instead of calling police or pushing hard for decisive action, Offutt wrote Finn "Something needs to be done to limit Diocesan liability and protect children."
But Fr. Ratigan, the report says, heard confessions from minors April 11 and "grew bolder" by attending a high school track meet May 7 and accessing the guest computers at the Vincentian home.
And Offutt apparently did nothing.
Even now, years later, Offutt hasn’t spoken publicly for his irresponsible silence and refusal to call police about known or suspected child sex crimes.
For years, Offutt has been a loyal underling to Bishop Finn, who refuses to post on the diocesan website the identities of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics (like 30 other dioceses do) and take any meaningful step to really protect children.
Again, we are glad Offutt is no longer in the chancery. He shouldn’t be leaving voluntarily, though. He should have been booted out.
A Letter from Our Rector, Msgr. Bradley S. Offutt
It is so hard to write this today. This morning I received some truly crippling news having to do with my
vicar general duties. I am in the throes of trying to figure out how to digest it, what to do about it. I realize
I should not even mention it here because I cannot tell you fine folks what it is, but God I so often wonder
when I will be able to lay aside this stinking job and reclaim some semblance of sanity in my life. I have
dealt with the mixed-up, maxed-out, messed over, and done under so long that I am fast becoming all these
things myself. Please, in your prayers, try to offer one for me and my work for this sorely afflicted diocese.
Some days I feel like a worn out boxer in a ring, so tired of taking hits and not able to really see
where the next one is coming from; all the while hoping he can make it to the end of the round and the
sweet sound of the bell. What have I ever done in my life to deserve this? I have never wanted it. I do not
want it now. What foolishness I must commit to have landed in this situation. And the trouble is that I am
like a man beset with a bad flu. I know I am in trouble but I do not know where it came from or when it
will end. In the painful moment I am tempted to fear it will never end.
Well, for the sake of the truth, I should mention good news too: The Parish Pastoral Council met the new
rector for the first time this last week. I believe all of them were positively impressed, as they should have
been, for Father Powers is a remarkably gentle and authentic priest. I am very confident that you will soon
learn to love him for he has a beautiful quiet quality that draws people to him and brings out the best in
everyone. My brief acquaintance with him has obviously inclined me to admire him very much.
Also, in the way of good news, the diocese has thus provided me with a two week old report about our parish
participation in the Forward In Faith campaign. So far, I have absolutely no statistics from other parishes
with which to contrast ours, but the Stewardship Office people have strongly indicated to me that we
have done very well. Of course, that means you have done very well. We have passed the mark in the
campaign where we will begin to receive 25% of our contributions back to the parish. Furthermore, we
owe zero cathedraticum, that is diocesan tax, on the money thus raised. If you folks of Cathedral Parish
continue to make sacrificial pledges to Forward In Faith it will do so much to help Catholic education in
the diocese and even assist us to maintain this old and crumbling place. We are down on our personnel
costs this last fiscal year and we are way up on our facilities costs because of necessary repairs to Donnelly
Hall, the old part of the organ, and other mechanical issues at all three buildings. Anyway, if you have yet
to make a pledge to Forward In Faith, please prayerfully consider it and get it in the mail. Remember,
there will be no Bishop’s Annual Appeal for two years running for us. Forward In Faith pledges will, I
hope, reflect the moratorium on the BAA and be accordingly generous. It is important for Forward In
Faith is a bonafide opportunity to invest in a better, Gospel future for our children and even our parish.
Well, I have gone on long enough. I have been called to the bedside of a dying man I knew in my first
parish. He is hardly an old person, just a very suffering, terminally ill person. Perhaps he will teach me to
be more grateful for my life, intractable problems and all, than the first paragraph of this letter betrays me
to be. Gratitude is one of the very fundamental elements of wisdom and holiness. It is essential for the
spiritually serious person. I pray mine, and yours, is watered by God’s grace this week.
In our Holy Communion,
Msgr. Bradley S. Offutt
In the following weekend’s bulletin, he recanted and apologized. It sounds like he might have butted heads with Finn and is paying the price for it.