Change merely for the sake of change?

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Side-tracked …

What is going on in the Nova Scotia legislature regarding the the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth and its “reorganization? (The Halifax-Yarmouth Diocese is a 2009 merger of the Archdiocese Halifax and the Diocese of Yarmouth).

There is currently legislation in the NS legislature (Bill 30) which, if passed, would  impact the manner in which the archdiocese handles its assets.   Please take a look at the following

24 October 2017: John McKiggan submission re Archdiocese Halifax Yarmouth reorganization 

October 2017:  Articles and documents regarding the reorganization of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

05 October 2017:  Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth Act

As I understand it the Bill was a private members bill introduced by Liberal MLA, the Honourable Lena Metlege Diab.  I know nothing of Diab’s background aside what I posted at the foot of  Articles and documents regarding the reorganization of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

As you see, lawyer John McKiggan has concerns regarding the legislation:

“I would suggest the only reason for this proposed change to legislation that has existed for over 100 years is to make it more difficult for survivors of priest sexual abuse to be able to receive just and fair compensation for their injuries.”

“I’m a lawyer. I’m naturally suspicious….I’ve sued this diocese many times. I’ve sued other diocese many times. It is a very sad fact that time after time we have seen that persons in authority within the church have sought to protect the institution, the reputation of the institution, rather than protecting children in the parishes in the diocese.”

In response to McKiggan’s comments, Deacon Bob Britton, Chancellor for the archdiocese, had this to say:

“Every bloody lawyer who I’ve ever talked to in this matter says no. … The courts have said no. Do you want me to say no again? It does not shelter in any way, shape, or form, anything!”

Sounds like the Deacon/Chancellor was pretty angry?  No?  If so, why?

What the heck is going on?  I truly have no idea, but I admit that I have a queasy feel about it all.  Why the change?  Surely not change for the sake of change?  Really?!

Enough for now,


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5 Responses to Change merely for the sake of change?

  1. Sylvia says:

    Thanks Matt.

    The bill is shelved, so that thankfully that gives all pause to reflect:

    25 October 2017: Halifax-Yarmouth Archdiocese official says finance bill shelved by legislature is no attempt to hide assets .

    I have posted the link you posted:

    2017: Reorganizing ourselves for Mission .

    And have also posted the following, which is linked to the above:

    2017: Archdiocese of Halifax Yarmouth: Overview: An Act Respecting the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Corporation of Halifax-Yarmouth and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth.

    I truly do not understand what the plan is here. This is a total reorganization of the manner in which archdioceses/dioceses have functioned for eons.

    Are there plans for this in other dioceses in Canada? I have no idea, but, my guess is there are probably plans afoot.


    You say its reasonable Mark, explain it to me please so that I can understand why the board of stewards and so on.

    And, a question: Would this then make a parish legally responsible if, for example, their parish priest is sued?

  2. Matt says:

    The intended effect of the bill is to make parishes responsible for their finances so they have some agency in whether or not they stay open, instead of the archdiocese propping up dying parishes that take up money and resources that could be better put toward mission. It’s definitely completely different from the way things have been done, but it’s in the hope that Christ’s mission can truly be fulfilled in the region.

    My understanding is that the diocese is still on the hook for any actions of its personnel (like priests), and they would be fully liable for any legal action in the event of wrongdoings.

    • Sylvia says:

      My experience with parish closures throughout Canada and in corners of the USA over the past 20 + years has been that in most instances rather than “propping up dying parishes” bishops have been shutting them down, and that has included parishes which were solvent.

      Yes, Mark, you are correct: what seems to be proposed is indeed “completely different” from the way things have been done. I have been doing a bit of reading on the temporal affairs of the Church and admit I am lost. It is complicated.

      You say that your understanding is that the diocese is still on the hook for nay actions of its personnel. I would like to see something more concrete than your opinion. I have seen nothing which assures me that this is either true or false.

      You also say that the monies used to, as you say, prop up dying parishes, choud better be sued toward “mission.”

      Honestly Matt, I am still waiting for the day that dioceses in Canada try to reach out to the thousands upon thousands of ‘fallen away’ Roman Catholics who will no longer set foot inside the door of a church because they are either sex abuse victims, family and friends of a victim, or Catholics who are fed up with coverups. That, I believe, would be a wonderful and vital mission – can you imagine? Archbishops, and bishops seeking out those lost sheep. And seeking them out not to spare themselves further damages in a court of law, and not because they were ordered to do so by the courts, but because they truly care about the salvation of the souls. I don’t think that would cost a lot of dollars – just time, compassion and heart for the salvation of souls.

  3. BC says:

    I wanted to give Google’s systems time to archive your apology for the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth having no plan to handle clerical abuse in the future before I responded.
    Your understanding is uninformed from a Canadian / Nova Scotian torts perspective. In Canada as well as in Nova Scotia who pays whom and how it’s done matters in a torts test for vicarious liability. This proposed legislation’s main effect would be to transfer civil liability for negligent priests from the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth to parishes and/or other entities. The Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth simply isn’t willing to spend it’s own wealth on clerical abuse victims. And it is nice to hear, for once, an Archdiocese, in this instance; Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth; make it cristal clear that it’s not really willing to be responsible for pervert priests. The old: we’re committed to creating safe environments…and we care about victims etc. bullshit is getting tired… So kudos to the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth for being straight forward about their not giving a dam about pervert priests. Ya’ll hear the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth say:- we are here for the poor; but not them poor bastards and poor bitches who dared accuse some of us of fondling their tits, jerking them off and sodomizing their tight little asses.

    As for your defense of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, well, keep ’em coming. Google archives it all and for every post which supports clerical irresponsibility
    on this blog one hundred more are outraged at the Church and it’s utter contempt for vulnerable persons.

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