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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Let's Talk About it

Some of the members have expressed concern to me over the time of the Society's existence about Sylvia's Site. I have always had a 'wait and see' attitude, fueled in no small part by my desire to extend a little bit more slack toward the victim lobby than pure jurisprudential reason alone would allow. Today, however, I was rather disturbed by what I read in her latest post: read it here.

I have communicated with Sylvia a few times over the last few years and have always found her to be very humble and obliging. That has tended to reassure me. Yet I have read enough about justice going bad to have been really disturbed by the kind of things I was reading in this latest post.

I think more - much more - work needs to be done to clean out the Church, and in that regard I am 100% alongside the goal of her blog. Yet a blog is not a private sphere of private contemplation. Legislation is catching up with the internet and perhaps some day we will have a better idea of what constitutes online defamation, etc. But so far, a blogger seems to have a great deal of freedom to harm another's good reputation. I am practically libertarian when it comes to free speech, but fueling speculation that another person is perpetrating, or has perpetrated, illegal activities should be against the law, in my opinion. Frankly, priests don't have it easy these days, and it is the fault of the few bad apples, not the majority. Law is at its best when it serves to ensure every person receives due-process, including the presumption of innocence.

As many of you know, I spent one year in the seminary. When I announced my desire to become a priest, a family member, someone very dear to me, said, "I hope you don't become one of those molesters." Suspicion hurts. It is unchristian. But people are astronomically stupid, even the best of us. Because of human stupidity, we need law. Innocent people deserve it, and it is usually very difficult to sort out the innocent from the guilty - that is why the legal system is so expensive to run.

If you want to make sure that none of the guilty get away, you employ the tactics of someone like Joseph Stalin. But no one got away from Stalin, neither the innocent nor the guilty.

So, now that I have stacked the deck, I put the question out in the open, as all these things deserve to be: should I remove Sylvia's Site from the SCCB roll or not? I am all ears.


  1. No. These priests and higher ups give the church a bad name and make all clergy look like boy/teen rapists. They need to be OUTED!!! It is the expression, the world is evil because good men (and women) do nothing. Unfortunately, as done in past too often, ecclesial offices in dioceses take too little action to prevent them, or cover up these priests' crimes themselves (or have the pedos working IN the offices themselves), so sadly, it's up to the laity to reveal their crimes in the light.

    In addition, I hope Colin that you take a firmer stance on blogs with regards to defamation of character and detraction, slander, calumny, etc. I agree that blogs and their owners/authors can take this too far, and have seen some myself do this too much in past. If someone is caught doing it, that with fair warning, you remove them from your feed, and publically announce them too that their principles are NOT Catholic.

    But don't remove Sylvia for now. The Church, and these priests, and victims, deserve their justice!

    1. Well, Julian, except that there is no 'outing' of Bp Emeritus Wingle for the simple reason that he has been accused of nothing. There is not one thing going on in that post except idle speculation and innuendo. Yes, his resignation could have been handled better and neither I nor you know exactly why he left office so precipitiously... but this is several years ago, his successor has been in place for some time, and if there was anything shady about it, I think some credible accusations, backed by some, you know, facts, would have surfaced by now. In the absence of any facts, I think a charitable silence is the Christian attitude to take.
      I especially love (not) the scare quotes around he 'said' Mass and 'gave' the homily. Weird!
      As for keeping Sylvia's site on SCCB - well, I don't intend to judge her by one post, so reserve my opinion on the matter, for what it's worth (not much...).

  2. In browsing Sylvia's site I was very much letdown to see Fr. Lucien Larre's name in with all the other names. It states that Fr. Larre was aquitted of sexual abuse charges, but that he was convicted on physical abuse charges of minors.

    Fr. Larre is a living saint. He was fictitiously accused of sexual abuse and then received a bogus conviction of physical abuse. Fr. Larre's work in Saskatchewan is legendary, and he continues to be one of the few bright spots around with the retreats he gives (despite his advanced age). It hurts to see his name thrown in with everyone else on the list. I wonder how many other priests there are on this site that receive a guilt-by-association, simply because they also were falsely accused?