Diocese of Bathurst, NB
Diocese Applies to Court to Vary Trusts in Favour of Victims
On November 15, 2010, the Diocese of Bathurst made application before the Honourable Mr. Justice Fred Ferguson in Bathurst to seek variance of a number of trust funds it holds for the purpose of educating candidates for the priesthood in order to use these funds to assist in the settlement process currently being undertaken by the Hon. Michel Bastarache.
The intent of the diocese in entering into this process is to use these funds to both meet the legitimate claims of victims while continuing with its Christian charitable mission.
The diocese had originally asked the Court for permission to utilise all of these specific trust funds. However, on advice from lawyers of the Attorney General Office and a lawyer appointed by the Court to represent the interests of the trusts, the diocese agreed to retain an amount sufficient to fulfill the purposes of the trusts, while freeing the balance to be used for settlements of claims.
Mr. Justice Ferguson, on request by the diocese, ordered that certain financial information of the diocese that would not normally be disclosed within a court process be safeguarded so that the diocese would be treated fairly in the litigation process. The diocese agreed to make the balance of the process open to the public in accordance with the direction of the Court.
The diocese will await the judgment of Mr. Justice Ferguson and will do all it can to meet the timetable requested by Mr. Bastarache to be in position to make payment to claimants by December.
The diocese wishes to express its appreciation for the efforts made by the Crown (the Attorney General), the lawyer for the Trusts and the Court to expedite this matter for hearing.
The diocese further confirms that it continues its process of implementation of its sexual abuse protocols to attend to the safety of children and vulnerable persons in the diocese. All clergy and staff of the diocese have passed this process and arrangements are continuing to process diocesan volunteers.
Father Wesley Wade, vicar general
I was very impressed by the efforts of Bishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa to reconcile victims and abusers in the political and racial turmoil there that included burning, torture and deaths.
Before paying up these victims, which they were, I would like to see a process where abuser and victims must address what happened and a panel oversee the dialogue. Then for the abuser to answer to his crime and shame, possible remorse, take his judgement. And before just signing over a cheque that generations gave to perpetuate their churches for future generations, see what are the needs of the victims, yes but help all to consider the faith of our fathers that wanted the church buildings to exist and be there, not be boarded up and run out of clergy. I would like the victims to not seek a massive amount to spend quickly and end up where they began, hurt, unhealed, forever disgruntled.
I have not thought farther than this. This is for the new, creative generation. But don’t forget who sacrificed and trusted in those trusts set up, not to be paid out over some pee-pee problems. The saints who died, so let down.