Tag Archives: Diocese

Gionet’s Courage…

"We must not encourage evil, whatever form it takes....” Rev. Donat Gionet

Pastoral sensitivity? ..  …  .. It was a hard decision? ..  … .. Hogwash! And that’s exactly what’s being poured forth from the Diocese of Bathurst concerning 85-year-old retired Catholic Priest Rev. Donat Gionet, whose faith in the face of cowardice obliges me to create on this site the first-ever St. Michael [The Archangel] Award for Courage.

The story goes:

An elderly priest on the Acadian Peninsula [Canada] has been barred from performing church services in the Bathurst diocese after he made remarks about homosexuals and women who have had an abortion.

The sermon Rev. Donat Gionet, 85, gave at the Roman Catholic church in Saint-Leolin while replacing the regular parish priest late last month generated a firestorm that culminated with a call for Gionet to be relieved of his duties.

He stands by the comments he made in Saint-Leolin, a village of about 730 people located about 50 kilometres east of Bathurst.

Reached in Caraquet on Wednesday afternoon, Gionet declined an interview. He did, however, provide a written statement.

In a letter in French he provided to the The Daily Gleaner, Gionet wrote the sermon was about the destruction of the church and the need to seek forgiveness for past sins:

“I said: … ‘Today, it is we Catholics who are destroying our Catholic Church. We need only look at the number of abortions among Catholics, look at the homosexuals, and ourselves.’ (That’s when I pointed at my chest – through that action I wanted to say, we the priests) and I continued saying: We are destroying our church ourselves. And that’s when I said that those were the words expressed by Pope John Paul II. At that point, in the St-Leolin church only, I added: We can add to that the practice of watching ‘gay’ parades, we are encouraging this evil … What would you think of someone who seeing what was happening on (Sept.) 11, 2001, the crumbling of the towers, had begun clapping? We must not encourage evil, whatever form it takes.”

Joseph Lanteigne, the gay mayor of Saint-Leolin, welcomed word Bishop Valery Vienneau has revoked Gionet’s rights to serve mass across the Diocese of Bathurst.

“The action taken by the diocese is good, and I know it isn’t easy for the diocese. I can say I think the diocese has a bigger heart than Father Gionet,” Lanteigne said, speaking in French.

Since the incident, Gionet has quit his position on the Saint-Leolin parish’s pastoral committee.

Lanteigne said the parish’s regular priest, Rev. Rejean Landry, has apologized to him and to parishioners and he doesn’t see the church as being as closed as it once was.

“We’re not in 1920 anymore; the church has to be more open. And I think that based on the actions of the diocese, that shows the church is more open,” he said.

Rev. Wesley Wade, vicar general of the Diocese of Bathurst, said while Gionet’s views don’t stray from church teachings, they don’t meet the diocese’s goal of following Christ’s example of loving unconditionally.

“We have to respect people on their own journey,” Wade said.

“The first message of Christ was to reveal to us a loving father and a merciful father and that we are all called to be his children and that we are all loved unconditionally by Him.”

While the church gets criticized as a judgmental institution, Wade said the reality is it’s full of compassion.

“There’s truth, as we see it – the gospel, but also love of people and compassion and understanding of situations and the mercy of God. There’s always the two elements, truthfulness and also the realities of life – that people don’t feel excluded from the body of Christ, unless they exclude themselves,” Wade said.

“They are there in the Church to hear the word and to be changed by the word, too. They are very precious in the eyes of God.

“We didn’t challenge what he said. That’s the morality of the church and the commandments.

“It’s his pastoral approach, how to present it to people today.”

In a letter to parishioners earlier this week, Vienneau said Gionet had been pulled from active ministry.

At a meeting last week, Gionet told Vienneau he had no plans to change or temper his comments.

Gionet also said as a priest, he has a duty to encourage those who aren’t living their lives according to Catholic teachings to mend their ways.

Contact Information:

Most Rev. Valéry Vienneau, Bishop of Bathurst
645, avenue Murray
C.P. 460
Bathurst, NB E2A 3Z4
Tel: (506) 546-1420
Fax: (506) 548-5565
E-mail: valeryv@nb.aibn.com

(Full Text) Bishop Cupich: Clarification of diocesan position

From the Catholic Diocese of Spokane…

Bishop Cupich: Questions about involvement in the 40 Days for Life Program
September 16, 2011

During his first visit with the Respect Life Committee of the Diocese of Spokane Bishop Cupich expressed his gratitude for the commitment of the members. He also shared with them his plan to place emphasis on education. Surveys show that Catholics by and large mirror the general population when it comes to attitudes and decisions made about life issues. The present political environment has become very toxic and polarizing, to the point that people have become fixed in their positions, especially in regard to abortion, and are unwilling to talk to each other. The pastoral challenge is to get people to take a second look at the issue of abortion.

