Nun talks about sexual abuse by priests

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Sr. Nuala Kenny, who served on the commission investigating claims of child sexual abuse at the hands of priests in Newfoundland and Labrador, presented her arguments for change in the Roman Catholic Church at Dalbrae Academy on Sunday.

Sr. Nuala Kenny, who served on the commission investigating claims of child sexual abuse at the hands of priests in Newfoundland and Labrador, presented her arguments for change in the Roman Catholic Church at Dalbrae Academy on Sunday.

MABOU — A Roman Catholic nun told a crowd of more than 200 people Sunday the church hasn’t properly addressed the issue of sexual abuse at the hands of priests since the Mount Cashel orphanage scandal of the 1980s.

Sr. Nuala Kenny, a pediatrician, was a member of the commission looking into child sexual abuse by priests in St. John’s, N.L., from 1989-1991. The commission recommended the creation of the Canadian Conference on Catholic Bishops ad hoc committee on child sexual abuse.

A large crowd came to listen to what Kenny had to say at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou.

“It nearly killed me to be a nun, a baby doctor, sitting there listening to people describe what had happened when men of God, priests of my church, had offended against their children and teenagers,” Kenny said.

“It nearly broke my heart. The devastation that occurred was truly heartbreaking, but I thought we learned something, I thought we wrote something important.”

The reaction from clergy was to turn a blind eye to the abuse, and to move the offending priest to a new parish, she said.

Without participation by Canadian bishops to deal with the systemic problems that made sexual and physical abuse possible, the church can’t begin to heal itself so it can tackle other problems such as declining church attendance, Kenny added

“We have not addressed, ‘Why has it happened the way it has happened? Why have we dealt with it the way we have?’

“I believe our bishops and our priests need our help big time. I’m not sure we’re going to get that, but it is an issue of concern to me that we’re never going to answer where the Lord’s leading us until we do it together.”

With the bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish, Brian Dunn, looking on, Kenny doesn’t hesitate to bring up the name of the diocese’s former bishop, Raymond Lahey.

Kenny commended Dunn for attending her presentation instead of “running away from it.” The audience gave Dunn an extended round of applause.

Lahey, 71, pleaded guilty in May to importing child pornography and voluntarily went to jail to begin serving time even before a formal sentencing.

Close to 600 photos, mostly of young teenaged boys, were found on Lahey’s laptop and a hand-held device when he was stopped at the Ottawa International Airport in September 2009.

Hearing the news of Lahey’s arrest and charges on her car radio, Kenny said she had to pull over to the side of the road and admitted she was shocked and nearly became physically ill.

“As you know, Raymond Lahey was a priest in Newfoundland at the time of our inquiry. My thought was, ‘Oh my God, what did we not do,’” Kenny said.

Lahey is currently in the sentencing phase of his trial, with another hearing tentatively scheduled for December.



  • Username
    – September 26, 2011 at 11:24:57

    Until they allow priests to marry, this will continue until the end of time.


  • Username
    – September 26, 2011 at 06:35:15

    Untill women are allowed to be priests in the Catholic church things will not change…yet people continue to attend Sunday service and continue to have blind faith in the church.Just this last week a priest was arrested and charged with sexual assault in Hamilton Ontario and it goes on and on…Sadly the Pope continues to pay lip service to this and claims things are getting better….The only way things will get better is for Catholics to speak through their wallets and actions of not going to mass…After a severe downturn in cashflow the Pope may get the message and put in true reforms…


    • Username

      – September 26, 2011 at 11:18:05

      Such an uneducated comment for you to say Catholics should speak through their wallets and actions of not going to mass. Should we not send our children to hockey and baseball because the coach molested children? Should we not send our children to school because a teacher had molested a child ? Why is it OK to stop attending Church but yet still continue to attend or participate in some of the sports where coaches had sexually molested our Children? There were instances where a leader of the Boy Scouts had sexually assaulted several boys as well. Does this mean we should not allow our children to join or attend Boy Scouts. It is not the Church . It is those who work within . Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

  • Username
    – September 26, 2011 at 00:09:46

    That Mount Cashel orphanage was a whole bag of wrong.


