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Many of the letters Ryan sent and re-sent were ignored, quickly passed on to other agencies or responded to in generic fashion, referring to Ryan's urgent warnings as "your inquiry" or "this matter." A few dioceses adopted variations of his ideas, but he wondered why at some point the USCCB did not mandate that all dioceses use the available tools to protect the contributions of the Catholic faithful. In reviewing canon law, he found clear declarations that an episcopal conference can draw up rules regarding collections that must be observed by every diocese. Still, he was unable to get any leading bishop to discuss the subject with him.So in 2001, Ryan turned to the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and its then-head, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. It was in the form of an exhaustive petition, citing Scripture, canon law, a history of his efforts and a presentation of 17 major church embezzlements, 12 of which had been carried out by clergy. This too produced no action other than a suggestion that Ryan pass his ideas on to the Congregation for the Clergy. There, he was informed that the security of collections falls under the sole competency of local bishops. For all his trouble, Ryan had gotten nowhere. Still he forges on, making him perhaps an all-time candidate for determined persistence.
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