McCarthy: Father Paul McCarthy

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Paul Joseph McCarthy

priest Archdiocese of Toronto.  Ordained 03 June 1967. Ran COR weekends (Christ in Others Retreat) at St. Patrick’s in Toronto and Our Lady of Grace in Aurora, Ontario) and perhaps elsewhere. 1990 archdiocesan investigation for ‘misconduct.’”  At the time, Judicial Vicar, Monsignor Ed Boehler, insisted that the allegations against McCarthy did not involve sexual assault on children and that there was no requirement to call police or Children’s Aid. The findings of the investigation were never made public and parishioners were essentially told it was none of their business.  The allegations in fact entailed abuse of three teenage boys. McCarthy was recycled. McCarthy’s assistant at the time was convicted  serial molester Father Barry Glendinning



Archbishops of Toronto from time of Father McCarthy’s ordination to death:: James Charles McGuigan  (22 December 1934 – 30 March 1971); Philip Francis Pocock  (30 March 1971 – 29 April 1978); Gerald Emmett Carter  (29 April 1978 – 17 March 1990); Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic  (17 March 1990 – – 16 December 2006 ) ; Thomas Christopher Collins (16 December 2006 – – )

Auxiliary Bishops of Toronto from time of Father McCarthy’s ordination to death:    Francis Valentine Allen † (02 Jul 1954 – 07 October 1977) ; Francis Anthony Marrocco  (01 Dec 1955 – 10 June 1968);  Thomas Benjamin Fulton (28 December 1968-August 1978;) Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic (26 March 1976 – Coadjutor Archbishop: 22 May 1986); Michael Pearse Lacey (03 May 1979 – 31 May 1993); Robert Bell Clune  (03 May 1979 to 27 December 1995); Leonard James Wall  (03 May 1979 — 25 February 1992); John Stephen Knight (27 Apr 1992 – 09 April 2000); Anthony Giroux Meagher  (30 April 1997 – 27 April 2002) Nicola de Angelis, C.F.I.C. ( 27 April 1992 to 28 December 2002);: Terrence Thomas Prendergast, S.J. ( 22 February 1995  – 30 June 1998);  Richard John Grecco (27 April 2002 – 11 July 2009) Peter Joseph Hundt ( 11 February 2006 – 01 March 2011)


05 July 2012: A sordid saga of sex abuse, recycling, lies and deception


25 August 2009: Guitar-playing priest made everyone feel special

04 December 1990: Priest resigns in deal with parishioner, church says

03 December 1990: Priest’s resignation announced ‘all hell’ breaks loose at Mass

05 August 1989: Molested boy twice, priest given third parish; Priest was praised by parish

18 July 1989:  Archdiocese sets guidelines for abuse cases


The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) to which I have access, the 1980 Ontario Catholic Directory (OCD), The Orator (Orator),

05 August 2009:  Died at Southlake Hospital, age 67. (see Father Paul McCarthy funeral home obituary)

2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993:  Pastor, St. Christopher Roman Catholic Church, Mississauga (CCCD)

1999: Monsignor Boehler admitted the diocesan investigation related to children, then quickly referred to canon 220 of the Code of Canon Law (“No one may unlawfully harm the good reputation which a person enjoys, or violate the right of every person to protect his or her privacy.”).

1992:  address for St. Justin Martyr Roman Catholic Church, Unionville, Ontario (Pastor Father Edward J. MacTague) (CCCD)

1991:  Pastor, Our Lady of Grace, Aurora, Ontario (CCCD) (he actually left in 1990)

sometime 1990:

1980- January 1990:  Pastor, Our Lady of Grace, Aurora, Ontario

03 December 1990:  Archbishop Ambrozic announces that Father McCarthy is reigning.  Parishioners were told nothing of the nature of the allegations or the results of the investigation (M)

Archbishop Ambrozic basically told parishioners at Our Lady of Grace that the results of the diocesan investigation were none of their business (Orator/P)

