Fr. Joe Gorman Register file photo

Popular priest told to "take time away" from duties at Aurora parish

By 
  • February 5, 2015

A popular pastor has been asked to step aside for a "period of reflection" after financial and ecclesiastical "irregularities" were uncovered in a large Archdiocese of Toronto parish.

Fr. Joe Gorman was asked to take some time away from Our Lady of Grace parish in Aurora to reflect on his role as pastor after the archdiocese confirmed financial issues and two cases of "serious civil and ecclesiastical irregularities" related to weddings performed by Gorman. He has not been removed as pastor.

The 38-year-old priest was found to have performed a marriage in which one of the parties had failed to obtain an annulment of a previous marriage. In a more serious incident, he married a Catholic couple in an Anglican chapel despite being expressly denied permission by the archdiocese to do so. He then falsified a copy of the marriage record to conceal his participation in the marriage, according to an archdiocese spokesman.

In the eyes of the Church, both marriages are invalid.

The financial issues were of lesser concern. They related to improper accounting of some smaller special collections in the parish. The archdiocese said there is no reason to believe Gorman receive any personal financial benefit when he failed to follow protocols that "provide transparency to protect both the community and the pastor."

Many parishioners of Our Lady of Grace, a parish with about 6,000 families, have been rallying around Gorman. An online petition organized by a group called "concerned citizens of Our Lady of Grace" received more than 2,500 signatures, many accompanied by glowing praise for Gorman, before it was closed on Feb. 4. The petition asked Cardinal Thomas Collins to appoint a mediator to help facilitate Gorman's return and "we ask for transparency, due process and clear communication to help us through these difficult times."

When Auxiliary Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick explained in a statement at Sunday Masses on Feb. 1 that Gorman had been asked to "take some time away from the parish," several parishioners stood and loudly objected. They demanded Gorman be immediately reinstated.

The statement from the archdiocese indicated the situation with Gorman has been ongoing for several months and "the Archdiocese of Toronto has been working closely with Fr. Gorman, to support his role as pastor."

"We recognize this is a very difficult situation for all involved," read the statement.

The Cardinal asked Gorman to inform his parishioners at the end of January that the pastor would be leaving the parish for a short period of prayer and reflection, but the priest chose not to do so.

Gorman was not available for comment.

The archdiocese said it ultimately acted in response to an "ongoing pattern" by Gorman to disregard Church procedures. That was particularly the case when Gorman married a Catholic couple from his parish in an Anglican chapel "after being advised on more than one occasion this was not permitted," according to Neil MacCarthy, the archdiocese director of communications. Gorman then falsely indicated on marriage papers that another minister had performed the ceremony.

"This activity was contrary to the laws of the Catholic Church and violated the civil marriage act, putting his own licence to celebrate weddings in jeopardy," said MacCarthy.

"This was not a rash decision," said MacCarthy. "It followed ongoing discussions over several months with Fr. Gorman."

Comments (4)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hypothetically, if a priest on sabbatical sleeps with a woman is this considered acceptable to the laws of the Catholic Church?

Amanda
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Catwilson, great article written by someone close. Jealousy, how is that perceived in the church? Let's see an article on that Deacon Doug

Kathleen
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Among all this situation with Fr Joe Gorman there is an article to be reflected upon:
“The priesthood is the last place we would expect to find a narcissist, that is, a person with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder...
http://www.lifeissues.net/w...

Among all this situation with Fr Joe Gorman there is an article to be reflected upon:
“The priesthood is the last place we would expect to find a narcissist, that is, a person with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder...
http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/mcm/mcm_219narcissisminpriesthood.html

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catwilson
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This Parish had a priest who was a convicted pedophile in its midst in the 1990's. The Pastor at the time told the parishioners that he had a drinking problem and had been treated at Southdown. Now really? Was it right for the Pastor to...

This Parish had a priest who was a convicted pedophile in its midst in the 1990's. The Pastor at the time told the parishioners that he had a drinking problem and had been treated at Southdown. Now really? Was it right for the Pastor to blatantly lie? The transgressions of Fr. Gorman pale.

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Aurora
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