Priest flees, Igloolik RCs on their own for Easter

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Father Tony Krotki threatened in wake of Dejaeger revelations

NEWS: Nunavut April 02, 2011 – 8:25 am

JANE GEORGE

Father Tony Krotki, who has served as a priest in Igloolik and Hall Beach since 2001, recently fled Igloolik after receiving threats from a community member. (FILE PHOTO)
Father Tony Krotki, who has served as a priest in Igloolik and Hall Beach since 2001, recently fled Igloolik after receiving threats from a community member. (FILE PHOTO)
“It’s hard to take,” says Bishop Reyland Rouleau, 75, of the violent threats which caused Father Tony Krotki to flee Igloolik last month. (PHOTO/DIOCESE OF CHURCHILL-HUDSON BAY)
“It’s hard to take,” says Bishop Reyland Rouleau, 75, of the violent threats which caused Father Tony Krotki to flee Igloolik last month. (PHOTO/DIOCESE OF CHURCHILL-HUDSON BAY)
St. Stephen's Church in Igloolik will be without a priest to officiate at Easter this year after its resident priest, Father Tony Krotki, fled the community in March after receiving threats. (PHOTO/DIOCESE OF CHURCHILL-HUDSON BAY)
St. Stephen’s Church in Igloolik will be without a priest to officiate at Easter this year after its resident priest, Father Tony Krotki, fled the community in March after receiving threats. (PHOTO/DIOCESE OF CHURCHILL-HUDSON BAY)

 

The 700 Catholic worshippers in Igloolik will be without a priest during Easter which falls later this month, following the rapid departure of Father Tony Krotki, who fled the community after receiving threats.

Of the 16 churches in the Churchill-Hudson Bay diocese, Igloolik’s St. Stephen Church has the second largest Catholic congregation in Nunavut.

It will be the only one without a priest to celebrate during the Roman Catholic church’s most important religious holiday of the year.

Father Tony did not want to press charges, but police couldn’t assure his security, Bishop Reynald Rouleau of the Churchill diocese said in a March 31 interview.

“So it was safer for him to leave,” Bishop Rouleau said, who did not elaborate on the nature of the threats. “Given this situation, the entire context of the residential school [Truth and Reconciliation] commission and the case of Eric Dejaeger, which has not yet been in court, and the fact that there had been threats from one person,  I think he had to leave. There was no choice.”

Father Tony, who had been in Igloolik since 2001, was “absolutely” traumatized by the incident.

He’s now in Winnipeg, Bishop Rouleau said.

For Bishop Rouleau, the incident was also disturbing and left him “emotionally exhausted.”

“It’s hard to take,” he said. “At the same time, we have to acknowledge that it’s not the entire population of Igloolik that rejected him. It’s one individual.”

Bishop Rouleau said he never would have thought that this kind of situation — that is, a priest being threatened by a member of his congregation — would occur.

“I’m as unhappy as he is,” he said. “On the other hand I don’t have any solutions immediately.”

Although it’s too late to find a priest willing to come to Igloolik for Easter, Rev. Quang Van, who is usually based in Hall Beach, came to Igloolik during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s visit to the community on March 23 and March 24.

Father Tony may return to Igloolik, but not immediately. He’s asked Father Robert Lechat, who has also served in the community, to look into the situation.

“People in Igloolik want Tony to come back, but we have too make sure he’s safe. We don’t have any choice,” Bishop Rouleau said.

At the same time, Bishop Rouleau acknowledged the trauma experienced by many former residential students who now live in Igloolik and by the victims of former priest Eric Dejaeger, who now faces many sex charges related to his stay in Igloolik during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“I never would have imagined that this would have been possible that these kinds of abuses could have occurred,” Bishop Rouleau said, “Even one instance [of abuse] is one too many.”

Bishop Rouleau, who was named to lead the diocese in 1987, said he met Dejaeger a couple of times before former priest left the region in 1988.

Then, Bishop Rouleau said he had “no idea” what Dejaeger had done.

“That’s how it was.”

But the wrongs of the past don’t justify the threats made to Father Tony, he said.

“In our society it’s unacceptable to make threats,” he said.

(5) Comments:

#1. Posted by X on April 02, 2011 

In our society it IS unacceptable to make threats, so why doesn’t the RCMP in Igloolik do something about it? I’ll tell you why, they are totally incompetent. I have been in a similar situation in Igloolik, and the RCMP sat back and did nothing. They are pathetic and useless…

#2. Posted by jujubes on April 02, 2011 

and in whom’s society do i live? a free person’s one?

#3. Posted by argyll on April 03, 2011 

To X – read the story will you ?  It says he won’t press charges so without a victim willing to testify, the police can’t do anything.

#4. Posted by Kay4Justice on April 03, 2011 

“Bishop Rouleau, who was named to lead the diocese in 1987, said he met Dejaeger a couple of times before former priest left the region in 1988.

“Then, Bishop Rouleau said he had “no idea” what Dejaeger had done.

“That’s how it was.”

Bishops apparently have NO IDEA of what is and has happened worldwide as regards the abuse of children and vulnerable adults.  They all say the same thing.  It is possible that a victim/survivor might seek justice with threats.  Parents, be very careful.  Do not leave your children alone, even with the most trusted people you know.  The resultant damage can impose a life of pain.

#5. Posted by John Shuster on April 03, 2011 

Priests who abuse children work hard to be very popular and well accepted by influential members of the local community.  When people know of a priest’s predatory activity, many times they cannot say anything in a small community because of the repercussions they will suffer.  Now that Dejaeger’s abuse is public knowledge, Father Tony has been threatened and has fled the community. Any behavior connection there?  Could a current victim of Father Tony be behind this threat?  Could someone in the community who knows about activities by Father Tony be threatening him?  Very often, flight presumes guilt.  With all the institutional secrecy surrounding priests who abuse, and the fact that many priests with abuse in their background get assigned to small parishes in remote areas, could something be going on here with Father Tony?  Why did the OMI order send him to Igloolik?  This needs to be investigated so that it can be ruled in or ruled out.

2 Responses to Priest flees, Igloolik RCs on their own for Easter

  1. Sylvia says:

    This really bothers me.

    The police can’t assure Father Tony’s safety?

    Who assures the safety of children when a known clerical molester is reycled?

    I don’t know. True, no one should threaten another person. I don’t advocate that for a moment. But, pull the priest out of the community completely? because of one threat from one person, and both the priest and the bishop are scared?

    That is as alien to my thought processes as is Catholics who extol the so-called vitrtues of a known molester, or a bishop slipping a known molester into a parish without telling a soul to keep an eye out for their children.

    Leave the entire community without a priest? No one there to adminster Last Rites? No priest for Easter? No priest to reach out to the victims of clerical sex abuse?

    I can not wrap my head around this one at all.

  2. Michel B. says:

    Dejeager culpa, Dejeager culpa, Dejeager culpa

    Sadly the consequential impact as result of thoughtlessness and selfishness.

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