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Pretty sad

posted by awelborn

Some of you may recall from last December, news of a young Wisconsin priest committing suicide. He had just been questioned by investigators looking into a double homicide.

Now, the investigators say they have strong circumstantial evidence that the priest was responsible for the crimes

A prosecutor says he will present "strong circumstantial evidence” next week that a Catholic priest killed a funeral home director and an intern more than three years ago.

St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson told The Associated Press the evidence, which he said will include a motive but no murder weapon, will be presented during a so-called John Doe hearing behind closed doors before Circuit Judge Eric Lundell.

Lundell will rule whether evidence gathered by police provides probable cause that the late Rev. Ryan Erickson killed the two victims at their funeral home and committed other crimes, Johnson said. He said the hearing is expected to last three days and involve 15 witnesses, both men and women and people of all ages.



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midwestmom

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:48 am


Incredibly sad.
I’ve had enough horror stories about priests this week to last me a lifetime.



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midwestmom

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:49 am


*heard*, not had.
(I hate when that happens.)



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Matt C. Abbott

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:56 am


Very sad indeed. Earlier this year, I was provided with a few of Erickson’s e-mails:
http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/abbott/050109



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cathy

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:14 am


Fr. Ryan was my priest when he was assigned to the OLS cluster in Ladysmith. I truly loved this man. His love for the Christ, the Church, Mary and the Eucharist was incredible. He “oozed” holiness and his holiness was infectious. I spent about 4 hours at his visitation and funeral mass – I rarely stopped crying.
Knowing this man, I simply have a hard time believing that he could have committed this crime. I’m not saying it wasn’t possible, but quite frankly, only Fr. Ryan and God know the truth.
I still have a feeling he heard the confession of the killer – yes, this is pure speculation.
Regardless of what you may think or feel about this case or Fr. Ryan, I’d like to ask for your prayers for him and for those murdered in this case.
Matt C Abbott, I’ve been following your writings about this case and found your position very fair. Thanks.



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cathy

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:23 am


The e-mail that Matt C Abbot links to mentioned that Fr. Ryan cried sometimes during Mass. That’s true. Sometimes he did. He is a passionate preacher and quite frankly, the first Mass that I attended with Fr. Ryan presiding, I cried also – during the consecration. I’ve never experienced such love and reverence for the Eucharist before.
He also cried during my only confession with him. I only wish to have had the opportunity to experience the sacrament of reconciliation with him one more time. It’s like he felt my pain and my sins and then the joy with me after the absolution. Truly an experience. He could really treat a sacrament like a sacrament and not just an action that a priest performs.
If you haven’t noticed – I miss him. I didn’t even know him that well personally, but as a Catholic – I miss him.
Please – I beg again, pray for him.



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Tom Modl

posted September 30, 2005 at 8:28 am


Forgive me, but how are the comments here different from those of the “he was such a warm person” variety we see when a beloved priest of a more liberal variety is alleged to have done monstrous things?
This case should call into question a lot of St Blog’s assumptions about how things are “better” now, since the seminarians are more pious and conservative.
That a seminary formation program would have allowed someone so obviously disturbed to be ordained tells me that the priestly formation program of today might look different from that of the flamboyant ’80s, but that it is still a program that presents severely damaged men as trusted leaders to the faithful.
Yes, pray for Father Erikson, but also pray for the murdered and abused victims he allegedly harmed, and pray that there aren’t other Father Eriksons lurking about.



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midwestmom

posted September 30, 2005 at 8:57 am


Cathy,
I will pray for Fr. Erickson. And others, too.
I have to admit, when I first read this story I had an overwhelming urge to present myself to Christ in the Eucharist for adoration and repentance.



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Dad29

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:15 pm


There’s plenty of sadness to go around, here.
But I think Tom M. nailed it: there’s just a little too much crying happening for my sensibilities.
Yeah–I cry, too, at some funerals, and even (very rarely) when moved by music, or (even MORE rarely) at a movie, such as Gibson’s Passion.
But from what’s presented above, I think Fr. cried entirely too much. That’s not good.



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Ronny

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:32 pm


That a seminary formation program would have allowed someone so obviously disturbed to be ordained tells me that the priestly formation program of today might look different from that of the flamboyant ’80s, but that it is still a program that presents severely damaged men as trusted leaders to the faithful.
Please explain exactly how this case warrants casting aspersions upon the formation programs of today’s “pious and conservative” seminaries. Do you have some hard evidence of a trend of outwardly pious priests who were products of conservative seminaries committing double homicides and killing themselves?
Keep in mind that one does not have to show signs of being “disturbed” or “severely damaged” before committing grave sins. Human nature and free will are such that people who are quite psychologically sound can and often do do very bad things. The best formation program cannot eliminate passion and free will. Moreover, even if a psychological problem really were a contributing factor to an evil act, it is possible that its onset could be close in temporal proximity to the crime committed (and thus by definition not observable to others before it manifested itself).



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Tom Modl

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:50 pm


“Do you have some hard evidence of a trend of outwardly pious priests who were products of conservative seminaries committing double homicides and killing themselves?”
Double-homicides, no. Sexual abuse of minors and posession of child pornagraphy (which Erikson is also accused of), yes. The anectdotal evidence I’ve seen of priests accused of committing these sort of acts within recent years indicates that they often come from conservative dioceses or are perceived to be conservative. (I’m thinking specifically of cases in Omaha, Arlington, and in Austria.) Erikson is just an extreme example of this.
My point is that, contrary to what some in the blogosphere believe, closing down the “Pink Palaces” of priestly formation so that only the seminaries percieved as orthodox remain is not going to make this problem go away.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted September 30, 2005 at 1:06 pm


I would distrust almost any priest that “oozes” holiness, cries during the eucharist, has a persecution complex that everyone is out to get him because he is so holy, committed to the truth, etc. etc. The e-mails really indicate, in retrospect, that he was a time-bomb waiting to go off. I would be surprised if he didn’t justify his deranged behavior by citing the example of St. John Vianney.



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Matthew

posted September 30, 2005 at 1:44 pm


In the good ole days, this guy would not have made it past the interview. He obviously had a lot of baggage and skeletons, and was looking at the priesthood as a career, an escape from his demons.



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kathleen reilly

posted September 30, 2005 at 1:58 pm


Did he send those emails to the entire parish?! The emails have exactly the tone of an 8th grade girl clique arguing amongst themselves, with a gloss of immature preachiness. The petulance, woundedness, the calling people nasty things (“a festering sore on the mystical body of Christ”?!). Forget murder, molestation, and suicide, I’m simply alarmed that a priest who writes stuff like this can be thought well of in his parish. If I, or any portion of my parish, got an email like this I would be mortified.



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Seamus

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:48 pm


“Forgive me, but how are the comments here different from those of the ‘he was such a warm person’ variety we see when a beloved priest of a more liberal variety is alleged to have done monstrous things?”
Well, for one, because it’s easier to imagine sins against the sixth commandment being committed by “warm persons” more than is sins against the fifth commandment.



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Seamus

posted September 30, 2005 at 3:16 pm


That should read “more than *it* is sins against the fifth commandment.”



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brian

posted October 1, 2005 at 9:49 pm


what emails?
where did he train?



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mjhbi rfeglxyv

posted July 14, 2007 at 8:18 pm


zobqnwyjx vtzyj idwslfvku wgvy okhn dvfojeay sebxiuma



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