Marguerite Ridgeway’s gravestone has an epitaph that reads: ‘She supported priest sexual abuse victims’
A man who wanted to install a gravestone at a suburban Chicago cemetery that proclaimed his late mother’s support for victims of ‘rapist’ priests has reached a resolution with a Roman Catholic diocese.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet refused to allow the proposed marker for Marguerite Ridgeway because it included what the diocese called ‘explicit language’.
The diocese owns the Assumption Cemetery in suburban Wheaton where Ridgeway is buried.
But The Chicago Tribune reports Ridgeway’s son, Jack Ruhl of Kalamazoo, Michigan, recently compromised with diocese officials on an alternate epitaph that reads: ‘She supported priest sexual abuse victims.’
Ruhl’s previous version had the word ‘rapist’ in place of ‘sexual abuse’. The Diocese said the word ‘rapist’ was ‘graphic, offensive and shocking to the senses’.
He said that he preferred the unaltered version but was nonetheless OK with the outcome.
‘I thoughtfully and specifically chose those words because my mother was never one to candy-coat the truth or mince words,’ he told the Tribune in reference to the use of the word ‘rapist’.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, Illinois initially rejected the epitaph because it used the word ‘rapist’ in place of ‘sexual abuse’. The church considered the word ‘graphic, offensive and shocking to the senses’
The marker was installed December 22 for the west suburban Lisle woman, who died in 2015.
The Tribune reports that Ridgeway had been a devout Catholic until reports of sexual abuse by Catholic priests emerged.
One victim was her own daughter-in-law, Diane Ruhl, who eventually received a monetary settlement from the Jesuit religious order with regard to the abuse.
The Diocese of Joliet reached a $4million settlement with 14 men due to sexual abuse by priests.
Diocese spokesman Edward Flavin says church officials are pleased with the resolution and have no further comment.
Attorneys for the Diocese had argued that the cemetery must be a place that is ‘peaceful, tranquil and free of stress and anxiety’.
Ruhl (left) told the Chicago Tribune: ‘I thoughtfully and specifically chose those words because my mother was never one to candy-coat the truth or mince words’