Pemroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity

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A very courageous step has been taken by some clergy in the Diocese of Pembroke….
A group of priests from the Diocese of Pembroke, Ontario (Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity) is speaking out.  The priests, whose numbers are unknown, allege (see below) that two former bishops of the the diocese – Brendan O’Brien and Richard Smith – were aware of “the immoral and illegal behaviour” of Monsignor Robert Borne and did nothing.  
Monsignor Borne’s judicial pre-trial is scheduled for 13 September 2010 in Pembroke.  He initially faced 19 charges related to allegations of sex abuse of five boys.  Eight charges were dropped – Borne now faces four charges related to sex abuse allegations filed by two complainants.  
Bishop Brendan O’Brien, a priest from the Archdiocese of Ottawa, served as bishop of the Pembroke Diocese 05 May 1993 to 04 December 2000.  He went on to serve as Archbishop of Saint John’s Newfoundland (2000-2007).  He was installed as Archbishop of Kingston, Ontario, 01 June 2007.
Archbishop Richard Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Halifax, Nova Scotia, served as Bishop of the Pembroke Diocese from 27 April 2002 to 22 March 2007.  He was installed as Archbishop of Edmonton, Alberta 01 May 2007.
The Pembroke priests sent an email letter to Archbishops O’Brien and Smith yesterday  (25 August 2010). The letter, with a cover letter (email), was copied to various media outlets and archbishops yesterday evening; both are reproduced below.



Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity



Monsignor Robert Borne – Two Former Bishops of Pembroke

The attached document represents the sentiments of many good Catholic people and priests who have been betrayed by two former bishops: Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, Archbishop of Kingston and Archbishop Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton. 

Both bishops are former bishops of Pembroke, Ontario Canada and had FULL and complete knowledge of the immoral and illegal behaviour of Monsignor Robert Borne and did nothing to protect the young.  It was only with the appointment of Bishop Michael Mulhall, Bishop of Pembroke, that Monsignor Borne was removed from his parish. 

Borne now faces criminal charges, slated to begin this fall in Pembroke. 

For obvious reasons, priests of the Diocese of Pembroke must remain anonymous in this communication in order to protect them in their present assignments and from the vindictive nature of those in episcopal authority. 

Future questions can be relayed to this email address.




Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity

In Service of Christ the Lord 

To: Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, Archbishop Richard Smith
Date: August 25, 2010

Re: Monsignor Robert Borne
cc: Media Outlets, Archbishops

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

We are all keenly aware of the pending criminal case concerning Monsignor Robert Borne.  Some charges have been bound over to trial, which will likely begin this fall.  Although your ministry today takes you far and away from any particular concerns about the Diocese of Pembroke, I am sure you can appreciate the considerable pain, anxiety and anger that exist concerning this case and that concerning Bernard Prince. The clergy and laity of this diocese have suffered tremendously.  Worries about the safety of priest pension funds, attempts to offer counsel to the laity who are disappointed and angry, verbal assaults that priests have faced in the confessional and the quiet and isolated path that we have had to walk during this juncture has been most difficult. 

Priests of this diocese know full well that both of you, as bishops of Pembroke, were fully aware of Monsignor Borne’s immoral and illegal behavior. His reputation and actions was brought to your attention when you were in office here.  These facts are spoken about openly among the priests today.  For some unknown reason, you both chose to ignore these facts and left him in positions where teenagers (minors) could be at risk.  One assumes that your interest in moving on to Episcopal advancement would free you from such concerns in time. 

The question: during this interval, some reporters (both national and local) have contacted some of us to make inquiry about Monsignor Borne and his history. Who knew what and when? What did Bishop X do about this?  For what reason should your identities be shielded about this case? Why shouldn’t the full facts be disclosed to those who are seeking them? Why should you be protected when the priests of this diocese have not been spared this pain as a result of your inaction?  

Clearly, it is time for these facts to be made known and for you to be held accountable!  We can assure you that the above sentiments that have been expressed represent many in the diocese.  These matters have been shared with many offices of the Holy See by priests of the Diocese of Pembroke.  You should both answer for this terrible case. 

As you continue in your ministry, in whatever form, may your first instincts be that, not of politics and self-promotion, but honor, truth and holiness in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pray for these priests.  They need our prayers now.  They will need them in the days to come.

Enough for now, 


(contact me at

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63 Responses to Pemroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity

  1. John says:

    I will be watching very closely as all of this unfolds. I am quite certain that there will be one very unhappy lawyer, one very unhappy priest and 2 very unhappy Bishops sitting in very uncomfortable chairs when this media storm hits.

  2. Lina says:

    John I agree you!

    Thank you Sylvia!

    I thank God!


  3. Lina says:


    Many prayers are being answered.

    I am sorry to think that priests did not care enough in the Pembroke Diocese about the victims of abuse. I apologize.

    Thank you to all priests of the Pembroke Diocese that our showing courage. I’ll keep praying for all!

    God bless all the victims, all those that are hurting because of this scandal in our Diocese. Also I pray for all the abusers and their loved ones.

    Applause..a big standing ovation to all ‘the Pembroke Priests for Justice!’


  4. Sylvia says:

    Amen to your sentiments John and Lina.

  5. John says:

    Lina there is an interesting question to put to one of the priests in Pembroke that comes out of the letters sent to the 2 Archbishops. It is about the following line contained in the letter: “Worries about the safety of priests pension funds”……You could ask your local parish priest; What could these priests be talking about in this line?

  6. Lina says:

    John it is a good question what was said in the letter:

    “Worries about the safety of priests pension funds”……You could ask your local parish priest; What could these priests be talking about in this line?”

    John, I rather Sylvia or another journalist/reporter ask that question to one of the priests. I think those priests are in for a tough fight. It is like they are going against their bosses that think they are above the law so to speak. Some make think these priests are going against God!

    I am grateful for ALL people like Sylvia that keep asking questions and digging for the truth.

    I pray that none of the priests that are finally doing the right thing are going to be penalized by being let go of their priestly duties.

    Revenge as justice could be a the fall-out for many of these priests.

    God help us all! Especially, those priests that are speaking out!

    Remember what an (alleged) victim of Monsignor Robert Borne said:

    “ not forget that Borne’s last position was also in Eganville, Borne also as secretary to(late)Bishop Windle HAD access to all complaints lodged against ANY priest in the Diocese of Pembroke.

    John thanks for your input on this issue.


  7. John,

    May I please ask what letter you are referring to? I have never seen such a line on any letter that has been sent to the priests about the pension issue. If possible, could you tell me who signed the letter too?

    Thank you.

    Fr. Tim

  8. John says:

    Fr. Tim,

    It would seem obvious to me that since you commented on this post, that you would have read the post, but one should never assume.

    I wrote in my comment that the line was in the letter addressed to the 2 Archbishops, maybe I should have put in brackets (read above).

    After reading the letters above Fr. Tim I am hoping that you will be able to answer the question about the pension issue.

    I follow your website and I see no mention of the above letters on your site. I am wondering if you will be posting them there?

