The Toronto Star
03 December 1990
Joseph Hall, Toronto Star
Parishioners at an Aurora Catholic church shouted and fumed at Toronto Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic yesterday after he announced the resignation of their long-time priest.
“All hell broke loose. It just kind of exploded,” said nurse Eleanor Waggoner, a member of Our Lady of Grace Church on Yonge St. N. in the town north of Metro.
“Some people even walked out after he announced it. It was righteous indignation.” Some parishioners wept, she added.
Pastor for 10 years
Ambrozic appeared at the church’s morning service yesterday to announce he had accepted the resignation of Rev. Paul McCarthy, whom the archdiocese has been investigating on undisclosed allegations by a parishioner for about a year.
McCarthy, a priest for almost 25 years, had been pastor of the Aurora church for a decade. He was relieved of his duties last January.
Speaking from a prepared statement, Ambrozic told the congregation of about 800 that a lengthy investigation by both clerical and legal experts led him to accept the priest’s resignation.
“The investigation took into account the best advice available from archdiocesan personnel, experienced and prudent clerics from outside the archdiocese and by lay legal and other advisers for those affected,” said the statement, which was read to The Star by archdiocese official Des Burge.
“I regret to advise you that the investigation has resulted in my acceptance of Father McCarthy’s resignation as your pastor.”
But for parishioners, who have been waiting almost a year to learn the nature of the allegations, Ambrozic’s short statement left only frustration and anger.
“There has been nothing said about what the investigation was about and what he did or didn’t do,” said Tom Dea, president of the parish council.
“That is why the people are unhappy about the resignation of Father Paul.
“They have been waiting since January to find out what was involved in the investigation and, in fact, they didn’t hear what was involved.”
Burge said he did not know the nature of the allegations.
Waggoner said the investigation arose out of complaints from only one family in the parish.
She also said many parishioners were enraged by the seeming secrecy.
‘Period of renewal’
“After almost a year, it was like a pressure cooker. People were saying this is not fair, he (McCarthy) has been accused and he hasn’t been allowed to defend himself,” she said.
Ambrozic’s statement said McCarthy would be assigned other duties in the archdiocese after he undergoes “a period of renewal.”
McCarthy said in a telephone interview today he wasn’t “in any position to comment” on the allegations against him.
Asked about his future plans, McCarthy would say only that he was moving out of the parish.