Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Toronto

Cardinal Collins: ‘Evil’ must be rooted out to renew Church

  • August 23, 2018

The “evil” in the Church can and must be “rooted out,” Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins says.

In an Aug. 23 letter to the faithful of the archdiocese, Collins responded to the recent revelations of clerical sex abuse and cover-up in the Pennsylvania grand jury report with a call for Catholics to pray for the victims.

“Once in the open, evil can be rooted out,” wrote Collins. “That must happen. Then new life can begin, the life of joyful holiness to which Jesus invites us all.”

The grand jury report detailed allegations against more than 300 priests in cases involving over 1,000 children with six dioceses in Pennsylvania. Pope Francis said “no effort must be spared” to prevent future cases of abuse.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops also responded to the report, saying in a Aug. 20 release that “Catholics across our country are rightly ashamed and saddened” by the findings.

Collins said there must be a “culture of accountability” for Church leaders.

“To our shame, some clergy have used the gift of the holy priesthood to betray innocent young lives through abuse and control,” he wrote. “We have seen examples of this even among bishops; a sickening display of power, lust and self-centredness.”

Bishops, he said, must be a model for priests and lead by example “through a life centred on Jesus.”

“We must also regain the trust that has been broken among many who have turned away from the Church on learning of these scandals around the world,” he said, “and even more among faithful practising Catholics who are rightly enraged by incidences of abuse and the failure to deal with them.”

Collins pointed out that since the late 1980s, the Church in Canada has been taken measures to address abuse. In Toronto, the archdiocese created a Safe Environment Policy, which includes extensive screening for those involved in ministry and procedures to deal with alleged misconduct.

“The program of formation and discernment has been deepened and lengthened so that those who are ordained are prepared well to serve us as happy, healthy and holy priests,” said Collins. 

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Good morning Cardinal Collins. I wrote a long message to you, but I think I pressed the wrong button and lost it. So here it comes again. First of all I want to send my best wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2020. My name is Gilaine Porter and I...

Good morning Cardinal Collins. I wrote a long message to you, but I think I pressed the wrong button and lost it. So here it comes again. First of all I want to send my best wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2020. My name is Gilaine Porter and I met you in Edmonton when you served there. Then I ran into you at the Toronto airport and you told me that you were in the process of moving there. It is funny that when you meet someone, you have a good feeling about that person and I felt that when we met. I am a very busy person retired out at Pigeon Lake and Christmas and New Years have passed and my old mind is ticking. Well I am on a new mission. But I will give you a bit of history on my latest quest. My husband and I retired out at Pigeon Lake in 1999. We had our new home built by a wonderful young man, Neil Lemieux and his father Regis. 10 years later, Neil was building a garage for his uncle in BC and his uncle asked him to join him at mass. Neil explained that he no longer goes to church. When his uncle asked why, Neil explained that he had been sexually abused by father Lynch. Shortly after Neil committed suicide. His mother Gail at his service told me about the uncle telling her about the sexual abuse. I told her that she must tell bishop Smith. She didn't want to, but I told her that if she didn't, I would. So she did meet with bishop Smith. Then father Lynch who was serving at our church at the lake was all of a sudden relieved of his duties and sent to the US. This is so wrong. To sexually abuse anyone is a criminal offence and anyone doing so should be charged and serve the penalty. When I was growing up my father always told me if there was something that I felt was wrong then instead of whining or crying about it I should make it right. So here we go. I am planning on sitting down with the chief of police in Edmonton and picking his brain, but then I thought I would check and see if there was any way of contacting you. And sure enough there was your website and it sounds as if we are of the same mindset when it comes to abuse. I hope that you have a chance to get back to me and give me some insights on your thoughts. My email is: .
On a different note, we have been to Rome many times as my aunt lived there, and we loved it. So if you get a chance and you are sitting at a wonderful café, please enjoy a glass of wine and a wonderful meal for me.

Take care and I will look forward to hearing from you -- Gilaine Porter

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