Former parishioners want full investigation of Bishop Jean-Louis PlouffeThursday, September 27, 2012 by: Kate AdamsFormer Parishioners of Saints-Anges Catholic Church
On Tuesday July 24, I and a few other former parishioners of the now closed Saints-Anges Catholic Church in North Bay, Ontario sent a letter to Cardinal Ouellett, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in Vatican City to bring to His attention a series of matters which we conside to be very grave concerning the actions of Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe, Bishop the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie.
We requested that the Congregation for Bishops initiate a full investigation of Bishop Plouffe and the manner in which he has acted in the matter of the closure of the parish of Ss. Anges and the subsequent sale of our beloved church.
As stated in our letter, we contend that, beginning with the announcement of His decision to suppress Ss. Anges Parish in May 2010 through to this day,
• His Excellency has acted in a manner which has brought grave detriment and disturbance to church unity;
• That he has administered the temporal affairs of the Church poorly and with grave damage to the Church;
• And that this has resulted in the loss of His good reputation among upright and responsible members of the faith community and an aversion to Bishop Plouffe which appears will not cease any time soon.
We decided to undertake this course of action upon reading the decree from the Congregation for the Clergy which denied the appeal of the closure and sale of Corpus Christi church.
The decree stated that Bishop Plouffe had entered into an agreement of sale of Corpus Christi on December 3, 2010, almost a full month before the parish was officially closed.
According to the code of canon law, as long as the parish of Corpus Christi existed, Bishop Plouffe did not have the right to enter into an agreement of sale of the Church of Corpus Christi without the full consent of the parish.
Despite not having such consent, he proceeded to sell the church anyway. When we learned of this apparent violation of the rights of the people of Corpus Christi, we felt we had to take action just like the former parishioners of Corpus Christi had done.
Just like them, we have concerns about the way our church was sold and we want to know if any similar impropriety took place with the closure and sale of Ss. Anges.
Thus, after much reflection and prayer, we have asked the Congregation for Bishops to undertake a thorough review of the parish planning review process which resulted in the closure and sale of three vibrant church communities in North Bay and three other churches in other parts of the Diocese, the specific decisions of Bishop Plouffe in that process, and the subsequent execution of those decisions which we believe have resulted in grave harm to both the members of the Catholic Church and to the Office of Bishop here in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie.
We hope that the Congregation for Bishops will agree to undertake this review and provide recommendations to guide our faith community towards justice and healing for the harms that have been suffered these last two years.