Diocese Defends Rejection of Ad

By Lisa Kernek
State Journal-Register [Springfield IL]
Downloaded May 6, 2003

The conservative group Roman Catholic Faithful has accused Springfield's Catholic Diocese of hypocrisy for banning advertisements from a Catholic-oriented tour company while allowing one of its priests to serve on the company's board.

But the diocese maintains that it cannot dictate how priests spend their private time.

The Catholic Times diocesan newspaper will not take advertisements from Golden Frontier Tours of Swansea because of the company's ties to the Rev. Robert Vonnahmen. Vonnahmen resigned from the Belleville diocese in 1993 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Monsignor Virgil Mank of the Springfield diocese is chairman of Golden Frontier's board of directors. Mank, dean of the Alton deanery in Godfrey, served as administrator of the Springfield diocese after the retirement of Bishop Daniel Ryan and before the arrival of Bishop George Lucas.

"How can the diocese be so offended that they won't run their ads," said Roman Catholic Faithful president Stephen Brady, "but behind the scenes, Mank ran the company?

"The hypocrisy is so glaring."


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