Wherein lies the truth?

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A few comments, first  on the Bishop Wingle puzzler, and then on the blame game playing out re Canadian clerical molester Denis Vadeboncoeur. 


Bishop James Wingle

Two new articles re Wingle’s surprise resignation

08 April 2010: St. Catherine’s bishop resigns suddenly

07 April 2010: Resignation of St. Catherine’s bishop takes church by surprise

There’s nothing much new.  But it certainly does seem that not a soul – or barely a soul – knew that Wingle’s resignation was in the offing.

Strange?  I think so.

It also seems that if it was ill health which prompted Wingle’s sudden resignation others were not aware of and had not observed any sign of poor health.

Finally, if indeed Wingle has serious health issues of some sort I am surprised he did not so advise his flock.  Generally word of a serious health problem leaks out and becomes the talk of the diocese;  that does not seem to have been the case in St. Catherine’s.

In short, I  think a sudden unexplained and premature resignation by any bishop in the  midst of the sex abuse scandal and cover-up which is sweeping the world is ill-advised.  It simply begs questions and fuels speculation.

So, we are left to wait.  And question.  And speculate.

While we wait, a few observations, thoughts and questions:

(1) Bishop Wingle studied at Western University, which  is in London Ontario.  Western is  affiliated with and King’s College, formerly Christ the King College.   St. Peter’s seminary is part of King’s College.

Did Wingle pursue his Philosophy studies at King’s college?  I would think he probably did, but am not certain.  If indeed he did he would have been at King’s College during the Larocque years.  (Eugene Larocque, former bishop pf Alexandria-Cornwall, was Dean from 1965 to 1968)

(2)  Look at Wingle’s cv.   That information was taken from the 2002 Canadian Catholic Church  Directory. It would have been provided by Wingle.

Woked as counsellor with corrections?  Does that sound like maybe a probation officer?   The actual wording in the directory  is: “He was employed five years by the government of Ontario as a counsellor in the corrections system.

Is this the case of a  probation officer turned bishop!  Is it just me?  There’s something about that which is unsettling.

Be that as it may, some questions:

 (i)  If indeed Wingle was a probation officer , was he perchance a James Coughlan hire?  Time wise I would guess he was.

 Coughlan, known as the Father of Probation, personally hired or verified ever one of 250 probation officers in the government employ by 1970.

 Coughlan frequently turned to ex RC priests and seminarians as his hires – he felt these men had the background to do the job.  That alas is how ex seminarian Ken Seguin landed up working for probation services in Cornwall.

And if Wingle was NOT a probation officer, what kind of counselling did he do with correction services?  he must at the very least have worked alongside Coughlan et al?

Another thought.  Is there any chance that Wingle had actually been in the seminary? perhaps he was in the seminary and then for some reason left?  and then perhaps he worked with corrections, and then decided to once again pursue the priesthood a few years downstream, in a different seminary?

I don’t know, – it’ all just seems a rather unusual path to the priesthood.

 (ii)  Is there any chance Wingle and Seguin’s paths ever crossed?  That too is possible, is it not?  If yes, I would dearly love to hear Wingle’s observations of the young Seguin.

 (3) A final question.  Does anyone recall when the big clean up at St. Augustine’s seminary transpired?  The word was that the place was filled with homosexuals.  In the secular world that may be well and good, but it is not befitting a Catholic facility which  educates and forms men to become Roman Catholic priests.

My memory says it was in the mid 80s.

If it was the mid 80s does that mean that Wingle assumed command as Rector and President of St. Augustine’s after the purge?


Father Denis Vadeboncoeur

It looks as though retired and disgraced Bishop  Gaillot (Evreux ,France)  who was banished to the virtual diocese of Partenia, has taken the low road in laying blame rather than fess up to his own misdeeds.

Gaillot claimed that he “agreed” to take in convicted Quebec clerical molester Denis Vadeboncoeur. 

 ”We were being helpful. We were asked to take in an undesirable priest and we agreed,”

Recent events have shown that  once Vadeboncoeur was nestled away in Evreux  and, courtesy of Gaillot,  graciously given a parish and untrammeled access to children,  the convicted sexual predator carried right on preying on and molesting young lads.

While in Canada Vadeboncoeur was a member of the religious order of St. Vincent de Paul.   A member of that order has now spoken out and flatly denies that it sent Vadeboncoeur to Gaillot, but rather says  that Vadeboncoeur had friends in Evreux and was told he would be welcomed by Gaillot!

“He had friends in that diocese and they told him to come there – that he would be welcomed by the bishop,” Fiset said yesterday. “The community (in Quebec City) did not send him there.”

Wherein lies the truth?

And, in truth, as far as Gaillot is concerned, does it matter?  The bottom line is that the liberal minded bishop put a known molester into a parish with ready access to children.

What role Canadian Church officials did or did not play in scuttling Gaillot out of the country is another matter.

My question is why was Vadeboncoeur not defrocked?  Being a convicted child molester apparently wasn’t enough to do the job.  But why not defrock the predatory priest after he presumably trotted off to France to the beat of his own drummer?

And why was he not tossed from the order?  Or, was he?


 Unfortunately I am having some trouble with the new blog software.  I have been trying to work around it but fear the day will come in the not too distant future where that is impossible.  So, oh joy,  am once again looking at themes 🙁  Be prepared – once I find something which seems to fit my needs I will have it changed.

Enough for now,



This entry was posted in Bishop Wingle, Bishops, Canada, Circling the wagons, Clerical sexual predators, Cornwall, France, Ken Seguin, probation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Wherein lies the truth?

