The Bishop did “due diligence”?

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I was all set to blog last evening.  The plan was that first I would check for new media of interest and get it posted, and then I’d blog.

Well, I read  Bishop says church is responding to abuse and that was it!  That was just a bot too much for me on a warm Sunday evening in May.  There are any number of issues which bother me, and I am not about to go into them at this hour, but the one which got me going was Bishop Fred Henry’s comment about his 2002 decision hoisting convicted clerical molester James Kneale upon his unwitting flock.

“I think I did my due diligence. I only made one mistake, but it was a major one. I did not consult the parishioners beforehand about accepting this man.”

Henry did “due diligence” but made “one” mistake, …..and that “one” mistake was a “major” one? 

Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?  If he didn’t let his flock know to keep an eye on their children because their new priest was a convicted sexual predator  he didn’t do due diligence, did he?

He did do due diligence I suppose by slipping Kneale in quietly amidst the lambs.  Obviously the bishop knew enough to know that, when it comes to clerical sexual predators, he and the average Catholic parent are not of like mind, and obviously he surmised that Father Kneale would not be well received if he, Henry, were to reveal the truth about Kneale’s sexual proclivities.  Why else the decision not to tell?  If there’s nothing wrong with reintegrating a molester-priest, and if it’s a good and healthy and wise and Catholic thing to do, then why the secrecy?

Bishop Henry could I suppose have been up front and said something to the effect of:

 ‘My dear children, I am giving you a new priest to help you seek your salvation.  Like you and me and everyone else Father James Kneale is a sinner. 

‘Unlike most of us, however, Father Kneale has the unique charism of being a convicted sinner.  He used to be a sexual predator but he tells me it’s been years since he laid his hands on a young boy.  I believe him.  Why would I not?  He’s a priest.  I know he’s telling the truth.  Experience tells me that convicted clerical sexual predators always tell the truth.  True enough they don’t always tell the truth right off the bat when they’re first caught, and true enough that was a really really big mistake Father Kneale made when he initially denied that he molested those boys, but the reality is that once convicted these men always tell the truth and are, well,  the salt of the earth.  Father Kneale will be no different.  He is a man of honour and integrity.   We can learn from convicted molesters like Father Kneale.  They have suffered much. They have stories to tell.

‘So, here he is:  Father James Kneale.  He’s a great guy. I trust him implicitly.  Like many of you, he’s a little psychosexually immature, but he’s getting that sorted out and, in accordance with his therapy in Southdown he will strive to ensure that he never lays a wayward hand on a boy-child  who has not yet reached the age of consent.  He tells me he won’t, and I know he won’t.

‘Finally, I want you to know that I especially chose you dear children, and your parish community, to help Father Kneale reintegrate.  I chose you because you are a forgiving people.  You are people of compassion and understanding.  I chose you because I know you want  to do God’s work.  I chose you because I know it is more important to you that a convicted clerical molester be given a second chance than it is to worry about the safety and well-being of your own dear children.   I chose you because I know you are risk takers.  I chose you because I know you are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

‘I ask that you receive Father Kneale into your homes and hearts with joy and a spirit of thanksgiving. Don’t marginalize him.  Don’t discriminate.  Let him see that you trust him with your hopes, your fears, your deepest thoughts, and with your children.

Is this what Catholics can expect in the future? 

Will this transparency of which the bishop speaks perchance extend to:

‘Surprise, dear children.  I am obliged to advise you that Father X who has been with you for the past 10 years and who has done such a remarkable job of involving the young people in parish activities was accused of sexual abuse 15 years ago.  At the time we decided that the allegations had merit.  We also decided that,  for the good of all, we would pay his victims to cover counselling costs and other sundry expenses.  We also decided for the good of all, and because the offences happened a long long time ago, not to report the allegations to police, and ,at the request of his victims,  to keep the settlement quiet.  I would add that Father X assures me that he has never laid a wayward hand on a child since that first and only unfortunate mistake.’

It should.  There’s a fair few Father Xs around.

Anyway, I read the article and decided for starters that I had to get the James Kneale articles together and posted.  That is nearly done, but I do have another couple which are on disk and for some reason not friendly with my new computer and software. I will clean them up as best I can and get them posted, hopefully later today.

The next thing I decided I must do is dig out and post an article I wrote some years  back about a Father Mark Buckley. 

Bishop Henry took Buckley in too.  Buckley wasn’t wanted for molesting, but there was a warrant out for his arrest. 

 That’s quite a story too.   I called it “Friends in High Places.” 

 I will get it posted.

****

As I went through files I came across this:  15 October 2002:  Catholic Archbishop is cleared of sexual abuse allegations  I had thought I recalled something but it was a little hazy and didn’t want to comment if I didn’t have something to back it in black and white.

Disturbing.

****

I added a Google search engine to Sylvia’s Site.  It’s the one at the top. 

This is something I’ve been wanting to get done for ages.  I finally managed, and thought I had it all squared away, but it’s got problems.  I will continue to work on it over the coming days.  meanwhile, it’s there, and more or less functional.  What it does that the other doesn’t do is search both www.theinquiry.ca and Sylvia’s Site.  It also gives an extract which makes for easier sifting through hits.  So, bear with as I continue to fiddle with it.   I think it’s worth the effort because there is so much information on www.theinquiry.ca which doesn’t get picked up on the other search engine.  No search engine is perfect, and they all miss things, but  a search which misses everything posted on www.theinquiry.ca is just too much to let go.

On that note, I am calling it a day,

Enough for now,

Sylvia

(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

This entry was posted in Accused or charged, Bishops, Canada, Circling the wagons, Clerical sexual predators, recycled, Scandal and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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