It was on the occasion of his visit with the committee that the prospect of having the 40 Days for Life operate in the Diocese of Spokane this year arose. He expressed admiration for the many lay men and women dedicated to keeping the protection of the unborn a priority in society. While the 40 Days for Life program is not a Catholic initiative nor endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he concluded that participation in it and in vigils by individuals or associations of Catholics was possible. At the same time, he indicated that he would not consider it under the umbrella of the respect life efforts of the Diocese. The Catholic Church is concerned about a broad range of respect life issues and has a pastoral tradition which shapes its approach. It is critical that we rely on programs initiated by the Church, lest our concerns and our pastoral approach be defined too narrowly. The committee expressed support for this approach and their eagerness to work with the Bishop towards the goals he outlined.

When visiting with the presbyterate, the Bishop asked the priests to approach respect life issues as teachers, for that is what they are. Teachers create new openings for learning and reduce obstacles. Their intense passion to share the truth leads them to greater patience and prudence and not frustration with and disdain for students who fail to respond appropriately. Their witness to the faith through teaching becomes all the more powerful when the presbyterate works together in unity and solidarity.

It is also important, the Bishop noted, to keep in mind that oftentimes decisions about abortions are not made primarily in clinics. Such decisions are made around kitchen tables and in living rooms and they frequently involve a sister, daughter, relative or friend who may have been pressured or abandoned by the man who fathered the child. Attitudes too are formed in homes and families. This would seem to suggest, the Bishop told the priests, “that our primary efforts as teachers need to be focused on our families and our parish communities, always demonstrating solidarity with vulnerable women.”

As for the specific question of the priests’ participation in the 40 Days for Life vigils, the Bishop recognizes that a given priest in good conscience may feel the need to participate in the vigils and he should never be forced to go against a good and informed conscience. The Bishop only asked that all priests prayerfully reflect on what he has told them, commit themselves to making teaching effectively their first priority and keep in mind the irreplaceable power of the witness of their unity with each other.

Questions about limiting respect life and other materials dealing with social policy issues to publications of the diocesan bishop, USCCB and the WSCC

When the three diocesan bishops, all of whom are new to their dioceses in Washington State, met to review policies of the WSCC, they were asked if they wanted to reaffirm the policy of limiting distribution of respect life and other materials dealing with social policy issues to those published “by the diocesan bishop, the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB.” This policy has been in force for at least 20 years. The bishops decided to continue this policy.

It’s “Hammer Time” in the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Bishop Daniel F. Walsh Resigns…
In Randy Engel’s book, “The Rite of Sodomy, Homosexuality And The Roman Catholic Church”, we discover that ‘Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel F. Walsh’s complicity in the escape to Mexico of Jesuit Father Xavier Ochoa, accused of the sexual molestation of a 12-year-old altar boy in Sonoma County, should come as no surprise to Catholics who have followed Walsh’s early clerical career as vicar general and auxiliary bishop under Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco…’ Now, with the resignation of Walsh and coming ascendancy of Bishop Vasa within the Diocese of Santa Rosa, it should come as no surprise that sound Catholic orthodoxy will soon be returning to many areas of that long-troubled diocese… These erring folks see it coming… The story follows.
US bishop resigns after alleged paedophile  homosexual flees
(AFP) – 1 day ago VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday accepted the resignation of a US bishop accused of allowing an alleged paedophile priest from his diocese to flee to Mexico, as the Vatican takes action on abuses. Bishop Daniel Walsh of the diocese of Santa Rosa in California resigned under an article in Catholic Church law invoking a “grave cause”, which can include a failure by the prelate in question to denounce a case of paedophilia. Walsh, 74, is one year younger than the minimum retirement age for bishops. Benedict last year called for a zero tolerance approach to child abuse by clergymen and called on bishops to work together with local law enforcement, following thousands of paedophile scandals across Europe and the United States. Father Xavier Ochoa admitted to the bishop in April 2006 that he had abused young boys but the police were only told three days later by a diocesan lawyer. By that time, Ochoa had fled to Mexico where he is still at large. The diocese was ordered to pay five million dollars (3.5 million euros) to the three victims, as well as 20,000 dollars from Walsh personally. The alleged acts committed by Ochoa included rape and forced oral sex.

