Cap-Pelé arena renaming may move ahead

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Council may not wait for plebiscite after archbishop’s apology

CBC News

Posted: Mar 12, 2012 8:10 AM AT

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2012 8:05 PM AT

A plebiscite on renaming the Cap-Pelé arena was slated to be held on May 14.

A plebiscite on renaming the Cap-Pelé arena was slated to be held on May 14. ((Marc Genuist/CBC))

Cap-Pelé council may push ahead with removing the name of a priest accused of sexually assaulting children from the local arena as early as Monday night.

The southeastern New Brunswick village was scheduled to hold a plebiscite May 14 on changing the name of Aréna Père-Camille-Léger to Aréna de Cap-Pelé. But Deputy Mayor Hector Doiron told CBC News that Archbishop André Richard’s apology for the actions of the former priest have “changed the dimensions” of the controversy and council has scheduled a special meeting on the issue.

On Sunday, Richard told parishioners he believes the stories of abuse that emerged in recent days and apologized on behalf of the church.

‘It’s not a legally binding declaration, but it is a public declaration by the Catholic church here. So the municipality will certainly take action to remedy the situation with the name on the arena.’— Deputy Mayor Hector Doiron

Richard’s acknowledgement may allow the community to move forward with renaming the arena, Doiron said.

“By Monsignor Richard making a public statement to that effect, that he felt that Father Léger — with having so many come forward and taking responsibility for his actions — now this situation is such that this happened,” he said.

“Mind you it’s not a legally binding declaration, but it is a public declaration by the Catholic church here. So the municipality will certainly take action to remedy the situation with the name on the arena.”

Council was scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. AT. If the motion to change the name passes, it will take effect immediately, Doiron said.

Léger’s picture has already been removed from the arena that has carried his name for 25 years.

Apology appreciated

Archbishop André Richard apolgized over the weekend for the actions of a former Cap-Pelé priest.

Archbishop André Richard apolgized over the weekend for the actions of a former Cap-Pelé priest. ((CBC))

People in the fishing village say they’re pleased with the archbishop’s apology.

Several people came forward last week to talk for the first time about the abuse they experienced by Léger, who died 22 years ago and was never charged.

Richard addressed the controversy while celebrating mass before about 200 people on Sunday. Many people thanked the archbishop for coming to the community and talking about the issue.

Richard thanked the people for breaking their silence on the issue of abuse. “We have no idea what damage, what harm he may have done to the lives of people,” Richard said, adding the church will do what it can to help Léger’s victims.

He said Léger was well respected in Cap-Pelé where he served from 1957 to1980. Richard said Léger helped incorporate the town, set up a volunteer fire department and build the local arena, but added that community involvement made it much more difficult for teenage boys who had been sexually assaulted by the priest to speak out.

“That’s part of the complexity of the whole situation — that he was well known and admired, on the other hand this very shady side obviously of his life,” he said.

‘It was long overdue’

Antoine Vautour said the Richard did the right thing by asking for forgiveness.

“The archbishop’s comments were perfect — we appreciate his comments,” Vautour said.

Ulysse Boudreau, who lived in the coastal community when Léger was a priest, also said the region’s archbishop took the appropriate action.

“It’s only right for the people who got hurt. I was young back then and I remember what he was doing with the kids and it was not right,” Boudreau said.

Patricia Niles said she also knows people who were abused by Léger and the archbishop’s apology is just one part of the healing process.

“I think it was long overdue for those that have been really hurt, it will be a long process,” Niles said.



C. Daigle 2012/03/12
at 6:54 PM ETIf taking the name off of the Arena will help the victims start their healing process, then go for it.

People wonder why not as many people go to church anymore… geesh


singleminded 2012/03/12
at 4:57 PM ETThe people of Cape Pele are too kind in thanking this apologist for the institutional abuse inflicted on them and their children by Leger and the RC church.

Instead of thanking this Bishop they should turn away from him and his “church”, forever.


CanuckCommander 2012/03/12
at 4:11 PM ETPapalists are always held back by their religion, cut the ties, remove the name, turn the church into stable and enjoy life.


Lilith3 2012/03/12
at 3:30 PM ETBecause the Bisphop apologized on behalf of the church it leads me to think he knows more about this than he is saying. Past history has shown the Church was often behind the cover-up of abusive priests and moved them from parish to parish to protect them.

Google “The Cornwall Public Inquiry or Project Truth” if you want to see how this works.

And Oh yes, remove his name from the arena.