Father McCarthy was sent to New Mexico. Parishioners at Our Lady of Grace were told that this was to give him a rest and time for healing. (Orator)

January 1990:  Father McCarthy was ordered out of the parish and rectory while he was investigated for ‘misconduct.’ The investigation was conducted by the diocese and findings were kept secret.  Monsignor Boehler (Vicar General) insisted at the time that  the allegations did not involve sex assault of children and that there was no need to call police or Children’s Aid . The truth of the matter is that the allegations involved three teenage boys, two of whom were brothers. The boys and their families were apparently treated shabbily by diocesan officials, and the boys were made to feel that they were to blame. (Orator and P)

August 1989:  Father Glendinning had recently been transferred to Blessed Trinity in Willowdale, Ontario.  When word reached parishioners that he was convicted molester there was an uproar in the parish.   At the time, Father McCarthy defended the decision to return Glendinning to parish ministry (“There is no reason to question the level of recovery. We don’t have a time bomb sitting here”) (M)

1985-86:  Pastor, Our Lady of Grace, Aurora, Ontario (CCCD)

1984:  Father Barry Glendinning, fresh from his second stint at Southdown, arrived as assistant pastor.  McCarthy was supposedly supervising Glendinning.  Parishioners were told Glendinning, a convicted molester had been receiving treatment for a drinking problem – he had in fact been reported for sodomizing and molesting altar boys in the Archdiocese of Edmonton Alberta where he had been shipped shortly after he was convicted. Glendinning was asked to take charge of the youth group and the altar boys. (Orator and P)

198o:  succeeded Father Lynette as Pastor at Our Lady of Grace, Aurora, Ontario (Father Paul McCarthy at Our Lady of Grace in Aurora )

1980: at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Markham, Ontario with Father N. Gignac and Permanent Deacon Mr. A. R. McGregor (OCD)

1973-74, 1971-72, 1968-69:  assistant at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, Toronto, Ontario (Pastor Father W.E. Cambray (CCCD)

03 June 1967: ORDAINED at St. Michael’s Cathedral. Toronto by Bishop Philip Pocock


Sexual Misconduct: “A Privacy Issue”

The Orator

April-Dec. 1999:

In 1984, when Father Glendinning was first introduced as an assistant pastor at Our Lady of Grace Church in Aurora, Ontario ( a parish close to Southdown), parishioners were told that he had been receiving treatment for a drinking problem. In short order, Father Glendinning was asked to take charge of the youth group. He obliged.

Liturgical dance was introduced to the Mass during Father’s stay at Our Lady of Grace. Father remained at the parish until the summer of 1989 at which time he was transferred to Blessed Trinity Church in Willowdale. Throughout Father Glendinning’s years at Our Lady of Grace, the parish priest was Father Paul McCarthy.

Five months after Father Glendinning’s departure, in January of 1990, the media reported that Father McCarthy was “ordered out of his parish and rectory residence while he is investigated for ‘misconduct.’” Church officials reportedly were keeping details of the internal investigation secret. At the time, Judicial Vicar, Monsignor Ed Boehler, insisted that the charges against McCarthy did not involve sexual assault on children and that there was no requirement to call police or Children’s Aid.

Former detective Paul Tallon was a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace during those years. He and his wife were involved with the COR movement (Christ in Others Retreat, a retreat for young people in their mid-teens to early twenties). Father McCarthy was in charge of the COR movement.

In a recent interview with The Orator, Tallon, who retired four years ago after a number of years as a sexual assault investigator, said that Father McCarthy used to take boys on weekend trips and often had boys sleeping over at the rectory. Tallon advised Father McCarthy that the sleep-overs weren’t a good idea and just didn’t look good. To no avail.