(Full Text) Archbishop Dolan blogs response to scandal chaser’s allegation

“I owe it to all of you — both the Catholic and wider community — to be very clear about the ridiculous and groundless gossip spread about me by a tort lawyer named Jeff Anderson…”

I owe it to all of you — both the Catholic and wider community — to be very clear about the ridiculous and groundless gossip spread about me by a tort lawyer named Jeff Anderson.

You may have heard this man claim that, when I was Archbishop of Milwaukee, I “hid’ $130 million of archdiocesan funds so victims of clergy sexual abuse could not sue for it.

Malarkey! The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has an excellent record of fiscal integrity and transparency. I worked hard at that, and my successor, Archbishop Listecki, continues to do so. (By the way, you might also be interested to know that during my years as Archbishop of Milwaukee, and with the generous service of many dedicated people, we established a mediation process that reached settlements with almost 200 victim survivors; that mediation process has been praised by the victim survivors who have participated in the process.)

In my seven years there, the meager resources of the archdiocese were under the vigilance of a sound and respected finance council, composed of prominent and respected business leaders from the financial community; annually we were audited; and each year there was complete, published financial disclosure. You can find the audited financial statements here. To claim that, given this rigorous supervision, an archbishop could have “hidden” $130 million, is beyond ridiculous.

I do want you to know that, when I arrived as archbishop, the financials showed that parishes had $70 million of their peoples’ money on deposit with the archdiocese. This was not archdiocesan money at all, but belonged to parishes. That’s why the finance council, and our outside professional auditors, advised me that it was inappropriate for the archdiocese to hold money for parishes, and that it should be returned to the parishes to which it belonged anyway. This was done, and publicly reported in the annual audit.

So much for “hidden funds.” Far from inappropriate, this decision was virtuous, open, and in accord with the clear directives of the professionals on our finance council and outside auditors.

The archdiocese of Milwaukee has issued an enlightening statement speculating that this lawyer’s reckless charges also included “hiding” the “cemetery fund,” which, of course, by state law, is scrupulously protected, and cannot be touched or transferred by anybody.

So, these silly charges are baloney. Unfortunately, this man got the attention he wanted and has come to expect from the news, tarnishing the good name of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and of me. Some of our priests reported that people at Sunday Mass asked them “Why did Archbishop Dolan hide those funds?”

Lord knows I’ve made mistakes, but “hiding” $130 million is hardly one of them!

P.S. The Catholic League issued a statement on this matter today. You can read it here.

Bishop Vasa to Santa Rosa

“My 11 years in the Diocese of Baker have been a grace and blessing for me, and while I have experienced a number of challenges in the diocese, I can say that I have never regretted saying ‘yes’ the first time the apostolic nuncio contacted me.”

The Most Rev. Robert Francis Vasa, 59, Catholic bishop of the Baker Diocese, will become coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in Northern California on March 4. Eventually, Vasa will succeed Bishop Daniel Walsh, 73, who requested the help of a coadjutor bishop. Catholic bishops submit their resignations at age 75. When Walsh resigns, Vasa will become bishop.

The announcement was made today, Jan. 24, by the papal nuncio in Washington, D.C. The Diocese of Baker, with its headquarters in Bend, includes about 40,000 Catholics.

Vasa has been bishop of Baker since 2000. He’s known as a defender of orthodox Catholic teaching, which some consider under attack from within and outside of the church. He required lay ministers within the Baker Diocese to sign an oath of fidelity. In February 2010, he endedCatholic sponsorship of St. Charles Medical Center in Bend because doctors there performed tubal ligations, a sterilization procedure, on women.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Baker said an apostolic administrator will be named while the church searches for a bishop to take Vasa’s place.

— Nancy Haught, OregonLive.com

Boston Archdiocese Announces Policy to Admit Children of Gay Parents

“What were they thinking?”

They did it.  Today the Archdiocese of Boston released the policy to officially admit children of gay and lesbian parents to Catholic schools.  We just received this message from a local Catholic reader of the blog and we’re publishing it just as we received it.  To: Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi cc: Cardinal Sean O’Malley and members of the Boston Presbyteral Council I would like to ask for the immediate intervention by the Apostolic …

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via Bryan Hehir Exposed