    • Username

      – September 26, 2011 at 11:27:28

      If she was on the committee who investigated Mt. Cashel, she has no credibility as far as I am concerned. What we need are priests and religious who actually follow their faith. It’s obvious the former bishop did not; my question is who turned a blind eye and let him into the seminary in the first place, let alone made him a bishop.

17 Responses to Nun talks about sexual abuse by priests

  1. Lina says:

    Many nuns do good work and pray hard.

    Many of these brides of Christs also know about certain priests that are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    I lost respect for some of those nuns who know about certain priests but they still keep their secrets about these priests with THEIR prayers. That is….good news for the Catholic Church nevertheless it’s bad news for the clergy abuse victims.

    Many nuns like to see more progress for their gender in the Roman Catholic Church but there is this problem they are females. It’s so crass and sad.

  2. Cheryl-Helene Thomson says:

    @Shocked: Priests who would be allowed to marry would continue to be child abusers after marriage, if they were already child abusers before marriage, in fact, or in their imaginations. The physical release in the marriage act has nothing to do with molesting children. Just do a little research, and you will find that married scout masters, married Protestant ministers, married school principals, etc., etc., etc., have no more self-control than these criminals in the Catholic Church.

    @DavefromBarrie: Adding women to the ranks of Catholic priests would logically do absolutely nothing to prevent the pedophile priests who graduate from seminary every year from continuing their crimes. Also, women priests would be no more likely to be whistleblowers than women politicians or women CEO’s or women high-ranking officers in the Armed Forces. You could also be sure that the ever-present ‘glass ceiling’ for women professionals would prevent their prevalence as cardinals or bishops.

    @Lina & @Agreed: Since nobody in the Catholic Church is speaking out particularly, it is wonderful, I think, that this woman is at least trying to highlight the problems. She has the Mount Cashel inquiry experience behind her, but you can be sure she was not in a position then to ‘push’ for meaningful change.

    Please note, as I brought out on a phone-in talk show in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a few months ago — Raymond Lahey was a key figure on the scene at Mount Cashel, and he was a big one that got away. The radio show host agreed with me. People there know it. But still, Lahey officiated when the current Archbishop of Newfoundland, Martin Currie, took office.

    What is really the saddest part of all is that the Catholic Church has succeeded in mastering mind control techniques, so that those who still attend Mass have mentally become little children, in a kind of pseudo-family model of long ago. It is a constant struggle for them to really think and vocalize.

    “Don’t criticize Father.” “Don’t contradict Father.” “Don’t argue with Father.”

    For so many, obedience is better than truth.

    The Bible says, “No lie is of the truth.” (1st Letter of John, 2,21)

    “Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Gospel of John, 14,6)

    But paying lip-service only to personal Bible study is part of the mind control game, too, of course. Reminds me of the two young men in seminary who had a conversation which a reader named William who met with them reported to Michael Dimond (and he has posted the whole conversation on the web):

    Me: No one can be saved without baptism, even babies cannot enter heaven.

    Them: Why would God be so unmerciful.

    Me: Cause He said so, in the Bible, and the council of Trent.

    Them: God wouldn’t be so evil, God wouldn’t be such a monster.

    Me: He is the same God who killed every first born in Egypt, and destroyed Sodom and Gomorra.

    Them: That wasn’t God.

    Me: Really, who was it?

    Them: Have you read the scriptures in their original language?

    Me: No.

    Them: Well the term used for the first born in Egypt was THE SPIRIT OF DEATH.

    Me: Oh, so what you say is the devil did it.

    Them: No.

    Me: So it was God.

    Them: No.

    Me: Okay so there are three teams: God the Devil and the Spirit of Death…

    Them: Silent… well God gave us free will. It really comes down to that.

    Me: So free will destroyed Sodom and Gomorra.

    Them: Yeah.

    Me: So let me get this straight, the people of Sodom willed a fireball from the sky to come and kill them.

    Them: Yeah.

    Me: So people with their wills can summon fire from the sky. I could summon a fireball.

    Them: Ummm, yeaah…

  3. Lina says:

    Cheryl-Helene Thomson,

    Yes…it’s good seeing this nun speaking out about the sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church. There should be more Catholic clergy doing it.

