Daniel L. Ryan

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Daniel Leo Ryan (born September 28, 1930) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Springfield in Illinois from 1984 to 1999.


Daniel Ryan was born in Mankato, Minnesota, to Leonard and Irene (née Larson) Ryan.[1] After one year at Cathedral Boys High School in Springfield, Illinois, he entered Passionist Preparatory Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.[1] He then attended St. Procopius Seminary in Lisle, Illinois, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical languages in 1952.[1] Ryan was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1956.[2] He completed his postgraduate studies at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, from where he earned a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1960.[1]

Upon his return to the United States, he did pastoral work in the Diocese of Joliet, where he served as a curate at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Joliet, St. Joseph in Rockdale, and St. Mary Nativity in Joliet.[1] He later served as pastor of St. Thaddeus in Joliet, and of St. Michael Parish in Wheaton.[1] He also served as chancellor and vicar general of the diocese.[1]

On August 14, 1981, Ryan was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet and Titular Bishop of Surista by Pope John Paul II.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 30 from Bishop Joseph Leopold Imesch, with Bishops Raymond J. Vonesh and Daniel Kucera, O.S.B., serving as co-consecrators.[2] Following the death of Bishop Joseph Alphonse McNicholas in April 1983, Ryan was named the seventh Bishop of Springfield on November 22, 1983.[2] He was installed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on January 18, 1984.[2] His early years as bishop were marred by his admitted alcohol abuse for which he received treatment in the summer of 1986.[3]

During the last two years of his administration, Ryan was plagued by sexual abuse allegations.[3] In 1997 and 1998, a group called Roman Catholic Faithful had picketed a national bishops conference in Washington, D.C. and carried signs alleging Ryan was protecting abusive priests.[4] He himself was accused of engaging in homosexual affairs with young men, prostitutes, and other priests.[5][6]

After fifteen years as Bishop of Springfield, Ryan resigned on October 19, 1999.[2] In 2002 there were new allegations that Ryan had solicited sex from a teenaged boy in 1984, but the Sangamon County state's attorney could not prosecute because the statute of limitations had expired.[3] Having continued to administer Confirmation and celebrate Mass, he voluntarily agreed to suspend his public ministry.[4] In 2006 an investigative report declared that Ryan "engaged in improper sexual conduct and used his office to conceal his activities" and fostered "a culture of secrecy...that discouraged faithful priests from coming forward with information about misconduct" by other clergy in the diocese.[7] He currently resides at the diocese's retirement center for priests.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "History of the Diocese of Springfield". Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Daniel Leo Ryan". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. 
  3. ^ a b c Bakke, Dave (2005-03-13). "Sins of the Fathers". The State Journal-Register. 
  4. ^ a b c Rice, Patricia (2002-09-04). "Illinois Bishop Is Accused of Sexually Abusing a Minor". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  5. ^ Slowik, Ted (2002-08-11). "Cloak of Secrecy". The Joliet Herald News. 
  6. ^ "Catholic Bishops and Sex Abuse". The Dallas Morning News. 2002-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Retired Illinois bishop led 'culture of secrecy,' says report". Catholic News Service. 2006-08-07. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph Alphonse McNicholas
Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.svg
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois

Succeeded by
George Joseph Lucas