Renken: Monsignor John Renken

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St Paul U. Faculty of Canon Law website May 2018

John Renken

John Anthony Renken


American priest.  canon lawyer.   Some time after his homosexual relationship with Monsignor Kenneth Steffen became public knowledge he was removed from the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.   In 2007 he was hired to teach canon law at Ottawa’s Saint Paul University.

1979:  Ordained for Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

– former President of the Canon Law Society of America

– former Vicar General to and helped protect sexual predator Bishop Daniel Ryan, Springfield Illinois

– former consultant to the U.S. Bishops Ad Hoc Committe on child abuse

28 August 2007: from  Sylvia’s Site BLOG Fireworks at the Weave Shed

And, in keeping with canon lawyers who look after their own and defend the indefensible, St. Paul University has, I am told hired Monsignor John Renken to teach canon law. This is the Monsignor Renken who was eventually forced to leave the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois after scandalized Roman Catholics demanded his ouster upon learning of his homosexual relationship with Father Kenneth Steffen. Renken is a past president of the Canon Law Society of America and served as a consultant to the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee on child abuse.

2018:  Dean, Faculty of Canon Law, Saint Paul University, Ottawa

2010-2011:    teaching at Ottawa’s Saint Paul University  see:  Course description for Saint Paul University Faculty of  Canon Law

29 June 2010:  BLOG  It’s hard not to ponder

Email exchange with Ottawa’s Vicar General Msgr. Kevin Beach re Fathers Ed MacNeil omi and John Huels and Msgr. John Renken


Media references and reports from Stepehen Brady, President Roman Catholic Faithful

05 December 2008

Petersburg, IL 62675
Phone 217-632-5920
Fax 217-632-7054

Press Release

Contact: Stephen G. Brady
Phone: (217) 632-5920


8 AM EDT, December 5, 2008

Bishop George Lucas of the Springfield, IL diocese seems to have dumped some of his garbage at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh, NC. Msgr. John Renken, who is now at the cathedral and is acting as a judge in some annulment cases, was removed from the Springfield diocese several years ago after an investigation conducted by former Federal Prosecutor Bill Roberts concluded there were some problems in his background. The president and chief investigator for Catholic watchdog group Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF), Stephen Brady, stated today, “I know from firsthand testimony that Renken is a predatory homosexual and a thief. He was removed from this diocese because of misconduct, yet he has found his way to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh to conduct more business. God help those poor people.”

On August 2, 2006 Bishop Lucas held a press conference releasing the results of his 18-month investigation of clergy misconduct within the Diocese. The report revealed that Lucas’ predecessor, Bishop Daniel Ryan, “engaged in improper sexual conduct and used his office to conceal his activities. The investigation found a culture of secrecy fostered under Bishop Ryan’s leadership which discouraged faithful priests from coming forward with information about misconduct. The actions of Bishop Ryan no doubt were harmful and seriously eroded the trust of parishioners and the community at large…” Lucas began his investigation when he learned that one Thomas Munoz had contacted RCF with allegations of clergy misconduct. A complete copy of report is available at or by contacting RCF.

Within the text of the summary of the investigation was contained the following:

The Designation of Monsignors – There exists the perception that Bishop Lucas rewarded those who protected Bishop Ryan by granting them the title “Monsignor” in 2003. In conjunction with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the diocese, the committee overseeing the festivities recommended that 15 priests be honored with the title by the Holy See at the request of Bishop Lucas. Msgr. Renken, then Vicar General, chaired the committee making the Monsignor recommendations. Bishop Lucas acted upon the recommendation of his Vicar General and on what he believed to be the recommendation of the committee. Though no evidence suggests Bishop Lucas was aware of any wrongdoing of the honorees at the time he requested these priests be given the title of Monsignor.

Brady replied, “In 2001, two years before Fr. Renken was made Monsignor, I sat in Bishop Lucas’ office in a face-to-face meeting and brought up the issue of Fr. Renken’s homosexual relationship with Fr. Kenneth Steffan. Bishop Lucas changed the subject. He was not interested in what I had to say. Lucas went on to place Renken and Steffan in charge of the Deaconate program.” Regarding Msgr. Renken, Mr. Scott J. Kastel has come forward with first-hand testimony regarding Msgr. Renken’s predatory homosexual nature. Brady continued, “Mr. Kastel has allowed me to use his name publicly because he is scandalized by the fact that Bishop Lucas, while claiming to want information regarding clergy
misconduct, refuses to act once he receives it. Kastel provided both former Bishop Ryan (himself a predator) and Bishop Lucas with statements and only came to RCF after Lucas, like Bishop Daniel Ryan, refused to take action. Mr. Kastel is the fifth individual I am aware of who has come forward with information on Renken’s homosexual activity.”

Msgr. John Renken was past president of the Canon Law Society and in 2002 was appointed advisor to the Bishops’ committee on child abuse in Washington, D.C.)

Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc. is a not-for-profit lay
organization, with many religious members, dedicated to promoting
orthodox Catholic teaching and fighting heterodoxy and corruption
within the Catholic hierarchy.


