News of Bishop James Wingle’s whereabouts broke right here on Sylvia’s Site. That was followed by the text of the abdicating bishop’s email to Monsignor Fitzpatrick. Now it’s official.
03 August 2010: Bishop Wingle breaks his silence
03 August 2010: Letter from Bishop Wingle read at Masses
03 August 2010: Bishop Wingle breaks silence on disappearance
A few comments:
(1) In his 31 July 2010 email Bishop Wingle wrote:
as I had announced in the letter that I sent to the Diocese last April, at the time of my resignation, I have now completed the first part of my sabbatical which I spent in the Holy Land in a time of prayer and rest.
The inplication is that, in his 07 April 2010 letter of resignation, the Bishop revealed that he would spend the first part of his sabattical in the Holy Land in a “time of prayer and rest.”
Not so. What Wingle wrote in his April resingation letter Wingle was: “As I take a sabbatical centered on prayer and personal renewal…”
Note that Wingle made not one reference to the Holy Land. Nor, for that matter, did he advise that his “sabbatical” would be broken into two parts. Nor, for that matter, did he mention that after his abdication he would spend time “doing some writing and research on a catechetical-pastoral project.”
The truth is that Wingle did NOT give his flock a single clue as to his sudden departure, where he was going and what he would be doing. He just said he was leaving. packed his bags, and, he was gone! No one presumably knew why. No one knew presumably knew where.
Presumably, in fact, not even diocesan officials or his fellow bishops knew of Wingle’s whereabouts …..until now.
Given that Anonymous spotted Wingle in Jerusalem in May and given that Wingle was presumably very open about his identity I find it passing strange that no one in Canada knew of his whereabouts. I also find it passing strange that if the bishop was so up front about who he is with the Catholics in Jerusalem he did not at least see fit to let his shell-shocked flock and clergy back in St. Catharines know his whereabouts.
(2) Did the Bishop purchase a one-way or return ticket?
(3) I mentioned this before and raise it again: Who is financing Bishop Wingle’s journey? I don’t know how much four months of room and board in the Holy Land would cost, but I’m sure it’s not cheap. Add to that the costs for room and board at wherever he’s heading to do his research. Add to that travel costs.
This is a little sorti which is running into the thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Is the bishop financing this get-away out of his own pocket? or are diocesan funds picking up all or part of the tab? or is there a benevolent benefactor somewhere?
(4) In his email Bishop Wingle writes to Monsignor Kirkpatrick:
“I would be grateful if you would extend my sincere thanks and assurances of my well-being to the clergy and faithful of the Diocese. I am deeply appreciative of their expressions of concern… “
What expression of concern? How does Wingle know that people are expressing concern? From media reports online?
(5) Monsignor Kirkpatrick wrote to all parishes:
“Given all the speculation in media, I think it is important that you read the following letter at all Masses this Sunday and that you also post a copy of it on your bulletin board.”
What does publishing a personal email from Bishop Wingle to himself achieve? True, it confirms that Wingle is in the Holy Land. But, we heard of that from sources in Jerusalem nearly three long months ago.
Why wait three months to confirm?
Why confirmation in such a bizarre manner?
Why did Kirkpatrick decide to broadcast what was seemingly a personal email? Why did he not just advise that he had received an email from Bishop Wingle and that the bishop is alive and well in the Holy Land?
(6) The Toronto Star wrote two articles on Bishop’s Wingle’s mysterious disappearance. All was quiet.
St. Catharine’s Standard dispatched a reporter to Eganville. The day the article – 31 July 2010: Where on earth is Bishop Wingle? – appeared in the Standard the silence was broken.
I don’t see anything particularly untoward in the article.
There is one thing which strikes me as strange. His nephew was unfortunately and tragically killed in a car accident last February (may God have mercy on his soul). The Bishop did not return for the funeral.
That aside, there is reference to an un-named priest who served in Eganville currently facing sex-abuse-related charges. The priest of course is Monsignor Robert Borne.
That’s it. It seems that the people in the small community of Eganville hold Wingle and his family in high regard. And it seems no one had a clue where the bishop might be.
What’s the problem?
The silence was broken on the the same day the article ran in the Standard.
First a hurried email from the bishop to Kirkpatrick, his “replacement.” Presumably this is the first contact between the pair, and yet the Bishop doesn’t so much as ask Kirkpatrick if there is anything he, Kirkpatrick, can’t find, or anything he needs some backgrounder on.
And then an apparently equally hurried decision by Kirkpatrick to publicize the hurried email far and wide throughout the diocese. There is no indication that Kirkpatrick either sought or received Wingle’s approval to publicize this personal correspondence.
“Given the speculation in the media. I think it is important you read the following letter at all Masses…”
Why? Why is it so important to read the email word for word? And why call it a letter when it was clearly an email?
It’s all just strange. Very very very strange.
Enough for now,