According to Tallon, the diocesan investigation into Father McCarthy’s “misconduct” followed allegations of sexual misconduct. The allegations originally came from three male teenagers, two brothers from one family, one boy from another. The sexual misconduct allegedly transpired over a period of a few years. At some point one of the brothers decided not to pursue the allegations. He didn’t want to talk about it.

There were also allegations that Father McCarthy had been giving boys liquor and that there were frequent slumber parties at the rectory. Father apparently denied these allegations.

The allegations of sexual misconduct arose around the same time that some sort of diocesan guidelines had been developed to deal with problems of sexual abuse. In this instance, said Tallon, a decision was made by Church officials that “the Church” would deal with the issue and it would go to a “Church tribunal.”

According to the former detective, throughout the investigation the boys and their families were treated “shabbily” and the whole thing was “a whitewash.” The priest who conducted the investigation on behalf of the diocese was a personal friend of Father McCarthy. This choice was apparently justified with the claim that there was no one else available. Tallon says that he was disgusted with the whole thing .

Other Orator sources report that, after the investigation, Archbishop Ambrozic arrived at Our Lady of Grace one Sunday to personally tell parishioners during Mass that Father McCarthy was being suspended. There was chaos. Some parishioners were yelling and screaming. Others were crying. Tallon confirms the scene. He says the parish was divided between those who defended the priest and those who felt he was guilty. Some parishioners apparently called out “Guilty or not guilty?” The Archbishop’s reply, according to Tallon, could be paraphrased as: It’s none of your business.

Father McCarthy was sent off to New Mexico for a spell. The families were told that this was to give him a rest and time for healing. Within a year or so he was serving in another parish.

When contacted by The Orator, Monsignor Boehler ( still Judicial Vicar) adamantly refused to divulge the outcome of the investigation, very curtly advising that “we” do not discuss personnel matters. When pressed, he cooly stated that this is “a privacy issue” and referred the enquirer to canon 220. Appeals to the interests of the faithful were of no avail. Monsignor did, however, momentarily concur that the issue involves children, but instantly reiterated that this is a privacy issue and referred again to canon 220 (“No one may unlawfully harm the good reputation which a person enjoys, or violate the right of every person to protect his or her privacy.”).

14 Responses to McCarthy: Father Paul McCarthy

  1. A loving sister says:

    After all these years….. I thought hearing all this would be easy.
    Thank you Sylvia for yor brutaly, truthful words.
    As a sister… My heart will bleed for my brother always.

  2. Sylvia says:

    A loving sister: Is you brother one of those boys? If yes, how is he doing?

  3. Sylvia says:

    Good news “A loving sister.” Keep fighting.

    I see I have very little filled on the page. Next week I will fill in some of the timelines and other information which I can access.

    My prayers, and I know those of many others who follow the site, are with you and your brother.

  4. Former Alter Boy says:

    Interesting that I found this site today as yesterday was 32 years from the first time that I served as an Alter Boy at Our Lady of Grace. I was an Alter Boy from approximately 1980-1987. Father McCarthy was the priest of OLOG for the entire time I was there. Later Father Barry Glendinning came to the church and was the one to work closest with the alter boys.

    I was not one of the boys that had any sort of ‘encounters’ with either priest but I did many times sleepover at the rectory and also went to Father McCarthy’s family’s cottage on Lake Simcoe.

    During those sleepovers I did witness several improprieties… but to a young kid who went to St. Joseph’s school, lived in a religious home, served as an alter boy two times per week you just did not think about the worst things that may have been happening when the doors were closed.

    In the past four years I have spoken to one of the boys that did come forward (they were all my friends from school) and he shared with me the “internal investigation” and the way the boys were made to look like this was somehow their problem. And the church dropped it.

    He told me at that time that there was someone going to raise the issue in a court of law, and I offered my support in any way I could, because I still recall the things I saw… and he had little memory of that time of his life.

    If anything ever comes of the legal action I would ask anyone reading this to contact the site administrator for my email address, or post a message here, as I would like to help in any way I can.

