A parish priest at Mount Cashel in the 1950s would have been aware of an option to deal outside the secrecy of confession with a boy’s report of sexual abuse by a Christian Brother, an expert on canon law agreed in court this morning.
Fr. Francis Morrissey, an Ottawa-based canon law expert, continued testifying for the church at the Mount Cashel civil trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court Tuesday. This photo was taken during a court break. — Photo by Barb Sweet/The Telegram
That option was for the priest to tell the boy to report it to the Brother Superior. However, if the child was reluctant, the priest could ask the boy to give the information to him outside confession.
Once outside confession, the priest was free to take the information to the Brother Superior or the appropriate authorities, Morrissey agreed.
Morrissey was never a priest in Newfoundland, so noted he has no direct knowledge of the events focused on in the trial.
Some 60 victims of physical and sexual abuse by certain members of the lay order Christian Brothers during the period late 1940s to early ’60s say the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. should be held liable for what happened to them.
The church contends it wasn’t responsible because it did not oversee Mount Cashel.
Follow @bsweettweets for live updates from the courtroom.
Full story to come later online and in print Wednesday.