Moncton diocese sells building, cuts staff to pay bills

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The Diocese of Moncton is shedding staff and selling off one church property in order to cover the roughly $5 million in compensation owed to victims of sexual abuse.

The diocese has been forced to deal with a series of sexual abuse controversies in the last year.

Retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michel Bastarache was hired to help deal with the sex abuse compensation process. It is estimated the diocese will pay out $5 million to victims of sexual abuse.

Those bills have caused the diocese to cut the number of staff to 14 from 19. As well, the diocese’s office in Dieppe, which was once the home of the bishop, is being sold because it can no longer afford to pay the annual $50,000 in operating costs.

The Diocese of Moncton is being forced to sell a Dieppe building to help pay for sexual abuse compensation bills.

The Diocese of Moncton is being forced to sell a Dieppe building to help pay for sexual abuse compensation bills. (CBC)

Archbishop Valéry Vienneau said the diocese’s growing deficit and dropping church attendance factored into the decision to cut staff and sell off the property.

“I am concerned but I am also convinced that we will get through this,” he said.

“I have hope that we’ll get through this. This is a difficult time, but I mean when we sell a property like this, this is a fair amount of money coming in.”

The leader of the Catholic church in southeastern New Brunswick said the growing compensation bills forced the diocese to put the properties up for sale earlier than it had anticipated.

“What would have happened is we would have done it, but not as fast and not as profound. But we would have had to do it,” he said.

Once the building is sold, the remaining staff will be split between St. Augustine’s Parish and the Christ of King Parish in Moncton.

There could be more tough decisions ahead for the church in the region.

So far 80 people have been offered compensation for sexual abuse. The diocese also faces civil lawsuits and could be forced to pay out more.

The archbishop said he has to wait until the summer to figure out if the diocese will have to make further adjustments.

Vienneau said he believes the Dieppe office will be the only church property sold in the near future.

“We are not in any way thinking of selling churches or church properties at all. Should we come to that, I don’t see why, but of course I can’t predict the future,” he said.

Mixed reaction to decision

The church’s decision to sell off properties has received mixed reaction in Moncton.

Linda Campbell said the Moncton diocese shouldn’t be solely responsible for picking up the financial tab for the sex abuse compensation.

“Those funds should be coming from the Vatican City. It should be coming from the higher ups. They knew what was going on, it’s their responsibility,” Campbell said.

She said the decision to sell off the Dieppe property and the prospect of losing more buildings in the future may divide churchgoers.

“You’re going to have less members sitting in the church because they’ve worked really hard to have what they have. And they’re all going to lose it. And it’s not their fault,” she said.

But Bill Vance said the church must deal with its problems and change to meet its needs.

“With all the scandals with an old outdated financial model for the business of religion, there has to be changes. The church has to alter to figure out how to get more people through the door,” he said.

Bastarache’s investigation into sexual abuse has been extended several times as more people have come forward with new allegations.

The compensation process began last spring when several people in the southeastern village of Cap-Pelé came forward alleging abuse against Father Camille Léger, who has been dead for 23 years.

Those abuse claims forced the church to address other allegations of sexual abuse by hiring Bastarache to lead the independent investigation.

The reconciliation and compensation process was expanded after accusations were made against two other priests, Father Yvon Arsenault and Father Irois Despres.

Bastarache informed the diocese of “serious allegations of sexual abuse” by the two priests.

11 Responses to Moncton diocese sells building, cuts staff to pay bills

  1. Sylvia says:

    At this point it looks like a total of 80 victims have been compensated via the Bastarache deal in the Moncton archdiocese. The number of victims who have opted to sue is unknown.

    According to this report, it is estimated that the diocese will pay out $5 million to victims of sexual abuse.

  2. Jean-Louis says:

    I’m also relieved to see that CBC named the other priests (Arsenault and Després) involved in allegations of sexual abuse in the Bastarache process.


  3. James FitzHugh says:

    I really have a hard time with those cases which have been brought against a priest (Fr. Camille Leger) after the man has long been dead.

    I was abused as a young boy, not by a priest, but by a neighbor. I certainly would never have waited before letting someone know what had happened. In fact, I told my father and he and several other men of the township went to see the man and forced him to move out of the Community.

    I often wonder if the only reason why people come forward after all that time is because it’s an easy way to money. The man is dead. He can’t defend himself. No-one can prove or disprove so pay him some money and shut him up.

    Look how many cases were settled in the Karl Toft affair and, later, it was found out that may of the claimants were bogus. In my considered opinion, cases should not be allowed to proceed if the person is dead and, further, there should be a stature of limitations.

    • Tim says:

      James, how did it become your business if other people who have been abused, are at some point awarded money because of their being abused?
      You have no credibility on this matter, since you are satisfied with what your father did.
      The father of these victims never had the opportunity to do what your father may have done.
      If you were abused, then it was a criminal act which you and your father covered up, and let the perpetrator walk free.

    • Sylvia says:

      Cruel and heartless words James. Cruel and heartless, to fellow victims.