    John Mac Donald

  9. prima facie says:

    After reading the above emails re: “Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity” and based soley on those emails,(because I have nothing else to help me deliberate the issue), I too, see this as a very courageous step.
    Please take into consideration that I am attempting to interpret the emails from the perspective of “Justice, Truth, Integrity, Responsibility, Accountability and Appropriate Consequences.”

    In fact, I believe, with the correct support, the “Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity” initiative, FROM THE CONTEXT of the direct, unambiguous email published above, could be the courageous, “CUTTING EDGE” “type of thinking”, NEEDED.

    IF “a messenger-(anyone-laymen or professional)” suggests to this “intiative” that (as a result of the publicized emails), “they” have now jeopardized “Borne’s pretrial” hearing or similar, don’t believe it……that’s a lie too.
    (I would take that as a veiled attempt by an unaware or untrustworthy “messenger” to “silence”, control-intimidate the “initiative”. KNOW who you can trust!
    Relating to the “context” of the emails, I would urge the “Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity” to fight onward……support will be needed.
    “Lord, Hear Our Prayer”

  10. Tim says:

    Re: Pembroke Priests for Justice, etc.
    May God, in HIS MERCY, protect and prosper this courageous step by these Priests I know many of the Priests in the Pembroke Diocese, and they have had weak leadership until the current Bishop was appointed. Tim

  11. Carla says:

    Sylvia,I was up all night wondering why more priests, sickened by the abuses of some of their colleagues, have not come forward in defense of the many victims….and today you write about these courageous men…maybe there will be more…

  12. Sylvia says:

    John, we were thinking along the same lines. I too wondered if something might be implied by the stated “worries about the safety of priests pension funds”……I emailed the Pembroke Priests for Justice earlier and was told that the priest pension fund has not been used for legal fees, nor has it been touched for either the Monsignors Borne or Prince cases. In order to protect it the pension fund is apparently independently allocated into a separate foundation. The understanadble and expressed worry is that all the t’s and i’s are in place.

    Yes Carla, maybe there will be more. Let’s pray that there are…

  13. John says:

    Sylvia and Fr. Tim……..Sylvia as you know I have TRIED to ask MANY questions of church officials over the years, only to be stone walled again and again.

    I was kind enough to reply to Fr. Tim’s post within 13 minutes of his asking ME a question. I asked questions back to him in regards to his question to me and I have yet to hear from him. Please Fr. Tim do not let your middle name to out to be stonewall.

    John Mac Donald

  14. John:
    1. The pension question has been properly addressed by Sylvia
    2. No I won’t be posting the letter on my blog.

    The reason I won’t post the letter is because it is a terrible action. Not from the perspective of what it reveals, but because it is done anonymously. The end result will be a breakdown in trust among the priests as everyone begins to question who is behind this letter. This is not a good thing for we priests who have had enough shocks in these affairs. If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you would know that if I say something, I stand behind it with my name. I do not hide in anonymity. I deeply regret that this/these priest(s) have chosen this means of addressing their concern.

    So please understand me. My problem is with the means used as it will have unintended consequences among the brotherhood of the priests. We don’t need more issues to deal with.

    As to the timing of my response, this is the first chance I have had today to return to the computer, thus it’s my first chance to respond to your queries.


    Fr. Tim

  15. John says:

    Fr. Tim,

    Thank you for responding, I can appreciate that it has been a busy day for you. If you knew of my many attempts at looking for a response from Church officials then you would understand my frustrations as minutes seem like hours and hours seem days long. So once again thank you for your candid response.

    I have read your response and I do not want to dissect it, I would like to carry on a dialogue with you. It can begin with this simple question:

    The priests are pointing fingers at Archbishops Smith and O’Brien, are they just in doing so?

    John Mac Donald

  16. Lina says:

    Is there any way to know if this letter to the media is real? I know reporters do not need to reveal their sources. But they can say it comes from reliable sources can they?

    If this is a kind of joke I for one I’m not laughing. Furthermore, it is cruel, especially to all victims. Sylvia?


  17. Lina says:

    I hope this letter is for real ‘Myomy’? I am starting to think it is a bad rumor. I do hope Sylvia could give us some inclination that it is on the level. I would feel much better.


  18. Sylvia says:

    You’re too fast for me Lina. I was just getting a reply ready.

    It’s no joke. Rest assured I did not make it up.

    The problem lies with the fact the clergy involved wish to retain their anonymity because, as is stated in the cover-email: “For obvious reasons, priests of the Diocese of Pembroke must remain anonymous in this communication in order to protect them in their present assignments and from the vindictive nature of those in episcopal authority.”

    I understand that fully. I understand that this is the way they feel they must proceed at this point in time. I believe that if their actions are to have merit they will eventually have to reveal their identities, or, at the very least one who is designated as spokesman for the group will have to reveal his identity.

    When the time comes – and I believe it will be sooner than later – will they have the courage to take that step? I pray they will.

    They have taken the first step – a big one. Will they summon the courage to follow through? As I say, I pray they will. They need our prayers.

    Myomy, it has been ages since we’ve heard from you! Your sound insights are always food for thought. Welcome back 🙂

  19. John,
    I appreciate your understanding. It has been a chaotic day with funeral, appointments etc. but you deserved a response.

    Are the allegations just? I cannot say. That would require information that I don’t have. Suffice it to say that if there is sometime to these allegations, well… let’s just say that it’s too late now to put that genie back in the bottle. I just sincerely wish that this priest(s)… I don’t KNOW who they are… would have the courage to put their name behind their words. This state of ‘is it true? or not?’ is terribly harmful to the priests, faithful and victims in our little corner of paradise a.k.a. the Ottawa Valley.

    I guess its just another reason to pray hard for a successful resolution to all these matters… and by successful I mean the conviction of actual predators and the appropriate compensation of any victims.

    Good night. I have another busy day ahead of me tomorrow and it’s time to turn in. I will add a special prayer that you are able to receive the information you need for you too to sleep in peace this (and every) night.

    Fr. Tim

  20. Lina says:

    Thank you Sylvia, I should had known you wouldn’t publish something like that if you knew it was not tangible. I was reading some negative posts on this thread and I started doubting the credibility of letters. Sorry about that.

    Again, thank you!


  21. Myomy says:

    Most Diocese have a pension fund for priests retirement and one of the objectives is to isolate the funds legally. They can only be used to support retired priests. The pension fund is established with it’s own board. If the lawyer established it properly the money could not be tapped to pay off the liabilities of the diocese in the event of lawsuits or diocesan bankruptcy. These pension funds may well be actuarially unsound so these courageous priests may very well need the solidarity and support of loyal catholics at the end of the day.

  22. prima facie says:

    Firstly, I truly believe you are correct (recent blog) Sylvia. I also agree with you Sylvia…..I believe, at some time….”the right time”….”you-Priests for Justice…” will know…they will reveal themselves….but not now.
    (silence-relaxation-meditation-prayer-trust in God)

    I for one, hope “the genie does not get put back into the proverbial bottle”.
    If this whole issue is “real-genuine”, then I assume, the “Pembroke Priests for Justice…” knew and still know that there is no other way to “disclose”….all other “means” have been tried and failed.
    “The powers that be” will scramble to “put the lid on this” and “spin” what has already happened….but I believe, “this is the only way” to finally shake the rug.
    If genuine, I believe this “initiative” will be recorded as, simply put, “everything Good”.
    Make no mistake about it, “IF GENUINE”, I believe, what these “Pembroke Priests” have chosen to do is very, very courageous and spiritual. I believe they also know they have “risked all”, including challenges to their behaviours and the “attempted” rescission of pensions/other benefits.
    I believe they must realize, that change can only occur with risk taking and risk taking has negative or positive consequences. However, make no mistake about it, despite what some people may want “you” to believe, “you” and others like you can not “legally” lose anything for “speaking out”.

