In a decision that confirms its right to proactively reach out to victims of sexual abuse by priests, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, N.B., has been awarded $3.4 million in a dispute with its insurance company.

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QUEBEC CITY – As many Canadians mark National Acadian Day Aug. 15, the biggest Acadian diocese in the world is going through the greatest crisis in its history.
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OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president has written to the Archbishop of Moncton to offer condolences after the shooting deaths of three Mounties in the Maritime city June 4.

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Valery Vienneau of Bathurst, New Brunswick, to be the new archbishop of Moncton.

The Vatican announced June 15 that Pope Benedict had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Andre Richard, who will reach the usual retirement age of 75 June 30.

Archbishop Vienneau, 64, had led the Diocese of Bathurst since 2002.

Born in Cap-Pele, he earned degrees in philosophy and in education from the University of Moncton and taught in public schools for nine years. He later entered the seminary, studying in Ottawa, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 for the Archdiocese of Moncton.

He served in parish ministry and as a university chaplain until 2000, when he was appointed to lead a reorganization of several parishes and to train members of parish pastoral teams.

Archbishop Richard leaves the archdiocese after appointing former Supreme Court Judge Michel Bastarache to finish conducting a conciliation process with sexual abuse victims in the archdiocese within a year. The victims allegedly were abused by the late Father Camille Leger between 1957 and 1980. Father Leger, who died in 1990, was never convicted of any crimes.

Bastarache led a similar process with more than 90 sexual abuse victims in the Diocese of Bathurst in 2010. Nearly 80 of those victims chose to settle through the conciliation process.

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Former Supreme Court Judge Michel Bastarache plans to wrap up a conciliation process with sexual abuse victims in the archdiocese of Moncton within a year.

Bastarache has been tapped by Archbishop André Richard to meet with victims of Fr. Camille Léger and award monetary settlements of $15,000 to $300,000. The archdiocese has also been offering counselling to victims through the Beauséjour Family Crisis Centre since April.

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