Smoke, But Is There Fire?

Roman Catholic officials in New York City are standing behind priest Bruce Ritter, founder of Covenant House, the nation’s largest shelter program for runaway youths, in the midst of charges of sexual improprieties involving Ritter from three former Covenant House residents.

According to a report in the New York Times, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is investigating charges of financial wrongdoing, while a panel of the Franciscan order, to which Ritter belongs, is looking into the charges of sexual misconduct.

Ritter has stepped down from his post at Covenant House, though Catholic officials emphasized this is no indication of guilt. Ritter has dismissed the charges against him as “garbage,” expressing concern that the public’s faith in him, regardless of the outcome of the investigations, has been irreparably harmed. Giving to the ministry has slowed since the charges surfaced.

Suspicions Confirmed

A survey of more than 100,000 Episcopalians conducted by Episcopalians United for Revelation, Renewal, and Reformation proves, according to the organization, what it has been asserting for a long time—namely, that church leadership is out of step with the majority of Episcopalians.

The survey solicited viewpoints on the six most hotly debated issues in the church, including homosexuality and inclusive language. While the church has tolerated the ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals, almost 90 percent of those surveyed opposed both homosexual ordination and the blessing of homosexual unions.

On theological issues, 91 percent said they oppose changing the statement “Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life” to “Jesus Christ, a Way, a Truth, a Life.” Over ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.