    I also believe thes “Pembroke Priests for Justice…” must realize and understand, as people like Constable Perry Dunlop and others have experienced, “the powers that be” can attempt to destroy lives…and leave “whistleblowers and others” abandonned helplessly on a street corner.
    If genuine, these courageous souls require OPEN support from similar thinking clergy, laymen and professionals from all walks of life. Make no mistake about it, if genuine, this is a very, very significant event.

    As a non-Roman Catholic, I have a lot of time and respect for the actions these men and their supporters, have chosen to take. I truly believe, if this “initiative” is genuine, it has been inspired by God’s Will.

    Unlike Father Tim, I know there was no other way to “disclose”. I know other bloggers on this site also understand there is no other way to “break the silence” and “disclose the facts”.

    “God’s Will Be Done”….not man’s.

  23. Sylvia says:

    Well said prima facie. Well said.

    The action taken by these priests is so very rare that we have little to measure against. I just posted a legal document Pedersen v Fulton – it gives a glimpse at the potential ramifications.

  24. Newfoundland Dog says:

    Sylvia,I’m following your site with great interest as many of the principals are familiar to me. For what it’s worth, a number of years ago, when he was Archbishop of St. John’s, I approached Archbishop O’Brien after Mass at St.Kevin’s one Sunday morning and suggested to him that there was a need to set up discussion groups throughout the archdiocese so that Catholic parishoners could be given a forum to express their views and seek answers to their questions concerning the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has rocked this island for the past twenty-three years. He agreed with me that there was a need for this but, up to the time he left, nothing was ever done to give parishoners, other than Parish Councl members, a forum to vent their concerns. The need is still there, even more so, in light of recent revelations throughout the Catholic world!

    I’m 67 and have been a practicing Catholic all my life and have volunteered my time and talent to whatever parish I was in over the years; but no more! As of Easter past, until I see some accountability such as that suggested by the Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth, and Integrity, my faith in a loving God the Father will have to sustain me.

    Good for you, Fathers, your courage and leadership are needed and may even lead me back to a renewed Church where I belong.

    I wish you good luck and God’s help.

    Sylvia, please sign me, Newfoundland Dog.

  25. Sylvia says:

    Newfoundland Dog you are 🙂

    I will take this opportunity to explain to everyone that although the comment box asks for your name you are free to put in whatever name you wish to use for blogging. Once you have submitted your comment whatever name you put will appear. In your case Newoundland Dog I was at the computer when your comment went through so was able to fix it up for you right away, otherwise it would have been your name.

    If you decide to comment again Newfoundland Dog be sure to put in Newfoundland Dog to replace your own name – the software will recognize you and want to put in your real name.

  26. prima facie says:

    ….see Sylvia….the written words of “Newfoundland Dog”.
    All I can say is “Praise The Lord”. I weap tears of hope.

    If only this would “catch on”…As you and I know Sylvia, there are so many people like “Newfoundland Dog”…aren’t there. So many, just waiting…….and the “vehicle called” for this “leadeship” role, has come from “within the ranks”, so-to-speak.

    If “they” are truly genuine, then I see the “Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth and Integrity” as being “called” to duty….the true understanding of which we do not need to know…..because “we see”. Follow, lead and follow…..

    “God’s Will Be Done”,,,not man’s.

  27. Newfoundland Dog says:

    Oops! Hah,haaaaaaaaaa!! Thanks, Sylvia. See, you really can teach an old dog new tricks.

  28. Sylvia says:

    It’s true, prima facie – so many are waiting and hoping. God’s will be done.

    Newfoundland Dog, you have it! Way to go 🙂

  29. prima facie says:

    Sylvia: You may be interested in viewing Father Tim Moyle’s website. He provides an “editorial” relating to John’s inquiry about whether he will post the “Pembroke Priests for Justice…” email/concerns on his website.
    My interest is whether Father Tim Moyle will post, on his website, his original “opinions” that he posted on this (Sylvia’s) website; ie)post#10 on Sylvia’s blog entitled, “Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Intergrity”, dated August 26th, 2010, 1:19am”

    Sylvia; read his “editorial”….in my opinion it is replete with self-righteous, veiled implications, characterizations, labelling, shaming, prejudging and an attempt to ostracize or label as “outcasts”, the “Pembroke Priests….”.
    Of course, as you know Sylvia, from my perspective, this type of, what I see as, “two-faced” representation, and “editorials” with significant omissions, disgust me. (no respect here).
    HOWEVER; Father Moyle’s “editorial” is simply that, an “editorial or opinion editorial”, so it is okay to be replete with “opinion”, as one Professor of Journalism explained to me.
    I would like to see Father Tim Moyle post his original (“Sylvia’s website”) opinion, on his own website and expand upon it or offer a clarification of the same.

    I believe the “Father Tim’s” of the world will be solicited and perhaps influenced one way or the other on how to guide and/or “instruct his flock” relating to this “VERY, VERY SIGNIFICANT ISSUE”. I believe the “lapdog”, “mainstream” will eventually follow in an attempt to ostracize “the message-disclosures and messengers”.
    Know who to trust! Look for consistency or perhaps more importantly, the inconsistencies, in those offering advice/counsel.
    As the saying goes, “it is much easier to espouse the truth.”

    Finally: Let me make this perfectly clear.
    If the “Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Intergrity” are genuine, then they are courageous hero’s, requiring support-which will also be risk-taking. In the event “they” are “bogus”, then let me say this. In my opinion, the “idea or initiative” originally published and the “means” utilized to publish the same, IS THE ONLY way to “effectively” and finally address these horrid crimes. Someone else will have to carry the proverbial cross, and risk all, in this exact manner, if these “Priests” are bogus.
    From my perspective and belief, if genuine, I urge these “Priests” to only identify themselves, when they are certain they are “covered”, so-to-speak. But eventually, “they” will have to identify themselves.
    The risk will be costly to the ANY so called “whistleblowers” or similar.

    James P. Bateman a.k.a.”Prima Facie”
    (non-Roman Catholic-Baptised Anglican-Church of England)

  30. Tim says:

    —-And , perhaps, Fr. Moyle is just trying to cover some tracks. Tim

  31. prima facie says:

    August 28, 2010.
    1158hrs Eastern Time:

    To: Father Tim Moyle:

    As quickly as possible; I publicly offer you my apologies. I have erred.

    In my post above #29 I write that that you had provided a different opinion in “post” 10, than you provide on your website. I understand now that there have been more than “one” “Tim” posting and/or commenting and that in fact it is very clear, one is “Fr. Tim Moyle” and the other is “Tim”.