El Cuervo 2012/03/12
at 2:49 PM ETIf you are of that age group, and were involved in the church as a choir boy, or as a boy scout, or hockey player , there is unfortunately a chance that your self or a friend or acquaintance has been impacted by this event itself or the disclosure. The individuals and the immediate community are still psychologically impacted. Disclosure is difficult and painfull, however the healing is not immediate, and some persons may never be at the point where they can or are able to disclose. There is also no doubt a collective guilt of the community for not having protected the children and reported the incidents when they occurred. How can existing conselling services adequately reach out discreetly to the community and individuals over the next years. The counsellors must not be related to the institution, but have to be independent and concerned with the individuals and the community best interests. By the words of some of the victims we are not talking of a few but of dozens .What is the current disclosure protocol in the archdiocese. What was the protocol in the years of occurence . Unfortunately the question has to be asked, who knew, and how many knew, and when did they know ? The history of denial and dealing with this issue behind closed doors of this institution seems to be self perpetuatuing .

mwmsmsm 2012/03/12
at 1:51 PM ETAn apology given even while praising the work accomplishments of this person,does not , in my opinion, qualify as a sincere apology.
I am not from Cap – Pele and offer my opinion only. It is for the people of Cap – Pele to decide how they feel


Keitarosan 2012/03/12
at 12:34 PM ET”The man sexually abused children and you want a pleblecite! What is wrong with you people. Rip that evil mans’s name off that arena. NOW!!”

While I agree that his name should be removed, and I believe it will be after the vote, I would like to point out that the person in question was accused, not found guilty, of sexual abuse. While I also believe the victims in this case, the above statement implies that the priest was already found guilty, and thus there must be “something wrong” with the people of Cap Pele for putting this to a vote instead of simply removing the name. Really, I think putting the issue to a vote in a timely matter and allowing the people of Cap Pele to decide for themselves whether or not to do this is an appropriate response, meaning there is nothing wrong with “those people


RobertMorrell 2012/03/12
at 11:45 AM ETThe man sexually abused children and you want a pleblecite! What is wrong with you people. Rip that evil mans’s name off that arena. NOW!!

6 Responses to Cap-Pelé arena renaming may move ahead

  1. Sylvia says:

    I am still shaking my head in absolute disbelief over the Archbishop’s response to these allegations!!

    And, yes, I do commend the archbishop in this instance for doing the right thing and showing consideration and sympathy for the victims.

    If there is something untoward or an ulterior motive in the archbishop’s response and apology it will eventually see the light of day. If not, then perhaps this is the way of the future? i.e., no more pretending that it couldn’t possibly have happened; no more denials; no more painting victims as good-for–nothing liars.

    We shall see, and time will tell….

    For now let’s rejoice in the fact that the victims are believed, and that it looks as though the name of the arena will be changed. Let’s pray this happens, and that those poor souls who have lived the nightmare of the abuse they endured at Leger’s sullied priestly hands will find some peace.

    And, yes, congratulations to every one of you victims who found the courage to speak up. Well done!!!

  2. JG says:

    Cap-Pelé has taken action this evening according to CBC News N.B….A contingent including 22 firemen removed the sign and destroyed it after the Council Meeting…
    Probably more to come of this…more questions, more witnesses…maybe the ”secret files” turned over to the Civil authorities…???
    Regardless, it is a victory for the victims and they have found their voice. They know they are not alone!

  3. Sylvia says:

    Thanks JG – I didn’t find an article, but I did find a link to a picture capturing that historic moment. It gives me chills! Good chills 🙂

    I have posted the picture on the Father Camille Leger page.

  4. Mike Mc says:

    Sylvia, do you know anything about a Western Star article from Corner Brook Nfld that discussed the future possible removal of the Bishop Lahey name on a Corner Stone of a building there? I remember the discussion. I believe it was mentioned in this blog somewhere. Was anything ever done or voted on? I remember saying something about leaving it there as a sign of what can happen. I think I will change my stance on that.

  5. Sylvia says:

    Yes Mike Mc. I was wondering about the status of that too. I personally have heard no more.

    Here is the article: 09 December 2011: School board to examine issue of building bearing disgraced bishop’s name

  6. Mike Mc says:

    Yes, that’s it. Thankyou. I can’t help but see the connection. You said in that thread,

    “An interesting furor in the offing in Corner Brook, Newfoundland?

    I personally believe that it creates further scandal to leave the corner stone.

    For that matter, I feel the same about all the little ditties Lahey composed – they should be expunged from Catholic hymnals.

    Your thoughts?”

    Yes, it saddens me…especially when you know and trusted someone who influenced not only parishoners but your highschool students as well. I find since reading this site that although I don’t know 99% of those priests talked about, I can feel that sadness, pain, anger, frustration and so much more…from other writers in here. And I think removal of names off buildings/schools,cornerstones, ice rinks, hymnals, etc etc…….is a necessary thing to help with the healing process. And if writer Glen is reading this……….I don’t care how pedophilia in the Catholic priesthood compares to Boy Scouts or the teaching profession……etc……the priesthood was always considered sacred and a spiritual guidance and connection to God. There has been a betrayal,…. and Glen….. one priest or 1000 priests is one priest too many. Something has been seriously lacking in the RC Church, probably for centuries, and the hierarchy of the Church has kept this hidden. Well the secret vaults are slowly opening and the truth is slowly coming out.

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