Re: Father Ritter.
I am a Gen X from New Jersey. not far from New York City. good boy, went to the Methodist Church in town.
i read a book about an amazing Priest Who was helping out runaways in New York City as a teenager.
It was called “sometimes God has a kid’s face”
I read it because I already heard about father Ritter – he was on TV, he was praised by Ronald Reagan.
(I wasn’t Ronald Reagan’s biggest fan – cut rate John Wayne – but he gave a good speech)
I was very impressed by Fr Ritter. I thought maybe even though I was only 15, maybe when I was older I would go to the Covenant House, help father ritter out with the homeless teenagers. It really seemed amazing what they were doing.
But a few years later, scandal. Really the first big major priest pedo story that happened that I know of that was big news.
I was crushed because I really looked up to the guy and what he did, and Covenant House was a funnel for predators, even though it also did good things.
Then the first handful of movies came out about the priests from around 1990 on.
Took a long time for them to admit anything
Boy scouts really didn’t want to give in either when their time came – and some of the worst abuse happened when they went hard conservative as an org from 1978-2005ish – they did everything they could to protect their image. That bothered me too. But not like Father Ritter.
He made it very hard for men to work in professions working with children for a long long time. A lot of good men stayed out of teaching and helping roles because of the stink eye thanks to Ritter. In every case that comes up since where somebody abused their Authority in this way, it’s a disappointment in humanity.
And a reminder that the more wonderful somebody seems to be, the more you have to wonder if it’s simply because they know what to say and if they happen to know the right people that put them in a position where you see them.
“He called the teenagers in the Covenant House “my kids”, “nice kids”, and “gorgeous kids”. Ritter wrote two books, Covenant House: Lifeline to the Street (New York: Doubleday, 1987) and Sometimes God Has a Kid’s Face, which detailed his experience in starting up Covenant House and provided his perspective on homeless teenagers.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan praised Covenant House in his State of the Union address for their efforts in aiding homeless and runaway youth.
In 1985, Ritter served on US Attorney General Edwin Meese’s Commission on Pornography.
In 1988, Ritter received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.
Allegations of sexual abuse and financial improprieties