  1. Irene McNeilly says:

    Dear Sylvia:
    If memory serves us rightly, Dear Bishop Windle did his seminary studies in Rome. Concerning his time at the helm in Scarborough, at St. Augustines seminary, that took place after the purging at that particular institution.
    Cardinal Carter had his one on one meeting with John Paul 11 at his residence there in Toronto when Jp11 came in 1984.That particular visit was in the Toronto papers, the Globe and Mail and the Sun. Blasted across the headline was ‘Homosexual Scandal’, re St. Aug’s Seminary.
    The long and short of everything was that 14 Seminary professors were dumped.
    Too bad such a purging never took place in Ottawa at St. Paul’s Pontifical Seminary.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Irene. It’s great to have the dates.

    And the numbers…

    Fourteen profs were dumped?!!!

    Wow! That really was purge. More than I thought.

    As for seminary studies, Wingle definitely studied at St. Augustine’s and was ordained in 1977 – that would have been 7 years before the big purge.

    Seems that he was teaching moral theology the year of the purge, and then became Rector three years after the purge. (1987)

    (He did study in Rome, but that was after his ordination to pursue a doctorate and licentiate in Moral Theology)

  3. Gina says:

    I was wondering about Bishop’s Wingle’s biography. He was ordained in the diocese of Pembroke in 1977 but only was an assistant priest for 6 months at which point he became a parochial vicar for 2 years in Eganville . Then he was off to study in Rome for 5 years! Weren’t monseigneurs Robert Borne (charged) and convicted Bernard Prince active in that area at the time he was around and didn’t Prince have connections with the vatican?

  4. Gina says:

    sylvia …remove the email address

  5. Sylvia says:

    Do you mean on your post Gina? It’s not there. It never shows on posts.

  6. Sylvia says:

    You’re right Gina re Borne and Prince. Both in the Diocese of Pembroke while Wingle was there, although I’m not sure when exactly Prince was coming and going. I would have to do a bit of digging around on that.

    What I can come up with failry quickly is this:

    1989 Ontario directory:

    Bishop: Joseph R Wingle

    at the cathedral – Bishop W.J.Smith (formerly of Alexabdria-Cornwall Diocese)

    Wingle: at St. Anne in Mattawa with Father M.S, Gaudreault.

    Member of the Senate of Priests

    Robert Borne: Vice Chancellor and Secretary

    Master of Ceremonies
    Missionary Education

    Bernard Prince: “Vefensor Vinculi” but address 90 Parent Ave Ottawa, which happens to be the former address for the cccb

    Any word on the charges against Borne? Have I missed it? Anyone know?

  7. thomas says:

    Where is Bishop wingle? why did he run and noone knows his whereabouts? plus a neighbour across the street saw a moving truck at his house…and now he;s nowhere to be found

  8. Sylvia says:

    Interesting indeed.

    Where oh where is Bishop Wingle? Anyone know?

  9. george says:

    Article in Ham. Spec. says that another victim reported abuse to St. Catharines Diocese on Sept 23, 2005. Ignored by those who took his report and under Bishop Wingle’s reign….is this the reason, he left before news broke of his office’s “lack of appropriate response” to another sex abuse allegation by another victim?

  10. Cheryl Helena Thomson says:

    CBC MAJOR ERROR (???) may be corrected tomorrow. They put out a story on “Bishop Windle” – spelled Windle – on April 10, 2010. The CBC says “Joseph Windle”, Bishop in Pembroke, Ontario, sent a letter to the Pope’s envoy to Canada in February 1993, urging that Bernard Prince not be promoted. But it was Bishop James Wingle – spelled Wingle – who became Bishop of Pembroke in 1993.

    Is it possible that Wingle has resigned and disappeared because the whole nightmare of this issue is now too much for him? He evidently tried to expose Prince to the Vatican years ago, networked with Canadian hierarchy (Ambrozic, Wilhelm, Spence, Gervais, O’Mara, Tonnos), and saw his efforts ignored.

    In fact, I wondered if he didn’t ‘leak’ this whole story to the CBC himself?

    This would explain his disappearance, wouldn’t it?

    You can read Wingle’s July 3, 2008 Statement per the Appointment of Henry Morgentaler to the Order of Canada online.

    I can’t imagine getting the spelling of his name wrong, but the CBC is capable of anything these days.

  11. Cheryl Helena Thomson says:

    Clarification postscript – In other words, I wonder if Wingle is actually ‘one of the good guys’. His going public with this letter he wrote to the Vatican back in 1993 is just the kind of courageous ‘lone wolf’ or ‘lone crusader’ action that the Roman Catholic Church simply does not allow. This is the reason why of all the hundreds of priests out there WHO KNOW FROM THE INSIDE EXACTLY WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON, no one has yet to come forward. It would take courage. It would mean going against the organization. Damn the torpedoes. Maybe Bishop Wingle is a hero, after all.

  12. Reality Checker says:

    Hang on a second Cheryl – Wingle NOT Windle was down in Nova Scotia (Yarmouth) in 1993. The 1993 letter is clearly signed by Bishop Joseph WINDLE (Bishop of Pembroke) NOT Bishop James Wingle.

    I can’t find anywhere that Wingle was Bishop of Pembroke in 1993…or that he was anywhere near Pembroke.


  13. Reality Checker says:

    BTW – I do believe Bishop James Wingle of the St. Catharines Diocese was greatly involved in a sex abuse cover-up –
    the Fr. Donald Grecco cover-up!!!

    I think that’s a given!

  14. Reality Checker says:

    I thank it’s fascinating it is Ken Peters who is reporting on the Grecco case for the Hamilton Spectator.

    If you recall – Ken Peters was the journalist who was charged with contempt of court in 2004 for failing to name his source in a series of articles he wrote based on the care within a retirement home – a Catholic run retirement home on Hamilton Mountain.

    I’m sure he’s not in Bishop Tonno’s good books.

    Very brave!!!

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