Catch-up

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Files and books are now in order and my “office” area is taking shape.  Time for catch-up on the site:

(1) Gabriel Del Bianco

Those who check the legal calendar will have noticed that the three-day preliminary hearing for ex-priest-turned-counsellor Gabriel Del Bianco started yesterday at the Sarnia, Ontario courthouse.

Preliminary hearings virtually always have a publication on all evidence and testimony so we won’t be hearing any reports of what happens.  After all evidence and testimony has been heard the judge will make a ruling as to whether he/she believes there is sufficient evidence to go to trial.

Some if not all complainants will be called to testify.  They will be subjected to cross-examination by Del Bianco’s lawyer.  It is very much like going to trial.  Please keep all the complainants in your prayers.

(2) Father Charles Picot

Bad news here.  The Supreme Court of Canada upheld convicted molester Father Charles Picot’s acquittal on the Michael Jensen charges:

19 October 2012: R. v. Picot – Supreme Court of Canada Decision – Acquittal by New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench upheld

As I blogged earlier. this decision rests on whether or not the trial judge believed that, contrary to the law of the land, he needed corroboration to convict.

I encourage you to read the dissenting opinion of Justice Richard – scroll down to page 37 of the document. Do you think Justice Richard did want corroboration?  No matter, it’s over.   There is nowhere to go to appeal.  Father Picot got off on this one.  At what cost to the faithful Catholics of the Bathurst Diocese I wonder?

Michael, my thoughts and prayers are with you.  I am sure this came as a terrible shock.

(3)  Father Joe LeClair

I mentioned before that I would give an update on what is happening at Ottawa’s Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church.  Blessed Sacrament is Father Joe LeClair‘s former parish. Here it is…

Father LeClair had a  court-date on 17 October 2012 .  That was all over in the twinkle of an eye.  Father LeClair was not there.  The next court-date is set for 21 November 2012:  08:30 am, courtroom #5  Ottawa, Ontario courthouse (161 Elgin St.).

Two Blessed Sacrament parishioners and supporters of Father LeClair were in the courthouse to follow proceedings.

Conrad Rock, the Sacristan at the 4:30 Saturday Masses at Blessed Sacrament came to the hearing prepared to be a witness and answer any questions which might be asked.

He said he has a question himself, specifically, “How come someone or some people were able to break into his office, steal his VISA statement and give it to the press? Nothing has ever been said …about this in the press.  ”  He believes that a lot of questions would be answered if it could be determined who took the statements.

Asked if it is possible that the statements were taken from the garbage outside Rock replied that he doesn’t know.  He explained that he stands to be corrected, but what he has heard is the statements were taken from inside. He adds that whoever did it must “have a great vengeance” against Father Joe.

According to Mr. Rock, since the charges were laid, Mass attendance at Blessed Sacrament has plummeted.  While Father Joe was there the church was packed.  Now, according to Rock, there are maybe 50 or 75 people in attendance at the 4:30 Saturday Mass. He says attendance at the Sunday Masses is down too, as is the Sunday collection.  He fears the parish can not survive on the Sunday collection: “Right now we cannot survive on the Sunday collections.”

People are “stunned, hurt – can’t believe what’s going on,” and waiting to see”whether or not Father Joe is guilty or not guilty” said Rock.

Also sorely impacted by these charges, according to Rock,  is the number of volunteers at the church.  Mr. Rock said that there were more than 700 volunteers at Blessed Sacrament while Father Joe was there;  that number is now reduced by about 50%.

And, yes, he did say the number volunteers was more than 700 and repeated that number more than once.

Conrad Rock’s high regard for Father LeClair would not be changed even if Father LeClair is found guilty because,  he explains:  ” Don’t forget, before he was ordained a priest he was born a man.  He was not born a priest.”

With Mr. Rock was Michael Rowan.  Mr. Rowan is also a Blessed Sacrament parishioner and supporter of Father LeClair.

Mr. Rowan said that Father LeCalir is a “good man” who is “terribly missed.”

“I have had the opportunity this summer to attend Mass at different parishes throughout the diocese …out in the country even,” said Rowan, ” and people are offended as to what has happened and how it was handled by the diocese itself, from the top down. It’s just an unfair situation.”

He continued: “This person, who is a good person, has been held up, and, in the true sense as a Christian, he has suffered a lot.  I can only wish him the best in the future.  …. some people in the parish are very emotionally upset by this….There’s a lot of negativity in society today.   There’s a lot of angry people.  There’s a lot of people hurt. This person [Father Joe] was a light at the end of the tunnel for some people. I feel for them.”

