Last Updated: Monday, January 31, 2011 | 1:19 PM AT
Archbishop Anthony Mancini has written a letter to parishioners in Yarmouth, N.S., about why the church is paying compensation to victims of sexual abuse. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)
The Archbishop of Halifax has written a letter to parishioners in Yarmouth, N.S., to try to explain why the Roman Catholic church is paying compensation to victims of two priests who abused them.
Anthony Mancini, who is the administrator of the Yarmouth diocese, said no one feels good about having to pay out settlements.
“That is the cost for the sins of our past,” he wrote, in a letter released to parishioners last week.
The abuse took place in the 1950s and 1960s and the victims were between the ages of three and 16 at the time. Both men are now dead.
It’s not yet clear whether the diocese will have to sell off some of its properties in order to pay the settlement.
“For some time now, we have been struggling with the impact of sexual abuse on the lives of victims, and on the life of the community. Many have been and continue to be shocked and shamed by the behaviour of some priests,” Mancini said in his statement.
“The behaviour of these priests and their failures are criminal, immoral and shameful. There is no excuse for it and there is not much that can be done to change what has happened.”
The diocese of Yarmouth has been facing more than 20 cases of sexual abuse, according to a diocese spokeswoman.
Mancini acknowledged that the church “will be stretched to the limits” by paying out the settlements. He said the organization has enlisted the help of others to find alternative ways of financing in the next few years.
“Let me reassure you, that I am doing all I can with the collaboration of all the diocesan staff of the Yarmouth Diocese to steer our church through this stormy period and I count on all of you who are of good will and resolved to stay the course with us,” he wrote.
“We hope to survive, poorer yes, but alive nevertheless.”