    So, it is now my belief and understanding that you have one position regarding this matter as provided on your website. In fact, there is no turnaround or “two-faced” re-positioning as I earlier suggested.

    James P. Bateman a.k.a. Prima Facie
    (Non-Roman Catholic, Baptised Anglican-Church of England)

  32. James: No problem. These are incredibly painful and difficult issues for all concerned. Although I am not a predator or victim of clergy abuse, I am a priest and thus, to use a old saying, ‘I’ve got a dog in this fight’. I too want for these perverts to be weeded out of the priesthood and will continue to do everything I can to achieve that goal. I simply realize that there are concerns which complicate and defeat simple ‘black and white’ solutions. It is not acceptable to damage or destroy the fraternity and reputation of innocent priests to weed out the bad.

    Keep on doing what you are doing, just as I support Sylvia in her efforts. We will ultimately succeed in changing the culture that has permitted these predators to hunt and maim under the secrecy that is naturally part of our vocations as clergy. If I did not believe this, I would quit the priesthood and find some other forum to minister.

    Fr. Tim

  33. Sylvia says:

    I understand your sentiments prima facie/James. You, I and all those who have followed the unfolding of these sex abuse scandals over the years know well that there is all too often, if not invariably, a high price to be paid for exposing sex abuse and/or cover-up.

    The Pembroke Priests opted for the only route they felt available. Do their actions reflect negatively on their fellow priests? I don’t think so. Try as I might I can not see how their actions would give a bad name to any priest in the diocese. In fact, to the contrary. I would think that those clergy who want the Church to be purged would be thankful that some of their own have taken a stand, albeit anonymously.

    Father Tim thinks otherwise.

    Do other Pembroke clergy share Father Tim’s opinion? I don’t know. We haven’t heard from them.

    Are other Pembroke clergy quietly backing the group? Again, we haven’t heard from others. However I think common sense says that those who back the group would without doubt do so silently ….and, as with the Pembroke Priests, hoping to retain their anonymity.

    I think Father Tim’s trouble lies with the fact that allegations have been made that two former bishops of the Pembroke Diocese had knowledge of sex abuse allegations against Father Robert Borne and that both failed to act. However, as we have seen in the past, that does not seem to be viewed as illegal. Has any priest or bishop in the Catholic Church in Canada been charged for failing to act on such knowledge? I know of none. That doesn’t say it hasn’t happened, but I personally know of no such case.

    That raises another thought: Is there any difference in a bishop knowing that a priest is a molester and doing nothing, and a bishop recycling a convicted or known molester into another parish, or hospital or wherever?

    I personally see little if any. In both instances children are wilfully left and/or placed at risk. Perhaps in the latter instance the molester priest has been trotted off to a “treatment” centre.” That’s it.

    What am I saying here? I’m not sure. I am thinking aloud.

    I suppose I am questioning the concerns about the allegations of cover-up levelled at the two Archbishops, both former bishops of Pembroke.

    Still, the question is, what is to be done by clergy who have knowledge of cover-up within their diocese or order? To whom do they take their concerns? If the bishop turns a deaf ear and blind eye, to whom do they turn? If they turn to the Vatican, and the Vatican in turn fails to act, where do they go and what do they do?

    Do they go to police? Unless cover-up is viewed as a prosecutable crime, to what end?

    Is it a prosecutable crime? If yes, does anyone know what section of the Criminal Code of Canada is applicable?

    Father Tim, it is so very true that these are incredibly painful issues. You say however that: “It is not acceptable to damage or destroy the fraternity and reputation of innocent priests to weed out the bad.” I don’t understand. How does that apply to the action taken by Pembroke Priest for Justice?

  34. Sylvia: You has misunderstood me. I am not saying that the letter reflects badly on the other priests of the Diocese. I am saying that the anonymous means used will result in a breakdown in trust among the priests. That is most definitely a BAD thing from the perspective of one who works as a priest in this diocese.

    I hope this answers your question. Let me make this perfectly clear: I have twice gone to the Police with allegations of sexual abuse by brother priests. I would do so again without hesitation if I receive another victim’s allegation. I have never said, nor will I say that silence is the way to deal with these scandals. The only thing that will work is bringing the light of truth into these dark corners. I only question the means of an anonymous letter.


    Fr. Tim

  35. Lina says:

    Sylvia said:
    “Father Tim, it is so very true that these are incredibly painful issues. You say however that: “It is not acceptable to damage or destroy the fraternity and reputation of innocent priests to weed out the bad.” I don’t understand. How does that apply to the action taken by Pembroke Priest for Justice?”

    A very good question to ask Sylvia. I also would like to know what Father Tim Moyle means by that statement?


  36. prima facie says:

    Thank-you for your reply Fr. Tim. I respect your decision to reply.
    I pray that people like you and Sylvia can continue to engage one another in this public forum. I see both of you as having very important information, questions and concerns.

    (I certainly do not have to go on with my personal assertions. A simple search under “prima facie” on Sylvia’s site, will shed light on my position.)

    But more importantly, hopefully, people like you Fr. Tim, Sylvia and others, will debate, challenge and question each other.
    This may just help to facilitate the perception with people like the “Pembroke Priests…”, that there are some of us who they can feel safe with.
    “Disclosure and breaking the silence” takes place in steps/stages……a process. If the “Pembroke Priests…” are genuine, then, based on my experiences, education, training, etc., “they” are definitely “testing the waters”. If “they-this initiative” is bogus…then I believe it is a very well informed, educated and experienced hoax.

    Depending on how “the message” is received, will dictate the “next move”. From my perspective, if “they” are genuine, “they” are right where they should be in “the process” of disclosure.

  37. Prima Facie: I wholeheartedly agree!

    Fr. Tim

  38. John says:

    Fr. Tim:

    I was going to call you and talk, but things seem to be out here in the open then I will use this forum. I am just getting in the house and catching up on the comments here.

    I cannot say that it hasn’t crossed my mind that this is some sort of a hoax, it would have to be one twisted mind to perpetrate it; but could it be? I have read and re-read the letters many times over the last few days and have come to the conclusion that it is not a hoax. The one line that gives the letters vaidity to me is the one sentence about the pension issue. That being the sentence that I asked you about Fr. Tim. To me, and only thinking out loud here too; Who would benefit from this information being thrown out there now? Who would have information, such as the pension issue, if it did not come from someone in the know?

    Fr. Tim, you seem to be quite candid in your responses and for that I give you credit. You say that you have twice reported to police the actions of fellow priests, and for that you have my utmost respect and believe me THAT is not easy for me to say. I do not know how easy or difficult that decision was for you to make, only you can answer that. I guess to put that in form as to ask a question and begin a debate I will put it this way………

    Could you please share the thinking process involved in making such a decision to report a fellow priest to police?

    Before going to police, did you make a report to your Bishop?

    What ramifications, if any came from making that report?