Mr. Rowan is not very happy with me and the fact that Father Joe LeClair’s name is on Sylvia’s Site 🙁

(3) Father Mark Sullivan

I have posted the transcript from Father Mark Sullivan’s 134 August 2012 court date:

13 August 2012: R v. Mark Sullivan – Ontario Court of Justice

I had hoped there would be reference to the proposed guilty plea which I was told was on the docket at one time, but the only reference is to a plea bargain whereby charges would be withdrawn and in exchange Father Sullivan would enter into a peace bond.

There is, however a fair bit of information about the nature of the allegations against Father Sullivan.  Since I knew nothing of that I was happy to get an idea of what this was all about in the first place.

Note that, according to Father Sullivan’s lawyer (Renwick),  this physical altercation of Father Sullivan with the child during confession was due to a “theological difference of opinion on the role of women in the Church”!!!!

(4) Father William Hodgson Marshall

Victims of Father William Hodgson Marshall and victims of other clergy of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie held a press conference asking that Fathers Bernard Cloutier, Donald Holmes, William Hodgson “Hod” Marshall, Thomas O’Dell, Gerald Roy and John E. Sullivan be defrocked

19 October 2012: Defrock bad priests: Sex abuse victims

19 October 2012: Victims calling for more support from Catholic Church 

Well done all of you.  Yes, indeed, these wolves in sheep’s clothing do not belong in the priesthood and should/must be defrocked.

Note Vicar General Bob Bourgon’s statement that if these clerical molesters were defrocked there would be no way of monitoring them and trying to prevent further criminal activity.  That’s slowly becoming the old chestnut when there is a demand anywhere in the world for defrocking.

Nonsense.  If Church officials feel they must now monitor these men, fine – defrock them and then monitor them.

(5)  Father Philip Jacobs

There was a second voire dire (trial within a trial) – the judge will rule on that 13 November 2012.  There probably will be no new trial date set until after this ruling.

I made note that elsewhere that, according to Mr. Bruce Lemire-Elmore Father Jacobs lived in his home and not in the cabin, and that for only a few weeks after Father Jacobs was charged. I do have contacts who have seen Father Jacobs on the property since then.  I have asked Mr. Lemire-Elmore if in those instances Father Jacobs was visiting.  I am awaiting a reply.

Also, according to Mr. Lemire-Elmore the log bearing the carving “Bruce + Louise + Phil” was carved by a resident of the cabin two years before Father Jacobs was arrested.  The man’s name was Phil.  He has since moved out of the cabin and closer to Victoria.

I apologize for the confusion on this, and apologize to Mr.Lemire-Elmore for mistakenly reporting that Father Jacobs has been living in the cabin for the past two years.  According to Mr. Lemire-Elmore, Father Jacobs is not living in the cabin – the cabin is currently occupied, but NOT by Father Jacobs.

*****

Please let me know if you try to post a comment and find the comment section closed.  All postings and pages should be open to comments.  Sometimes, for unknown reasons, a page or post closes the comments.  I can easily reset, but I need to know that it needs to be reset, and also need to know which page or post is affected.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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2 Responses to Catch-up

  1. Bob says:

    * The story at Blessed Sacrament is a lot more complicated than Mr. Rock portrays it as. There is no question attendance is down, but I don’t think it is as simple as “Fr. Joe has been charged so I’m not going to church.”

    A few months after the Companions of the Cross took over the parish, Blessed Sacrament turned over its next pastor, Fr. Randy Hendriks – who at first went on sabbatical, and then decided he couldn’t maintain his position. He had put a lot of effort into sustaining the large number of volunteers and persuading them to stay on, so this second blow of losing him too was pretty devastating.

    Frankly, I think it was the one-two punch, and not the Fr. Joe thing alone, that really socked the parish in the gut. 

    I am not sure I would ever have put the volunteers at 700 people, but at one time there were certainly about 400 volunteers. There was no other parish like it in its heyday. Fr. Randy retained a lot of those people, not all of them of course – but certainly a large number. Those numbers are probably down, but the volunteer situation is not as bad as the people in pews situation, particularly because a parish often does better on dedicated core volunteers, than huge throngs milling about. 

    I don’t think there is much fear of the parish closing. It is still reasonably well attended, and the Companions are not going to give up the prized church where Fr. Bob Bedard was ordained. Weddings are still plentiful. The other Masses are not as poorly attended, and I’m not sure Saturday is even quite as bad as Mr. Rock portrays it, for that matter. We’ve seen better days, but there are also better days ahead, I’m sure. The parish celebrates 100 years in the spring, and that is not nothing.

  2. northern promotion says:

    Bob: Thank you for the courtesy of your thoughtful update. You describe a difficult situation where – thank God –  challenges are clearly  met and resiliance has been found. Good for you!

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