I’m getting a Father Mark Buckley page together – taking longer than I had anticipated. I know, I always say that 🙁 I’ll just never learn! But, going back 17 years searching out files does have its difficulties – I think at least five new computers in the interim!
Anyway, I’ll do a little more and then post it, with every intent to add more info at a further date. Once that is done I will get back to the Fathers Gaetan Deschamps and Bernie Cameron pages and blogs. And, once it is posted publicly I will let you know 🙂
Sentencing for convicted sexual predator Father Denis Vaillancourt is tomorrow:
10 November 2017: 09:00 am, sentencing, courtroom #6, Cornwall Ontario courthouse (29 Second St. W.)
Please keep the victim and his family in your prayers
Enough for now,
I’ve followed this site on and off for years now. Without trying to sound too dramatic, I believe the task of documenting the truth of sexual abuse in the midst of Christ’s Church truly is God’s work. Christ promised that his Church would withstand even the “gates of Hades” (Matthew 16:18), so I believe that it will surivive even pedophile priests and incompetent bishops. But my goodness… Bless you for doing this thankless work.
I read your article about Father Mark Buckley. It may be cliched to say truth is stranger than fiction, but I can’t think of any other way to describe my reaction. I’m sorry to speak ill of the dead, but I’m entirely unsurprised by the late Bishop Doyle’s seeming determination to cover up Buckley’s crimes and obviate their consequences. This was, regrettably, entirely characteristic of his governance (mismanagement would perhaps be a better word) of the Peterborough Diocese. I encountered (unknown to me at the time) at least one recycled pedophile priest (previously convicted) while visiting my then-girlfriend’s (now my wife of twelve years) family and attending Mass at their parish. My in-laws are devout Catholics: heavily involved in the parish and very conservative (theologically and politically). I am absolutely certain that SOMETHING happened to my now brother-in-law, who was 16-18 during the period when said pedophile was serving in their parish (nobody was told of his background).
My brother-in-law was invited to the church and the rectory with increasing frequency, ostensibly to perform (paid) repair and maintenance jobs. He absolutely idolized the Pastor (who came accross as very doctrinally conservative and strict, which appealed to my in-laws — he preached endlessly against the evils of everything from shopping on Sunday to reading Harry Potter to euthanasia and abortion). In the case of abortion, it wasn’t that he was wrong, of course, more that he was obsessive about it, brought it up in almost every homily, and it was strange, because the parish was made up mostly of elderly, conservative, country people who were already onside with the pro-life movement. It was the very definition of preaching to the choir. Anyway, at some point, my Brother-in-Law stopped going to the rectory and refused to discuss why. He was contacted by someone from the Bishop’s office to give a statement (he had turned 18 by that time) but never revealed to the family what it was about. To this day, he refuses to even mention the subject. The priest announced unceremoniously a couple of weeks later that his “nerves were shot” and that he was going on stress leave of some type. He was spirited out of the parish and later the province and was never heard from again. Thanks a lot, Bishop Doyle.
I am a convert to Catholicism. I love and live my faith, and am a committed parishioner. But I have never been able to get my head around the persistence of clericalism and the way so many fellow Catholics still insist on venerating the priests. You know the type, and there are a lot of them in the pews. They think Father’s jokes are ten times funnier than if a lay person had told them. If Father can carry a tune, they oooh and aaah over his beautiful singing voice. If Father comes for dinner, they act as though they were entertaining royalty. If Father does something any normal human being would do, like eat a hamburger or drink a Diet Coke, they think it’s simply wonderful and comment on how marvellous it is that Father is so down-to-earth and how fortunate it is for the parish to have him. They will believe Father over a lay person on any subject, even if the lay person has more expertise in the matter than Father who is speaking off the cuff. I deal with this one with my in-laws. I will show something in the Catechism or in Canon Law to demonstrate that I know what I’m talking about and they will shrug it off and say, “We’ll ask Father…” or “Well, Father says…” When Father gets transferred out of the parish, they bawl their eyes out as though mourning the death of a family member.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve had several priests who were good friends over the years, but the ones I’ve always liked have been the hard-working, humble, “call me Mike” variety. But I don’t know what to make of the neurotic, narcissistic ones (many JPII priests fall into this category) whose theology is slightly to the right of Cardinal Burke’s despite their relative youth, who thrive on people’s praise and adulation of them, who wear designer cassocks that would not look out of place in 1899, who refer to themselves in the third person (“Father will now prostrate himself before the Altar”).
