This past Sunday the Toronto Star published an article about whether the priests in the parishes were going to “deal” with the abuse issue. When the request came in to our parish from the paper, the request was simply for a copy of the Easter Homily. There was no interest in whether we had just talked about it on Good Friday, Holy Thursday, Passion Sunday etc.
After consulting with the Communications Dept of the Archdiocese of Toronto, I sent my homily to the Star. An excerpt of my homily that dealt with the scandal was reprinted. However, the general tone of the article was quite disrespectful to the priests. Here is the letter from the Archdiocese to The Star. It has not yet been printed in the paper.
Letter to the Editor re: What will they say?
It is unfortunate that the Toronto Star chose Easter Sunday, the most joyful day in the Christian calendar to misrepresent hundreds of Catholic priests in the GTA.
In a cryptic email to parishes earlier this week, the Star asked, simply for a copy of Easter Sunday sermons, providing no context as to the nature of the story. If they had simply posed the question, “Will you be addressing the abuse crisis at your church this week?”, I have no doubt they would have received countless pastoral replies.
As I told your reporters, many priests would likely use Holy Thursday or Good Friday sermons to address the issue, certainly more appropriate in the context of our sacred readings. Considering the Star received only 10 homilies, is it fair to speculate on what 200+ other parishes would say?
In Canada we have spent more than 20 years working diligently to address this dark chapter in church history. In responding to more than 40 media requests this week, the Archdiocese has discussed the topic candidly, speaking of our shame at the abuse of the past and the tangible steps taken to address theses issues moving forward. Our response is more than an Easter Sunday sermon. It requires prayer, leadership and transparency – we see these qualities at work in the hundreds of priests faithfully serving parishes across the GTA every day of the year.
Neil MacCarthy Director, Public Relations & Communications
Archdiocese of Toronto