    John Mac Donald

  39. Cheryl Helena Thomson says:

    Sorry, ‘Father Tim,’ but – excuse me! I don’t see how, in the current climate of suspicion, there can possibly remain ANY TRUST WHATSOEVER BETWEEN PRIESTS. Therefore, a breakdown in trust among the priests would be impossible, since the prerequisite of trust itself cannot possibly exist. When you know you are in the midst of criminals covering for one another, and you have no idea who will be revealed next as a malicious sex offender, the setting is very much like one of those famous Agatha Christie murder mysteries. Have you ever seen “And Then There Were None”; “The Mousetrap”; “Ten Little Indians”? Just replace the setting with a local diocese… ANY local diocese.

    I am in St. John’s, Newfoundland; and if I knew who “Newfoundland Dog” was, contributing to these comments, we could theorize some evening over a cup of tea about the peculiar cast of characters in this fair city.

    Regarding your personal history, ‘Father Tim,’ I certain applaud your courage as a whistleblower. But I would ask you to frankly search your heart as to whether you would ever have been so forthright, if you knew for a fact that serious consequences would be the payback to you personally. Obviously, you enjoy some liberty in connection with your blog and in entering into discussions at this website. The “Pembroke Priests” are not so well-connected, it seems.

    Finally, it is all very impressive to proclaim, as you do, ‘Father Tim’ that: “We will ultimately succeed in changing the culture that has permitted these predators to hunt and maim under the secrecy that is naturally part of our vocations as clergy. If I did not believe this, I would quit the priesthood and find some other forum to minister.”

    I wonder if when you say “some other forum,” you mean some other denomination? Where does an ex-priest go? Into social work for the monolithic secular state? In good conscience, one would have to see any prospects for a viable career evaporate, while meekly going to live a life pleasing to God, in sacrifice and penance.

    But wait a minute. There is that phrase: “… the secrecy that is naturally part of our vocations as clergy.” That phrase needs to be qualified. For it can be strongly argued that the clergy per se, or any religious, have no right to secrecy whatsoever!

    In the Sacrament of Confession (oh yes, ‘Reconcilication’), every transgression of thought, word, and deed must be acknowledged and confessed to a spiritual director, if to no one else. Then, that spiritual director (priest/chaplain/bishop) is responsible under God for directing the individual to correct his or her conduct and to make restitution where possible.

    In today’s Church, this awe and veneration for the concept of “secrecy” is exactly the reason why there can be no real fraternity whatsoever among priests.

  40. Sylvia says:

    I was out for supper last evening –this is my first opportunity to respond to your response to me Father Tim (post #34).

    I see you evoked some thought provoking comments and stirred some stimulating discussion 🙂 I don’t want to step in the way to prevent you from answering those – there are excellent questions which warrant answers. However, I do want to reply to your reply.

    First, my apologies for my misunderstanding. And, along with others, I commend you for going to police. I also commend you for so willingly fielding questions.

    Now to your response…

    You answered my question Father, but I still don’t understand.

    You say the means used (anonymity) “will result in a breakdown in trust among priests.”

    I have tried all day to envisage how anonymity could result in such a breakdown in trust. I can’t get there Father.

    What difference does it make who sent the letter? It’s like anonymous tip lines. Do authorities who set up anonymous tip lines care who contacts them with a tip? No. They value the information received. Anonymous tip lines are set up because it is known that, for a variety of reasons, people with valid information often will not or can not come forward unless they are assured of their anonymity. Once tips are received the job at hand is to determine not who are the tipsters, but, is there validity to a tip?

    What of the tip-offs journalists often receive in brown paper envelopes? Is the information cast aside because the sender felt obliged to remain anonymous? Or is there an effort to verify the information?

    I have received such information many times over the years. Sometimes I have been able to verify, sometimes I have failed. Often I have wished that I knew who dispatched the information, but wished so only to allow me to ask follow-up questions. Sometimes another envelope actually arrived with pertinent follow up information, sometimes not.

    I am not a great fan of anonymity, but over the years I have reluctantly come to understand that at times it is essential.

    The more I think about it the more I believe that the initial response to ‘Pembroke Priests’ should not be on who dispatched the letter, but rather, is there validity to the allegations, and, how do we go about finding out?’

    That leads me ask if you believe it is the anonymity of the ‘Pembroke Priests’ in and of itself which “will result in a breakdown of trust among priests,” or, is it the substance of the allegations contained in their letter?

    If it is the latter, then perhaps I can understand – I can understand it if I think in terms of other priests believing that the Pembroke Priests are making false accusations against two former bishops. And I can understand that if such were the case the question which would inevitably arise in the minds of those priests (the priests who do not know the identity of the Pembroke Priests) would be ‘which of my fellow priests is casting aspersions on two former bishops?’ In that scenario – if a number of priests feel strongly that the allegations are false – I can readily understand a potential breakdown in trust.

    In that instance it would be the substance of the allegations which first evoke a response, and that in turn would raise suspicions as to which priests would cast such aspersions on the two former bishops.

    I have been able to reach that level of understanding. I still can not for the life of me see how the anonymity of the priests apart from the contents of their letter will result in a breakdown in trust amongst other priests. I am not being rude, Father. I am trying to understand your point of view. What is it that I can’t see? Or what have I got backwards?

  41. Sylvia says:

    Here’s the question Father Tim: If an anyomous group of priests sent an email extolling the virtues of two former bishops would the anonymous means used “result in a breakdown in trust among priests” ?

  42. John: In answer to your question: Yes, I did first go to my Bishop. Although it was my intention to also go the police immediately with the allegations, Bishop Smith encouraged, and in fact told me to go with his blessings and to report back to him when I did.

    As Sylvia knows, the Police not only did nothing, they questioned my motives in reporting to them someone they considered to be ‘mentally ill’. The specific response was “What do you have against Fr. X?” The further stated that they were aware of him and that “he was not a danger to anyone”. This was in spite of the fact that I had in my possession a letter that he had written to a young lad in my parish at that time inviting him to visit him at his cottage where he promised certain ‘delights’ for the young lad. (The police force was the Sureté du Quebec located in Pontiac County.) The priest was immediately suspended by Bishop Smith and a fax was sent out to all the priests of the Diocese telling us not to permit him to replace or work in any of our parishes.

    This is the same priest who caused Sylvia much grief with spurious legal suits when she made public the allegations.

    Thankfully (from the perspective of future victims) this priest died suddenly and the entire matter was dropped.

    Was it hard to go to the Police? No. My former occupation before becoming a priest was as a Children’s Aid Protection Worker in Renfrew County. I have no sympathy for abusers as I have seen first hand the consequences of their evil, written in the lives of devastated and damaged kids. If the need arose, I would do it again in a heart beat. In fact, the law states that I must report (within 24 hours) any allegation of child abuse.

    In the second case (which actually predates the one mentioned above), I went to the Police and the Children’s Aid, but because the victim was unwilling to come forward and make a ‘first hand’ report, the law (at that time) meant that these authorities could not proceed, other than to note the name of the perpetrator and do their best to catch him. Thankfully the law is now changed.

    I hope this answers your questions for you.

    Fr. Tim

  43. Sylvia: Imagine that you worked in a large office with 40+ employees and someone posted an anonymous allegation against your boss. The note implies that more than one person stood behind the note. Would you not begin to question who it was? Would this not play to your particular personal impressions of others? (“X is a real bitch. She is trying to get us in trouble” or “Y is doing this to get back at X for not getting a promotion” etc.) I think you can see that it would poison the atmosphere in your place of work.

