Put their politically-correct tap-dancing episcopal feet to the fire

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The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) commences its annual plenary today – in Cornwall.  The issue of clerical sexual abuse is on the plate for tomorrow.

Meanwhile London-based law firm Ledroit Beckett which represents a number of victims at the inquiry will hold a Press Conference at the Cornwall Ramada Inn to put forth a number of proposals for the CCCB.

Yesterday I blogged that I hope and pray they put the bishops feet to the fire.  And indeed I do.

I have watched the bishops fiddle and tap dance around the issue of clerical sexual abuse for years, consistently playing the politically-correct game of muddying the waters with talk ad nauseam of sexual abuse and incest in general and a concerted avoidance of clerical sexual abuse of males in particular.

The bishops have been notorious in their failure to address the issue.  Furthermore, in its 1992 guidelines on sexual abuse, From Pain to Hope, a concerted part of the CCCB tap dancing was a focus on re-integrating clerical sexual predators.  For example, amongst recommendations for re-integration is the following,

Clearly inform the parish council or representative parishioners, in an open and responsible manner, before appointing a priest who has been reintegrated into the pastoral ministry, and ensure that the receiving parish community will support the initiaitice of this appointment.

This sharing of information is not without problems, given the additional pressure it puts on the candidate for re-entry.  Nonetheless, experience tends to indicate that those few who are involved in the situation will be fully supportive.

In other words, the CCCB deliberately decided NOT to inform parishioners when a clerical sexual predator is in their midst and in their sanctuary.  To the contrary, for years a select and very small handful of parishioners have been unilaterally tolerating this ‘re-integration’ and leaving their fellow parishioners in the dark, thereby wilfully placing children and young people at risk.

On the other hand, according to the same document

All our considerations convinced us that child sexual abuse occurs and will continue in a climate of deception, hypocrisy and lies.

We suggest that more energy be put into correcting wrongs, than in safeguarding appearances: into humble care of the wounded.

I do believe the obvious question here is what is the CCCB  re-integration policy if not one of deception, hypocricy and lies? Is that not the ultimate safe-guarding of appearance?

And where does “humble care of the wounded” fit it in? 

I’d say that the long and short of it is that the bishops speak with forked tongue!

At this point I will remind you that Oblate Father Frank Morrissy who has been providing canonical advice on the inquiry to Bishop Paul Andre Durocher was instrumental in producing  from Pain to Hope. Morrissey, Ottawa’s pre-eminent canon lawyer whose expertise is sought far and wide by diocese’s immersed in sexual abuse scandals, has said on the record time and again that there is a financial dimension to re-integrating clerical sexual abusers (“If we have invested money in these people, we’ve got to see if something can be corrected and looked at”).  According to Morrissey the big issue at stake is the $250,000 investment “the church has forked out” for the priest’s training.

Can you believe it?  Canadian Church officials, under the watchful guidance and ‘dictates’ of the  CCCB,  will recycle a clerical sexual predator and willfully place children and young adults at risk and jeopardize souls for the sake of the almighty dollar! 

For now I will leave it at that.  Perhaps at some future date I will give you a bird’s eye view of how Father Morrisey and a small gaggle of Ottawa-based canon lawyers dealt with concerns about the sexual predilictions of one particular priest.  It’s interesting and very very disturbing.

 Meanwhile, I do hope and pray that Ledroit Beckett and the victims put the bishops’ politically-correct tap-dancing feet to the fire today as the CCCB prepares to launch its plenary –

(1) in a diocese rocked by clerical sex abuse scandals and allegations of a paedophile ring and cover-up involving, amongst others, Roman Catholic priests, canon lawyers and bishops,

(2) in the midst of a ruse of an inquiry which will not and has no intention of uncovering and exposing the truth and deception about the magnitude of the problem of clerical sex abuse and cover-up in the diocese, and

(3) with a key note speaker Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on deck to address the gathering tomorrow who, as I previously blogged, is immersed in his own personal sex scandal south of the border.


Public activity resumes at the Weave Shed at 2pm this afternoon (Monday 16 October 2006).  The object of today’s legal endeavour is to refine and streamline procedures related to handling confidential material to ensure that not a boo of top secret information inadvertently escapes into the public domain in this public inquiry.

Witnesses listed to take the stand for the remainder of the week, commencing tomorrow at 9.30 am are

  • Alain Seguin
  •  Andre Lavoie
  •  Jason Tyo
  •  Scott Burgess
  •  Dawn Raymond

Alain Seguin and Andre Lavoie are victims of Robert Sabourin, former teacher at Cornwall’s LaCitadelle High School who was a good friend of former Bishop Adolphe Proulx and other Roman Catholic clergy.

After Alain’ and Andre’s testimony we return to testimony from victims of Jean Luc Leblanc which commenced last week.

Note that we can say “victims” here.  The inquiry is currently calling victims whose molesters were charged and were either found guilty or entered a guilty plea.

Enough for now,


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