Saint John Telegraph-Journal
The diocese wants the court to allow it to use money from “bequests which are the property of the Diocese of Bathurst” in 21 trusts. It wants to use the money to “pay compensation claims against the diocese.”
If made available, the funds would be dispensed to pay settlements arising from past sexual misconduct of one or more priests of the diocese.
The funds were intended for training of candidates for the priesthood and some originated in the Miramichi region when it was part of the diocese.
The application was filed on behalf of Msgr. Valery Vienneau, the diocese’s bishop, on Oct. 1 in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Moncton.
The first hearing was held in Miramichi and legal counsel for the diocese requested access to the courtroom be limited to only those who had standing on the application. Justice Fred Ferguson denied the request. In a decision released Nov. 10 he wrote, “there is nothing in the circumstances of this application to warrant such an order being made.”
It is expected the diocese may make a motion to keep details of the church finances confidential.