I have to shake my head at those Catholics who, in any other context, are law-and-order types and are totally in favour of harsher punishments (mandatory minimum sentences, no parole, some wouldn’t be opposed if Canada brought back hanging), broad, unrestricted police powers, and so on, but who seem to want to give priests who commit crimes a pass and suddenly are all about forgiveness and mercy. If a person in any other profession committed exactly the same crime (sexual abuse, stealing, drinking and driving), they’d want to lock him up and throw away the key. They wouldn’t be all that fussed about the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle of jurisprudence. They see the alleged offender’s picture on the news and shake their fists and bewail Canada’s “soft-on-crime, liberal policies” and take to social media to express their outrage. But when Father does it, they refuse to believe it. Suddenly, “there are two sides to every story” (they are rarely interested in hearing the other side of the story when the offender is anyone other than a clergyman). “Everyone makes mistakes.” And “After all… priests are only human.” They immediately suspect the victims of bilking the Church for an easy payout. They think talking about Father’s behaviour will cast the Church in a bad light. They accuse the media of being anti-Catholic and blowing the behaviour of bad priests out of all proportion.
Sometimes I think that if we persist in a culture of clericalism and hero worship and secrecy, we, the faithful, deserve what we get. We need to stop venerating and worshipping priests, have an honest and open conversation about problems in the priesthood, celebrate the work of good priests, yes, but more than that, honour the bravery of the victims who have put themselves in the line of fire simply for telling the truth and trying to prevent what happened to them from happening to others.
And these permissive, secretive bishops who believe themselves to be above the law need to be held accountable for their choices. I don’t buy for one moment that bishops didn’t understand the pathology of pedophelia and thought they were acting for the best when they shuffled abusers around from parish to school to Southdown and back to parish. My mother says she had a pedophile uncle back in the 1940s and everyone knew what he was. Everyone told their kids bluntly not to be alone with “Uncle Bob.” If some undeducted bumpkins from rural Ontario knew what pedophiles were always dangerous to children, what was wrong with the bishops?
Sorry for the long rant. But the article about the exploits of Fr. Buckley and the permissive bishops who enabled (and perhaps still enable) his behaviour really set me off.
I enjoyed reading your post. Some Catholics do indeed have a double-standard approach to law enforcement; and to the presumption of innocence namely; when it comes to accused clerical suspects. But rooting for the home team isn`t only a Catholic behavior. I don`t know if these categories of faithful as secondary victims can deserve to be defrauded; and/or deceived. It could be argued that for social policy reasons one’s faith involves such risks that are deemed acceptable. The question is:- do the faithful constitute an group such as hockey players which should accept certain types of damages? The line is drawn insofar primary victims of clerical abuse are concerned: they can’t consent to be harmed. In Canada, the costs of criminal procedure are socialized and civil litigation aims to distribute the risks to a maximum of persons to maintain the social pressure that a community requires to breathe and thrive. Even when a clerical abuse suspect is not convicted; that pressure does not return to the level it was at before he was charged because we don’t live in a perfectly reasonable world. The Church’s response to clerical abuse is all together a foreign language to ordinary people. Unreasonable doubt does come into play into our perceptions. To appease secular society and restore victims the Church needs to quit serving it’s own protocols on clerical abuse and get serious about defrocking convicted clerical perverts. Pope Francis who let’s face it isn’t in charge of a free and democratic society could do that with the stroke of a pen. – So you’ve been convicted Father? You’ll be able to appeal that before God should you chose to do that. Here and now; get the f**k out of here Charlie. That should be the Church’s policy.
Right on the money, Jack C!!! Mike.