Priest is pulled out of ministry

03 August 2006

DECATUR – A priest who formerly served Holy Family Parish in Decatur will be barred from the ministry, according to a report on clergy misconduct released Wednesday by the Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

Monsignor Eugene Costa was severely beaten in a Springfield park in December 2004 by two young men after he allegedly propositioned them for sex, according to the report.

Costa was removed from public ministry by Bishop George Lucas and has undergone a psychological evaluation and follow-up treatment. Lucas is taking the necessary steps within canon law to bar Costa permanently from ministry, the report stated.

Two Springfield teenagers were sentenced in July 2005 to 30 months in prison for beating Costa, who served as pastor of Holy Family Parish from 1987 to 1993.

Civil authorities declined to prosecute Costa after they reviewed evidence.

Lucas called for an investigation of alleged clergy misconduct “amid a climate of increasing doubt and mistrust” in February 2005, the report stated.

The probe was spearheaded by Springfield attorney Bill Roberts, a Methodist.

The investigation found “some misuse of power and some serious misconduct” by a “very small number of priests,” Lucas said.

Lucas remains confident in the virtuous service of the vast majority of the more than 120 priests in the diocese. He acknowledged the “painful truth” of revelations and hopes the investigation will restore the confidence of parishioners.

“I’m deeply sorry for the misdeeds of any priest whom I have placed in or allowed to remain in a position of trust in this diocese,” Lucas said.

The report stated that former Bishop Daniel Ryan engaged in sexual misconduct with adults and used his authority to conceal his actions.

“Although denied by Bishop Ryan, this behavior did occur and caused scandal in the church by leading others to do evil,” the report stated. “It resulted in feelings of hurt and anger, as well as thoughts of doubt and mistrust, both in the church as an institution and in its leaders.”

The report documents anecdotal evidence of Roman Catholics abandoning the faith because of Ryan’s actions.

“The investigation found a culture of secrecy fostered under Bishop Ryan’s leadership which discouraged faithful priests from coming forward with information about misconduct,” the report added.

Ryan no longer participates in public ministry and does not live in the diocese, the report stated.

“We saw a culture that had grown very permissive, very lax, a culture lacking discipline, a culture in which at some point the people became distrusting and wary of bringing things to the head of their church in this diocese because they believe that it wouldn’t be handled appropriately,” Roberts said.

Some believe Lucas rewarded priests who protected Ryan by honoring them with the designation “monsignor,” the report noted. The probe found no evidence Lucas was aware of alleged misconduct by honorees but found Lucas could have researched some priests’ characters more carefully.

The panel found false and without merit the allegations by area resident Thomas Munoz, who claimed to have engaged in sex acts with Lucas, five priests and three seminarians. Munoz failed a polygraph test and has a history of criminal and deceptive behavior, the report stated.

Monsignors John Renken and Kenneth Steffen are on leave because of allegations of “personal and ministerial misconduct,” the report stated. Investigations continue, but both deny knowledge of events that would instigate a probe.

The report lists other alleged misconduct, including “improper financial activities” and using computers and the Internet “in a manner inconsistent with the mission of the church.”

Recommended action includes improved financial controls, computer policies and screening of seminarians. The report recommends retaining a confidential telephone number and e-mail address to report alleged misconduct.

Roberts praised Lucas’ call for an investigation, calling him a person of integrity, compassion, courage and vision.

Roberts urged the public to balance the misdeeds of a few priests with the good deeds of many.

“The report indicates that the vast majority of the priests who serve this diocese are honorable, good, God-fearing priests who are going about doing their duty day in and day out,” Roberts said.

Mike Frazier can be reached at or 421-7985.


Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Roman Catholic Faithful

Spring 2003

Msgr. John Renken, former Canon Law Society president, canon lawyer and consultant to the Catholic Bishops’ ad hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, is notorious here within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

In a June 10, 2002 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) press release entitled: “Media Briefings by Sexual Abuse Experts Part of Dallas Meeting,” the name of Father Renken is listed as a “consultant.”

Renken served as Vicar General to former Bishop, and predatory homosexual, Daniel Ryan. Renken currently servers as Vicar General to Bishop George Lucas. He also holds other key positions within the hierarchy. (Bishop Ryan was removed from ministry in 2003 after yet another young man came forward claiming to have been sexually abused by Ryan while a minor). Renken was instrumental in protecting Ryan for the six years that our organization tried to bring about his removal from office. RCF received first-hand testimony from two priests who complained to Fr. Renken about Ryan’s predatory homosexual advances toward them. Renken did nothing to help the clergy. Despite this, Renken, like alleged child abuser Gregory Ingels, helped form policies on dealing with abusive clergy.

2 Responses to Renken: Monsignor John Renken

  1. Katt says:

    how is it you say it will not be published and it is?

  2. John K Walker says:

    Is there any information available as to the knowledge of and responses to Renken’s and Ryan’s criminal behavior by other clergy working closely with them during this time, specifically among the staff of Cathedral parish in Springfield (which I attended during this time before moving out-of-state in 1997)?

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