      A few points:

      (1) Most clerical molesters worm their way into the heart of the family, or at the very least earn the trust and respect of the victim’s parents. The priest is revered, loved and respected by the victims’ parents and all adults. The young victims know this, and sense that no one will believe them;

      (2) There are countless cases in which a child victims told their mothers and/or fathers only to be get the back of the hand across the face;

      (3) There are countless cases in which the child victims told a priest and was severely admonished and/or beaten for daring to say that he was molested by a priest;

      (4) There are countless cases in which documented evidence exists proving that Church officials had first-hand knowledge that a particular priest was reported for molesting one or more children. In some cases documents show the priest admitting the abuse of certain children. I don’t know how many such documents exist in relation to Father Leger. Unless the victims speak we may never know. The archdiocese doesn’t seem to be prepared to disclose any of this information;

      (5) There are countless cases in which a bishop transferred a known predator to keep things quiet, and the molester did what molesters tend to do – groomed and seduced new victims and kept right on molesting;

      (6) Very few victims of childhood clerical sexual abuse will set foot inside a Roman Catholic Church. In addition to the sexual violation of their bodies they experience what can only be described as the rape of the soul. The priest molester is not just a neighbor or friend – he is, in the eyes of the child victim, as close to God as any human being can be. If, for example, “Father” says it’s okay, then it must be okay, or if “Father” says this is what God wants, then it surely is what God wants;

      (7) Do you have any idea how often a victim has gone to a diocese looking only for an apology only be offered money?

      (8) Do you know how often some bishops have blatantly lied to victims and/or their parents, telling them there has never been another complaint against “Father” when in fact there have been others?

      (9) Did anyone find out where your molester went when he was run out of the community by your Dad and others? Did anyone try to find out where he went so that the children in that community could be protected and their parents alerted?

      (10) Is there any particular reason the police weren’t called to investigate your allegations? or, were they?

      (11) Is your molester still alive?

    • Jean-Louis says:


      Need I remind you that many victims of two priests who are STILL ALIVE have also participated in this process. I’m not sure if THIS also creates a “hard time” for you. It should, at least, refute your ambiguous argument that “cases should not be allowed to proceed if the person is dead”.

      I hope that, by telling your father “right away” when you were abused, and by him and a bunch of guys banishing your abuser from your town, that you feel completely healed and vindicated. You never wondered whether or not your abuser continued to repeat his crimes down the line? You never wished you could take him to task? If someone was protecting your abuser at the time, would you not want retribution? What if you had not been believed??? I bet you would be singing a different tune today, my friend.

      To be perfectly honest, I would have rather preferred to have grown up with my trust in the clergy intact, than to have had the opportunity to receive any type of financial compensation for what I had to go through. Easy money??? It makes me wonder if you actually know the meaning of being abused.


  4. B says:


    It seems to me that you were incredibly lucky, both that you didn’t suppress the abuse as it was happening, so that it would take decades to be able to unpack and begin to deal with it, and that your father (and his friends) believed you. For many, even most victims, this is not the case.

    You were fortunate in that you were heard and believed. A quick kind of closure happened (for you–not necessarily for others, since your abuser may just have moved on to abuse others in other communities). Is it really fair that those victims who require much more time to deal with their abuse should never be allowed this closure? Especially when all the delays are brought about by the Church/legal system, etc?

    I believe this situation is not as black-and-white as you would like to see it, and that each victim deserves the right finally to be HEARD. Sexual abuse is, after all, a crime which thrives on silence.

  5. PJ says:

    Mr. FitzHugh – “it’s an easy way to money” you say…talk about putting your foot in your mouth. If I was to tell you your abuse was probably nothing at all, that you probably exaggerated your claim, you would be upset with me. Well, that how many of us feel about you when you say it’s an easy way to money. Nothing is further from the truth…the decades of blaming yourself, thinking you were worthless, thinking no one would believe you weigh heavily on each of us who were abused by a pervert collar. What’s more, our abusers were considered holy, so how confusing would their actions seem to us when we were so young? You’d better do some soul searching about what you have said here!
    Now let’s talk about what your father and others did when you spoke up right away…they forced him to move out of the Community. How convenient was that? A lot like that church does with it’s pervert collars, to move them out of the community to another where they continue to abuse. So your father and friends “gave” him to another community where he likely abused others.. I’m sure those victims would like to thank your father! Perhaps if they would have gone to the police and had the pervert charged, there would be no new victims? But to “protect” you and themselves from the embarrassment of going public, they chose to quietly remove him…shameful. So it’s no wonder you can’t understand why we waited years and decades to come forward…you don’t understand abuse…you don’t understand the difficulties coming forward brings…because you NEVER had to. You just don’t understand… period.

  6. JG says:

    Tim, B, PJ…
    You are all right on! James Fitzfugh says he was abused when it is convenient…..This is not the first time this “aproach” has been used to discredit the victims with the old recording: “it is all about the money”…God, “that” is getting so tiresome.
    Spill the beans, James! Make it believable…You are not the first one to play this recording:”I was abused as well so my opinion matters!”…
    First tell us what, where, when, how ….otherwise you have the credibility of …..a priest!


  7. PJ says:

    This james is a coward and a moron. No guts to converse with us after he shot his mouth off. Hey…maybe “james” will go cry to his daddy that we are picking on him! This guy is just a waste of air space.

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