Abbass still filled with range of emotions over Talbot House issues
The Cape Breton Post
23 August 2012
In this file photo, Archbishop Anthony Mancini, left, and Fr. Paul Abbass of St. Marys parish in Frenchvale spoke to the media at Our Lady of Fatima church in Sydney River regarding charges against former bishop Raymond Lahey of distributing and…
Published on August 23, 2012
SYDNEY — If Talbot House resumes as an addictions treatment centre in Cape Breton, it will do so without Fr. Paul Abbass as its executive director.
“I’m not even sure I know what words or sentiments I can use to express the past 10 months,” Abbass said in an interview with the Cape Breton Post.
“It’s been just extremely difficult. It’s filled with a range of emotions and I think in some ways I’m still sorting out.”
In a phone interview, Abbass spoke about the series of events and allegations that led to his resignation and the closure of Talbot House.
In February, he took a leave of absence from his position as executive director of the residential treatment facility for men suffering drug and alcohol addictions after a police investigation was launched against him.
It followed the release of a Nova Scotia Department of Community Services report based on an operational review of Talbot House that was prompted by complaints and allegations from a former resident against Abbass.
The police investigation was later dropped after no basis to pursue criminal charges was found.
“I just feel that none of this was necessary, and yes, I suffered but so did a lot of people suffer. In my view needlessly suffered, unfairly suffered.”
Abbass remains a strong supporter of Talbot House and weighed in on the board’s decision not to take part in the current request for proposals for a treatment facility in Cape Breton.
Like the board, he wants Premier Darrell Dexter to intervene in the process.
“He could fix this in a moment. The premier has the power and the authority and it’s his gift of leadership that he could say ‘Talbot House is a valuable legacy to the people of Cape Breton and I’m not going to dishonour it and we are not going to dishonour it, so find a way for this to happen.’”
He hopes the people of Cape Breton will do their part to encourage this intervention.
“Unless they stand up and say ‘Tthere is no need for that,’ I think we are in trouble.”
As for his responsibilities with the Diocese of Antigonish, he’s scheduled to return to his five parish assignments in October. He’ll also ease back into other duties, such as spokesman for the diocese.