Canadian Catholic Church may be driven to bankruptcy by sex abuse lawsuits, says priest

The Catholic Church in Canada could be driven to bankruptcy because of the numerous ongoing sex abuse lawsuits against priests which could easily cost millions of dollars, according to a local archbishop.

(REUTERS / Pat Kane)The Roman Catholic Church of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus stands in Deline, Northwest Territories, Canada. September 6, 2016.

Speaking to CBC News in an interview, Moncton's Archbishop Valéry Vienneau said their diocese previously had money "but doesn't anymore." It is worth noting that 32 out of the 56 ongoing sex abuse lawsuits in the province of New Brunswick stem from the past deeds of a deceased priest from their diocese named Camille Leger, The Church Militant relayed.

A recent report by the CBC outlined the financial repercussions of the sex abuse cases on the Catholic Church in New Brunswick. The archdiocese of Moncton shelled out 10.6 million Canadian dollars for the 109 alleged abuse victims from 2012 to 2014, while Bathurst had to pay CA$5.5 million  to 90 alleged victims.

"And to say that the bankruptcy would fix things is, I think, quite improbable. Because there are no assets left except the churches themselves. And I don't know who would want to buy a church," CBC quoted Michel Bastarache as saying.

Vienneau added: "Hopefully, we won't have to go there, but if we have to ... we'll see."

Meanwhile, The Canadian Press reported that a priest in Ottawa had been suspended after being sued in a $2-million sex abuse lawsuit filed for students at the Catholic boarding school of College Servite in Ayer's Cliff. The lead plaintiff accused Father Jacques Desgrandchamps of using alcohol on him before incidents of sexual abuse took place from 1973 to 1975.

The plaintiff's lawyer, Robert Kugler, said his client had decided to come forward despite remaining anonymous after discovering that the priest was still working. He said the man's own accounts of abuse will help other victims who also do not need to publicly identify themselves in order to receive compensation for priestly abuse.

In light of the lawsuit, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast issued a statement that said they were looking into the situation. The archdiocese also declared its commitment to keep their campuses safe for minors and other vulnerable individuals.