    Priests are no different. If someone throws an anonymous allegation at our boss, claiming to be one of us, it is going to set off a firestorm of speculation and recriminations amongst us. Some will question the wisdom of the act. Others will think it courageous. Priests will inevitably begin to fracture along clique lines with guys becoming wary of sharing information with each other for fear of being caught up in a mess. This is especially true if the person making the anonymous charges is not the actual priest who went to the Bishop with the initial allegations. Since we don’t know whose behind the letter, this is the state of affairs we now face as priests of the Pembroke Diocese.

    Again I state without equivocation: I have no sympathy for predators. If Bishops conspired in some way to facilitate abuse by enabling a predator by not taking steps against him, this is just as evil an offense (as I have written on my own blog quite a few times). I am simply challenging the means used by the letter we are discussing.

    Alas, I agree with John. It most likely is from a priest given the issue about our pensions potentially being threatened. I only wish that he/they would have had the courage to put their name behind their allegations so that we could be spared this turmoil amongst us. I have by my actions and by my statements been willing to put my name to my acts. The author(s) of the letter you have posted should have done the same.

    Fr. Tim

  44. Let me address the issue of the anonymous ‘tip line’ to explain why this is not relevant to this case.

    With a such a tip line, the allegation is made to the proper authorities without publicity. If I called ‘Crime Stoppers’ with a piece of information, this act remains confidential. It is not sent out to media outlets or published on the net as is the case with the letter in question. No one would know (aside from the authorities) about the allegation and it would be investigated without damaging innocent reputations or setting off the destructive process that I described in my post above.

    Fr. Tim

  45. Cheryl: Thank you for your thoughtful post. I would ask you to consider two assumptions that you have made.

    1. That the priests all knew about this and did nothing. I can assure you that, even in the Borne example, this is not the case.

    2. Further, I brought first allegation to the Police almost 20 years ago. I had only been ordained for three years and had no standing within the Diocese and I had no blog. I did it because it was the right thing to do and I didn’t then (or now) give a damn about the consequences. I know that I am not the most popular guy at priest gatherings and I really don’t care. This was and is of little consequence, especially when measured up against the horrific consequences for the victims of a pervert.

    If I can do what I did (and I am not exceptional in any way and am no better than anyone else who posts here!) with a clear conscience, then clearly I believe that the author(s) of the anonymous letter can do the same. Doing the ‘right thing’ isn’t hard if you know that it is indeed the proper way to proceed. I’m sure that this is the case with most people, be they priest or laypeople.

    All I want is for the author(s) of the letter to put their name behind their allegations. If what they say is truthful, then whatever consequences that follow as a result will be inconsequential.

    Hope this answers your questions. Thank you for allowing me to answer them for you.

    Fr. Tim

    P.S. One last point: I know the people in this Diocese who are/were responsible for these matters. They are excellent, moral and IMHO, they are as concerned as I am about protecting children. It is very hard for me to believe that they would conspire to keep things quiet. I admit that this was not always the case. The letter from Bishop Windle to the Vatican in the Prince case makes that clear. But everyone who was involved in administering the Diocese at that time is dead (excepting Borne – and he clearly is no longer benefiting from any influence he might have held). Priests like Fr. Peter Proulx or Bishop Mulhall have demonstrated that they will follow to the letter the policies laid down by the Conference of Bishops. Please do not think otherwise of these good men.

  46. prima facie says:

    I see this interaction on this site, as being very positive.
    As I have previously mentioned and outlined, I have a different “take” on the need for anonymity in the initial stages of disclosing…especially regarding issues of such significance. Furthermore, some of us are very aware of the “potential” negative consequences of disclosing in confidence to the so-called “appropriate” authorities, via the “perceived-traditional means”.
    Yes there are consequences attached to any “risk”.
    But, as I see it, anonymity attached to the disclosure alleged to have been made by the “Pembroke Priests…” is very appropriate here….for the time being.
    It does not take much “searching” to see what has happened to some “whistleblowers” in the past/present, who have attempted to do the right thing and follow the “standard or perceived standard protocol” when disclosing matters such as these.
    As I see it, “the perceived standard” is akin to handing a set of car-keys to a person, knowing that the brakes don’t work. The “Cornwall Public Inquiry” and other investigations, etc., etc., made it clear, up to the years 2000+, that no one, no institution, had any idea on how to manage any allegations…..of this nature.
    How can I trust “an industry” or “perceived standard for reporting”, so-to-speak, that has repeatedly displayed that “it” cannot be trusted….I mean, who is the “fool” here?
    A new and more non-traditional “means” to disclose was/is needed. In my opinion, the “Pembroke Priests…etc.” have taken the ONLY “effective means” to initiate “disclosure”, during this period in time.

  47. Reality Checker says:

    Prima Facie…you said it and said it well….

    “the “Pembroke Priests…etc.” have taken the ONLY “effective means” to initiate “disclosure”, during this period in time.”

    No offence Father Tim but I don’t agree with your logic at all…. It is the ONLY means of disclosure AT THE PRESENT TIME!!! Most of on this site know too well the consequences of WHISTLEBLOWING! Your statement
    “then whatever consequences that follow as a result will be inconsequential” shows your ignorance of WHAT is at stake for these brave priests. Is a dead priest – inconsequential???

  48. Reality & Prima: I appreciate that we have difference of opinion. I also appreciate that we are all desirous of the same thing: that victims be offered justice and offenders removed from the priesthood. So, even if we disagree on the tactics, we have no complaint as to the overall strategy needed to solve this horrible problem.

    Thank you for your thoughts. I’ve pretty well said everything I want to say on this topic and run the risk of repeating myself, so I’ll retire now from the conversation.

    Wishing you every good thing, I remain,

    With you in Prayer,

    Fr. Tim

  49. Lina says:

    prima facie and Reality Checker, both of you said it very well.

    I give, the Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity, credit because they are taking their time in a prayerfully way and yet, they are not willing to wait hundred of years for justice for these victims of clergy abuse in the Diocese of Pembroke.

    What the Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity, are NOT doing:

    They are NOT talking about celibacy should be optional for the priesthood.

    They are NOT talking about Woman’s ordination.

    They are NOT talking about using artificial birth control within a Roman Catholic couple’s marriage.

    They are talking about TWO of their former bosses, ”these two Bishops were fully aware of Monsignor Borne’s immoral and illegal behavior.”

    These Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity, want to do their part in the purification of the Catholic Church in this very Diocese of Pembroke ON. They want their accused brother priest not to get away with his crimes against the vulnerable youth(s) in this diocese.

    It is scary and nerve racking that this accused priest can get away with his alleged crimes but to his victims they are NOT alleged crimes they are REAL criminal acts that were perpetrated against them. If (that is a big if) these Pembroke priests can help in any way that would be so awesome for these victims! Also, for all victim supporters.

    The people of the Pembroke Diocese, (including me) do not know if these Priests will come forward?
    If they do, they may have in their possession very damaging EVIDENCE against these former Pembroke Diocese’s Bishops they spoke of? We just do not know for sure right now!