    • Another former alterboy says:

      I am scratching my head thinking did I miss something? I was there with you, throughout that time and before Father Barry (pastey- you would get that). I was there with Father Lynette, and when Father Paul came. Went to St. Joes, and was classmates and friends with all involved. Sleepovers, video games, all that- I never saw anything. I heard talk from a couple of us that a couple had been given alcohol (wine as I remember(, but never saw anything that would support that either. Granted I was not there as often as about 4 or 5 kids were.
      I was confused when I heard of all this, I was never approached by anyone. My parent, who worked for Catholic Childrens Aid at that time, and later as child protective services, was never approached either. We had moved away but something like this should have prompted some form of contact- no?
      I liked Father Paul, thought he was an extraordinary person. Father Barry really did not leave an impression on me at all- good or bad. We were told of his past when he first arrived and I remember that conversation with my parents well.
      Please do not read more into what I am saying, other than I honestly never saw or heard anything. I was there for years and never suspected anything. I feel for all involved, and certainly hope that peace was found.

      • Leona says:

        As Sylvia would say AFA, the fox doesn’t take all the chickens in the house. You were fortunate that you were not targeted. These predators are cunning and know how to find the vulnerable. Those 4 or 5 kids that were ‘there more often’ may not have had safe homes to go to, so they hung around Father to get the attention they felt they needed and those are the kids Father was likely able to take advantage of. Welcome to the site, and glad to see you speaking out.

    • Would like to chat says:

      I would like to ask you a few questions regarding this. My brother in law and husband were also altar boys at this time. My brother in law is in a heap of trouble right now related to this issue.

  5. Steven Witherell says:

    I wish I could go back to 1977-1979. and reported him when he abused me. But I was young and afraid. I might have been able to prevent more abuse. He was the priest at my school for a short time (they cycled priest every year or more frequently). But he is facing (or faced) his ultimate judge and I feel no pity for him.

  6. Former Alter Boy says:

    So sorry… I almost never check this email address… and it seems to have been several years since I did so.
    It is also sad to say I am pretty sure I know whom has made the above comments since my message years ago.

    I have however given my commentary (testimony) to the appropriate people… and during that commentary was surprised to realize that I was saying “Boy A, B, C” and in-fact their first initials were ABC… now it seems there may have been a D… or D’s brother (sorry too many years to remember D’s brother’s initials)

    Sorry to say I no longer live in ONT, but am only an email away… and KM, you have me as a friend on FB… in L4G 2Y2… back in the ‘old days’ when DM was in Vallhala

  7. michael says:

    perhaps pope Francis would do well to investigate abuse of chldren by priests instead of getting involved in what trade unions do. i thknk sexual abuse in the catholic church is high priority and stop blaming the children for the abhorrent priests and their abuse. read another article cover up by church and government in england. Google pope frzncis blessing italian trade unions in June. laughable to say the least. sylvia your blog is making a difference and the facebook zcct of the murder of cztherine cesnik in baltimore is hitting the church where it hurts!!

  8. Zim says:

    Hello, does anybody have a picture of Father Paul? A picture would help me to identify a recent potential case.

  9. Zim says:

    Nevermind. I got the wrong guy. I see that this Father Paul died in 2009.

    • Rita Plestid says:

      When Father Paul McCarthy was in Markham he held a retreat weekend for the boys my son went to the retreat on A Friday evening . My son phoned me & said I’m not staying because Mc Carthy had all the windows covered & he was scared. I told him to leave & come home. Before he got home McCarthy called to tell me my son left & he was furious. When my son got home & explained the situation I was glad he left. I should have reported it & probably could have saved some children from falling into Father Paul McCarthy’s sex trap. I grew up thinking priests were next to God, when they came to the classroom we stood up & said good morning Father while they were hiding behind their collar & molesting children. There are some Good Priests out there but how do we know where they are .They should do away with altar boys for one thing so the priests can’t lure them in & ruin their lives.

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