    This is so true what you said in your post Cheryl-Helene:

    “What is really the saddest part of all is that the Catholic Church has succeeded in mastering mind control techniques, so that those who still attend Mass have mentally become little children, in a kind of pseudo-family model of long ago. It is a constant struggle for them to really think and vocalize.

    “Don’t criticize Father.” “Don’t contradict Father.” “Don’t argue with Father.”

    For so many, obedience is better than truth.”

    I could easily see myself in that frame of mind for such a long but gladly I’m getting better dealing with those ways.

    The relationship I have it’s between God and myself.

    Many a time I went to that (suppose) sacred place, the Confessional.
    I treated that confessional box like it was a special telephone booth straight to God.

    Anyway, I’m not a good Catholic but I was never good enough before anyhow. I’m not perfect, I’m just human.

  4. Lina: You are a GREAT Catholic! You have a great heart!! You demand justice and still have faith in God despite the sinfulness of some of the priests. Don’t put yourself down! We need more Catholics like you. I may not agree with every position you take, but I would never question how ‘good’ a Catholic/Christian you are.

    Fr. Tim

    • Lina says:

      I do not know about me being a great Catholic? Thanks for your vote of confidence.

      By the way, do you recall those e-mails we shared long ago about a certain male parishioner of yours of 8 years while you were on the Quebec side.

      You know the one who told you he was allegedly sexually molested by a Catholic priest when he was a young boy.

      I will not go in detail how we met but I did meet this man who is probably in is late 50’s.

      He was saying how unhappy he was with the church, the way the Diocese of Pembroke treated him after all the help he gave them.

      It’s obvious this man has serious mental issues.

      Before ending the converstion he wanted to give me something. He pulled out his wallet and gave me a photo of that dead priest that died in the fire.

      Talk about a creepy encounter of the weird kind.

  5. JG says:

    …you don’t need to know the exact words to understand the Spirit …” I was a stranger and you welcomed me in your house…”
    Read your last post again and your “relationship” should dictate your words …from your heart. You’re a stranger to me , that man is a stranger to you and to me as well…and I felt hurt. You understand.

    • Lina says:

      JG…with due respect I do not have the foggest idea what you are talking about.

      Here is a little info I found out, that man I spoke about who gave me the photo of the dead priest, this man is related to Msgr. Robert Borne on his mother side.

  6. JG says:

    If I have to explain about being “generous”, well it won’t be as good… I said what I said to give you some time to reflect…You claim a relationship with God and that is “divine” but you should nurture a good relationship with other human beings as well…because one isn’t without the other.
    It is much easier to call someone else “creepy”, “weird” and with “mental issues”…but very damaging even if he is a stranger and not present…I felt for this “stranger”…
    Personal attacks have become sort of a norm at times without putting much thought into it, on this site and a thousand other places…In all our daily lives I suppose. We don’t have to accept it’s negative effects. I didn’t want to feel or explain this!…

    “I was a stranger and you welcomed me…
    I was hungry and you fed me…
    I was sick and you cared for me…”

    You can google it for more details if it is still foggy…as well as “do unto others as you would…” Those are not just words but a way of Life…to understand and practice.
    You said this man was possibly abused as well…You should have tried to understand where he came from and why. No need to attack his person and to look down on him or anyone else. Maybe it was a gift shared and should have remained yours!
    You can “welcome someone in your house” but in your heart as well…
    I hope this helps or even hurts a little. It will heal with time and we’ll all be better for it…
    I hope you understand I mean well. Please give yourself some time to respond, if you need to.


    • Lina says:

      I do somewhat understand what you are trying to say to me. I could have used more tactful words.

      I was responding to Fr. Tim Moyle’s post to me. He understands the circumstances.

      As for this man ( I will call him Leo, not his real name) he falls in that SMALL percentage I repeat he falls in that SMALL percentage that Leo became a sexual predator himself.

      If you watched the 2 shows on Oprah in her last season the one with over 200 men admitting they were sexually abused as children. That was one of the many fears some of these abused men had. That folks will think and believe they were sexually abusing children and vulnerable youth themselves. I know that is NOT true as well as many others believes that is not true. Nevertheless, that is why many sexually abuse victims stay quiet, keep the secret that they were victims of criminal acts because of that fear of what people would think of them at what they were doing.