    These Pembroke Priests are taking this path and are carefully and prayerfully taking their time. I do no blame them to proceed with caution. These courageous priests are not only traveling on dangerous, risky territory but it is a very highly unusual and a trail blazing move.

    Furthermore, a very heroic decision move on their part.

    Good for them!

    God bless them.


  50. prima facie says:

    Yes. I think it is wonderful we can disagree and still interact. I guess it boils down to the same old problem of..”how to intervene and then, what to do.” The system is afraid to act….effectively.

    For any person alleged to have “acted inappropriately, illegally or failed to act” ie) “acts and/or acts of ommission”, or for an accused, I suggest the following.
    Example) During a period of time when I was “speaking out” about similar situations in Cornwall, Ontario, CANADA, I engaged a local newspaper editorialist “scribbler” in a discussion. This was during a time when he called my home about a “letter to the editor” his paper would not publish, but two others did. He called my home demaneded I get a “good lawyer”. (I still have the voicemail-1998 or thereabouts). He implied his newspaper would sue me. They didn’t. He asked me how I would feel if unproven allegations were published against me. He then said that my name had been mentioned when he and others were discussing “possible” people in the community who had access to young people and therewith the means to sexually abuse/exploit young people. MY REPLY WAS SIMPLE; Gor various reasons, I was “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” No bullshit! I demanded to know who was spreading this malicious rumour and what group of people. Furthermore, I stated that I would rent the local arena, publish a press release and entertain questions from the community, the press, etc., etc. In addition, I would hire former professors and instructors of mine from around North America, to provide an educational seminar relating specifically to “sexual abuse”-(recognizing signs-symptoms of abuse, closed-systems, education, prevention, intervention, accountability, responsibility, treatment, justice, offender consequences, healing, etc.
    In addition, I told the “newspaper guy” that I would say the catalyst for my action in providing the “forum” was because of what he said to me, because I believed he was actually trying to threaten me into silence and/or to stop me from helping those who could not or were too afraid to help themselves……..he quickly withdrew….providing some feeble-minded excuse that, “everyone in the community was mentioned”….REALLY.

    So, why don’t the “so-called” Bishops or Priests accused of “not acting in good faith” or otherwise, not do the same thing….THAT IS CERTAINLY HOW I WOULD DO IT and DO IT QUICKLY…simple folks! CLEAR THE AIR!!!

  51. Sylvia says:

    My comments and rambles on this thread

    (1) prima facia (#50) , I have sent emails to both Archbishops Richard Smith and Brendan O’Brien asking for their response to the allegations of Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity. The first to Archbishop O’Brien via the Kingston Archdiocese website email bounced. I have re-sent it to a different email address. So far so good.

    (2) Father Tim (#44) : You are right. I didn’t do a good job of thinking that one through. The tip line is only a good example in as much as it shows recognition of the need or desire of for tipsters to remain anonymous. But, true enough, the tips are not public.

    (3) Father Tim (#43) My response to such a note would first be to content. If the note praised the boss to no end I would probably laugh. If it alleged serious wrong-doing I think I would want to ask my boss in person if there is any validity to the allegations. That’s hypothetically speaking. And that’s what I think I would personally do.

    (4) Father Tim (#42) Yes, I am all too familiar with the saga surrounding Father Lorne Whalen. You certainly did what needed to be done in that situation, and the Quebec police did nothing. And Bishop Richard Smith suspended Father Whalen immediately.

    I don’t want to sidetrack into this, but you raised it and it is part and parcel of what has formed my opinions on these matters.

    I have some thoughts on this…

    After his ‘troubles’ in the military and elsewhere I don’t believe that Father Whalen should have been referred to as a “a priest in good standing” by the Diocese of Pembroke. He was. I believe Father Whalen’s priestly faculties in Pembroke should have been permanently revoked. They were not. I believe Father Whalen should have been laicized. He was not. I don’t believe Father Whalen should have ever been ordained. He was.

    So, you see Father, the suffering wrought by actions and/or inaction of bishops when it come to dealing with predatory priests extends far and wide. Had Bishop O’Brien followed suit of the military and revoked Father Whalen’s faculties there is a possibility that Whalen would not have been permitted to function as a priest in Ottawa.

    Had Archbishop Gervais refused to grant him faculties in the Archdiocese of Ottawa Father Whalen would never have shown up in my church to say Mass sporting an earring and saying he was “shipwrecked”- and I would not have been placed in the uncomfortable position of asking probing questions about this priest’s background, and a male parishioner would have been spared the scandal of a priest making a sexual overture toward him during the sign of peace.

    I could go on. In the end the bishops who protected and/or tolerated Father Whalen did him no favour, and they certainly did no favour to those of us who were unwittingly subjected to this tormented soul, nor did they help those who were subjected to Whalen’s sexual advances.

    That aside, it was known that Whalen had expressed an attraction to children. Why then was he allowed to function as a priest, in the Pembroke diocese, or elsewhere?

    Father Whalen is dead. May God have mercy on his soul. But what, I ask, did any bishop do to spare the faithful any harm which he might perpetrate? And what, I ask, did any bishop do to help him save his own immortal soul?

    I know you don’t have answers to those questions Father, but this is where I am at as a layman. My dealings with Father Whalen and knowledge of how various bishops dealt with him are now, along with a host of other stories – both personal and other – integral to my views of what bishops may do or fail to do when dealing with a predatory priest, real or “alleged.”

    I am no longer shocked when I hear that a bishop failed to act and ‘do the right thing.’ I am not shocked when I hear that a bishop may have left children at risk. I am no longer shocked to learn that a priest in a sanctuary was previously charged and convicted. Angered? Yes. Upset? Yes. Disillusioned? Sometimes. But, shocked? Those days are long gone.

    I believe that integral to purging the Church of sexual predators is the need to purge her of Bishops who tolerate them.

    How to do it? There is no road map. I may be wrong, but I think Pembroke Priests for Justice is struggling to find a way.

    If the allegations related to outright criminal activity then it would be easy: go to the police.

    That brings me back to a question I raised before: is it criminal? If it is, there’s the solution.

  52. Sylvia: First reaction response? Bishop O’Brien was absent from the Diocese a great deal of the time after the first few years of his reign as Ordinary. The practical day-to-day administration of the Diocese was tended to by Msgr. M.J. Barry (RIP). Msgr Barry was VERY MUCH formed in the old school ways of the Church. Remember that in the 60’s-80’s, ‘protecting the Church from scandal’ and a distorted view of justice, offending priests were moved around, dried out or sent off for treatment when required and told to ‘behave in a manner befitting their Holy Orders’. It is very likely that Bishop O’Brien would not have had any direct, first hand or up to date information. I appreciate that this is no defense of the way Whalen was handled, but as one who lived at the Cathedral with Bishop O’Brien, I would honestly find it hard to believe that he would have knowingly allowed the situation to unfold as it did if he had been aware. My first hand experience has taught me that he is far too sincere and holy a priest to have acted in such a cavalier way. Remember as well that Msgr. Barry ‘protected’ Whalen’s reputation by telling the priests that he was suffering from a back ailment, followed by a dependency on pain medication. One had to have reason to come into contact with him (as I unfortunately did when I was transferred to Allumettes Island) to realize that he was a psychiatric case.

