Bishop answers media questions
Understands that people are concerned, hope for answers
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
Speaking with the media for the first time about the recent allegations against priests in the Green Bay and Boston Dioceses, Bp. Robert Banks voiced his solidarity with and concern for local Catholics and priests disturbed about the charges.
"I want you to understand that there are procedures in place here in the Green Bay Diocese -- and have been in place since before I arrived here -- that have been followed. And will continue to be followed," Bp. Banks said.
Surrounded by reporters at the annual Rural Life Days/St. Isidore celebration at St. Mary Parish in Chilton, the bishop assured people that he "really didn't have more information" on allegations against Fr. Stanley Browne or an unnamed priest who had served in De Pere in the late 1980s. Fr. Browne is on administrative leave from St. Mary of the Lakes, Lakewood.
Asked why he only issued statements rather than responding to requests for direct interviews since the local allegations broke just before Easter, the bishop said, "I was waiting to see what would come up the next day. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop."
Another shoe dropped over the case of Fr. Paul Shanley in Boston. Media reports say that, while there had been several years of allegations against Fr. Shanley, Bp. Banks gave the priest a "good standing" letter when he requested medical leave in San Bernadino, Calif.
A local reporter asked about Fr. Shanley and Bp. Banks replied, "Obviously, I was not aware of any allegations against Fr. Shanley before I sent the letter."
When another reporter asked if the current allegations might be "only the tip of the iceberg," Bp. Banks sought to reassure people: "I think a lot of the iceberg has been revealed." He reiterated his support of "our many, many good priests" during these difficult times.