      As for Leo, I have a female friend who comes from the Quebec side. In the 1980’s her mother died. Of course her & her family were at the wake. Leo comes in the funeral home out of the blue Leo walks up to a woman and yanks one of her earrings off of her ears. He took the earing and threw it at the deceased in the casket. The reason Leo did this is because when my friend’s mother was alive she would chase Leo out of her yard away from her children. It was well known Leo like going after little boys.

      JG, I believe I am going off topic now as well I having reach my quota for posting here at this site for this day.

      So if any info comes my way about Msgr. Robert Borne I will pass it along here.

      No hard feelings JG.

  7. Larry Green says:

    I am quite certain I know the person Lina is referring to and I am also aware that a lot of people find him to be -and perhaps with sound reason- a very suspicious character which certainly can give rise to mistrust and a sense of fear in any sensible person. Lina for sure is not the only one who senses this from this particular man, among many others are judges, police and a former Bishop ( Richard Smith).
    Without suggesting that we should be judgmental i.e. regarding others values who happen to be different from mine as inferior , we do need to encourage the development in our children from a very early age an ability to be a good judge of character. We need to teach them to trust their instincts and intuition about others because in the absence of this trust in themselves they become easy prey and are much more vulnerable than they need to be. Even in adults a misplaced trust often has devastating consequences. It’s never good to be judgmental but in order to function properly in the real world we need always to be good judges.

    • Lina says:

      Larry, many people in the Pembroke area & Round Lake Center area knows who he is.

      He told me he lives in Renfrew ON but he is seen often in Pembroke.

      This man was helping at the french church supper (in the kitchen) a few weekends ago. (St. Jean-Baptiste Church)

      Larry…I also spoke to Msgr. Robert Borne’s mother lately. Mother to mother.
      She look frail but well. She told me not to go by her appearance. She finds (court procedure long) but she has strong faith in God. She believes in her son that he is innocent and will be free.

      I was happy to see a little Grey nun go up to her and give her a nice hug. My heart goes out this this Monsignor’s Mother.

      Thanks Larry for your post that help JG understand a little better.

      Take care


  8. JG says:

    Thank You Lina and Larry.
    I understand the fear a lot more with your explanations and there is a lot of generosity in your words. I’m always afraid that the actions or lack of actions of the church will erode at that good part of us…WE are asking for answers and getting a dead silence.
    This man was a victim and probably had issues as a child which is probably why he was targeted… Most other victims have continued with their own problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse…loss of self confidence…we all have the list in mind. I just like to be careful not to re-victimize and that is why “the church” ultimately should continue to be called to task.
    We can’t loose ourselves as the church has done.
    I want to reserve judgment for the ones who are ultimately responsible and nurture hope for the victims, their families.
    I’m away a few days. Take care.

  9. john dunbrae says:

    what a relief to know that i will never attend the catholic church again. early childhood was difficult because of the twisted beliefs that were forced on people. the life of christ is totally believable and what goes on in the catholic church is despicable. not to forget the many women in orders who have operated independently of priests and have contributed greatly to society.

  10. bc says:

    Sylvia, I dug out this blog post in particular because this week Arte; the franco-german cultural network aired a very sad and extremely disturbing documentary on the Holy See’s cover-up of clerical abuse of RC nuns worldwide. It took filmmakers two years to produce their film; which ends with two nun victims declining a private audience with Pope Francis in late 2018 because of his refusal to have the filmmakers record the meeting.
    Hopefully it’ll be translated in English.
    At the 70 minute mark, you can hear the original English interview with the National Catholic Reporter which uncovered a massive scandal of clergy in Africa targeting African nuns during the AIDS crisis… because the clergy wasn’t willing to use prostitutes and faithful women for their perversions because it was too risky.

    Here’s the link:

  11. bc says:

    PBS Newshour 10 minute story on nuns being routinely exploited and abused priests… who then force them to get abortions when they become pregnant; Aired June 11th 2019.

  12. bc says:

    … special home in Rome for nuns who were kicked out of their orders and all but left on the street, some forced into prostitution to survive…

    If they don’t prohibit church officials from entering this home they’ll be abused again. If they allow church officials into it; the idea will have been to make it easier for clerical predators to access vulnerable prey. This home will be at the center of another clerical abuse scandals during the next decade.

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