    Just my opinion. I do point out as well that Bishop Smith did suspend Whalen and ensured that the police were notified of the allegations I had received. I cannot understand how one can act with such concern for policy and justice and then not do the same if he was aware of Borne’s alleged activities. Again my own experience of the man leads me to believe that he responded appropriately in the second case as he did in the first.

    I guess I am offended by the fact that these two men whom I lived and served with are facing such an unsubstantiated insult to their good names – all by someone(s) who have not had the courage of their convictions to put their name(s) behind their allegations.

    You know that I called out my current Bishop in the local media, chastising him for his silence in the face of their publication of an editorial calling for the legalization of euthanasia. He was NOT amused. My letter was not without consequences, but I continue happily apace as a pastor in the Diocese despite any difficulties I may have encountered.

    Bishops are not gods. Nor are they all powerful as they are so often portrayed in medieval movies. They are men. Holy, good, well intentioned men. Fallible and imperfect in judgment as is all of humanity. They cannot and would not ‘crush’ a priest simply because the expressed an opinion (not on doctrine or dogma) but on the issues of justices and truth that is different from theirs.

    Again, it’s just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure that I am right.

    If they wanted to step out into the light, they are quite free to do so. I’m living proof that doing so in my Diocese is not fatal!

    I have hope. I pray that the day will come when your heart will beat with the same. You have taken a difficult ministry. I trust you know that you are always remembered in prayer.

    Thanks for the conversation.

    Fr. Tim

  53. Sylvia says:

    I don’t want to get into a squabble on the whole Father Lorne Whalen business Father. My last word on this is that Bishop O’Brien knew. Believe me, he knew about Father Whalen.

    Here is a sample of what Bishop O’Brien knew:’Brien-regarding-a-complaint-filed-against-Father-Lorne-Whalen-in-the-Toronto-Archdioces-–-withdrawing-Whalen’s-faculties-in-Toronto.pdf

    If he didn’t at the very least read the following letter copied to him from Brigadier General Roger Bazin to update on Whalen’s troubles in the military, the above show that he was certainly familiar with Whalen’s troubles in Toronto.

    That’s it. We will agree to differ on this. And please do keep my in your prayers. I need and appreciate them.

  54. K. Brookes says:

    My problem with the publication of the anonymous e-mail is it contains allegations, where is the proof?

    I could write an anonymous letter and accuse anyone I want of something, that doesn't make it true.

    If these letters were not anonymous they might hold some weight for me; that they are accusations made by actual people willing to defend there accusations.

    How can we question the validity of the accusations when we really don't know who they are from, what supporting proof is there to the allegations?

    To be completely honest Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity could be anyone. How do you even know them to be who they say they are if they are hiding behind anonymity?

  55. Lina says:


    I agree with you Sylvia that Bishop Brendan O’Brien knew about Father Lorne Whalen. Those links you posted were very informative.

    As for those folks who keep saying:

    ‘Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth & Integrity could be anyone. How do you even know it is true what these priests are saying? They are hiding behind anonymity?

    That is true but what is also true:

    You people already been told that in due time if needed one will eventually speak out. As for now these brave priests are proceeding with caution.

    Furthermore, what’s YOUR hurry? Maybe you just can’t wait to know these priests identity or names so you can harass and maybe put on them some good old fashioned Catholic guilt on them? I am questioning YOUR motives!

    Sylvia, keep up the good work you do. Do not let anyone EVEN a clergy influence you or deter you from your path to ask questions and seek justice for ANY victims.

    There is no way a priest can follow constantly a bishop like a ‘Bishop Brendan O’Brien’ or a ‘Bishop Richard Smith’ around twenty-four seven. Only God does.

    I pray for all people. I say a special pray for you Sylvia, that YOU DO take some time off for yourself so you don’t burn out.



  56. K. Brookes says:

    “Furthermore, what’s YOUR hurry? Maybe you just can’t wait to know these priests identity or names so you can harass and maybe put on them some good old fashioned Catholic guilt on them? I am questioning YOUR motives!”

    Personally I couldn’t care less who they are, I am just saying if someone wrote an anonymous letter saying something awful about you, should you not have the chance to prove the anonymous person even exists? I could send out an e-mail saying you are a thief, does that make it true? Should you not have a chance to defend yourself? Would you not ask what proof do you have?

    I see accusations in the e-mails, what proof is there?

  57. Lina says:

    K. Brookes said:
    “Personally I couldn’t care less who they are,I am just saying if someone wrote an anonymous letter saying something awful about you, should you not have the chance to prove the anonymous person even exists?”

    The reality is, this is a very specific ground breaking case in the Pembroke Diocese we are talking about.

    I sometimes watch TV programs like: CSI New York & Law & Order (Criminal Intent). These cases are solve in 1 hour. This does not happened in real life. It takes time. That is what I’m trying to say.

    Let’s pretend someone wrote an anonymous letter about me and what they said is NOT true. I would probably have a very good cry. After calming myself down and doing a lot of praying for insight. I would ask myself why a person would do such an evil thing to me. I know I am not guilty in what they are saying about me. How can I clear my name?
    In my heart I know I did no wrong and God knows it. I may need to learn to live with all those whispers that folks are saying behind my back or even to my face.

    I will eventually come to realize that the person or persons doing this to me may be in denial about something and cannot face the prospect of the TRUTH to be reveal about them to the outside world. In other words, that person saying bad things about me is hiding something deep inside and may know something awful THEY did or somebody ELSE did and is using me as a deflection. Sadly, I have no control in what they are supposing to be saying about me.

    On the other hand, if a person wrote an anonymous letter about me and what they wrote IS somewhat true. I would try my best to pray hard to see how I can do some damage control here and it would be a good plan to get myself a lawyer to help me get out of this big mess I got myself into. After all, I had only good intentions to protect the image of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and especially my brother priests.

    EVEN better yet, I would as soon as possible, admit to my part in the wrong doing of those criminal acts I did or I knew about and accept FULL responsibility for my actions.

    Furthermore, I would accept whatever sentence the court system would decide for me that fits the crimes I did even if that means PRISON!

    If only the latter would happened but I know we do not live in a perfect world!


  58. Tim says:

    Sylvia, please contact me by phone Wed at 10:a.m Tim

  59. Sylvia says:

    Send me your phone number Tim. Send to this email address:

  60. Sylvia says:

    K Brookes
    To date Archsbishops Brendan O’Brien and Richard Smith have chosen not to comment on the allegations. Should either respond I will certainly post their response.

  61. Larry Green says:

    With regard to the letter by the self proclaimed anonymous priest.
    It seems to me that the author’s intent to expose the two former bishop’s despicable culpability sprung from less aluistic motives than the purported principles of “truth, justice and integrity.” While it is usually better to do the right thing for the wrong reason, we ought to reserve the bestowment of virtuous honor to those who without hesitation place the principles of truth and justice as the end , not the means by which they act.

  62. Larry Green says:

    better to do the right thing for the wrong reason than to do nothing at all.

  63. Sylvia says:

    Well said Larry Green: “better to do the right thing for the wrong reason than to do nothing at all.”

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