After St. Joe’s, Convicted Child Molester Makes Appearance at Canadian Martyrs Parish

Socon or Bust has reported a few times on Fr. Ed MacNeil, OMI, a convicted child molester whose name used to appear on the directory at St. Joseph’s parish in Ottawa (read here and here) until their website got scrubbed within the last couple of months.

I’ve just learned that Fr. MacNeil also gave a presentation last spring at Canadian Martyrs Church, another Oblates parish located in Ottawa. Here’s the little blurb on page 2 of their April 21-22, 2012 parish bulletin:

THANK YOU- re Lunch & Learn …to Fr. Ed MacNeil for his wonderful presentation on the ‘open tomb and resurrection’

A parish bulletin from two weeks prior provides a bit more detail on the event:

We will be hosting another Lunch and Learn on Sunday, April 15 at 11:00. Fr. Ed MacNeil, omi will speak to us on the empty tomb and the Resurrection. There is a sheet at the back of the church which we would ask you to sign if you plan to attend. We need the numbers for food preparation. (Source)

This talk was clearly open to the entire parish, as evidenced by the announcement in the parish bulletin and the sign-up sheet. Socon or Bust therefore poses the question one more time: why is a convicted child molester doing public ministry in an Oblate parish?

Let me just state that I don’t have any evidence that Fr. Ed MacNeil has engaged in improper behaviour since his release from prison. I pray that, through the grace of God, he has been rehabilitated and that he continues to do penance for his sins. I understand that he has shown remorse and has served his time. I don’t expect him to just crawl under a rock and wait to die. On the contrary, he needs to find a constructive environment in which to exercise his talents for the good of the Church. But it shouldn’t be in public ministry. Given the high relapse rate for this type of behaviour, given the legitimate concerns of many parents for the safety of their children and given the potential for scandal, it’s not pastorally prudent to have him doing public ministry. This isn’t a witch hunt. It’s common sense.

This marks the second Oblate parish in Ottawa where Fr. MacNeil has popped up. Why is this allowed to continue? And what are we, as the community, going to do about it?

3 thoughts on “After St. Joe’s, Convicted Child Molester Makes Appearance at Canadian Martyrs Parish

  1. Will be more grateful that to whom much more has been forgiven.

    I think we still need to keep our eyes open and keep on guard, but throughout history many holy people have “come from the depths of hell of life”, to become really good defenders of the faith, also, helping other people with similar sins to rehabilitate.

    That work can be done in a cloister or in public, wherever God wants that person to do his ministry if that person is still being called and following it.

    I remember a guy in my school being accused of stealing, whose director gave him the option of quietly leaving the school, or in public declare his fault and ask for forgiveness. He chose the second option, and I do admire that still today, even though he had to live for years with that public pointer from the public, you seem to use today, which is some kind of purgatory in advance for that person. Good for the one who chose to go public and good for the one who goes to the cloister. Any form is valid, as long as it is in accordance to the Will of God.

    Had you participated in a fun raising event for the newly born Christian Church with the “popular” speaker Mary Magdalene? Would I go? probably yes. Would my wife let me go? Probably not. Would you take your children to participate in this priest’s talks? Probably not. Would I take mine? Probably not, either. Would those talks help other ones to convert and grow in their faith? Probably yes.

    As long as he is not against us, he is forth us.

    • You raise some good points, although there’s a big difference between a prostitute and a sex offender, because the former doesn’t pose a threat to unsuspect innocent people. The latter does. That’s why er cannot allow, through action or omission, for little ones to be exposed to such a grave danger.

      If an adult chooses to do ministry in a dangerous place, like a war zone, that’s their free choice as an adult. But we can’t force innocent civilians to go into war zones against their will. Likewise, families have the right texpect that their church community is safe for their children.

      I sure hope that +MacNeil is fully converted. But we can’t pretend that the last 50 years of sex abuse didn’t happen. We have to learn and be more prudent.

  2. A priest, will be a priest forever, here, in purgatory, Heaven, or hell, and if he feels remorse for what he did, probably he is looking for the best way of doing it, or even better, who knows, probably he may be obeying against his will to go and talk in public, but then whoever gave the order knows what he is doing.

    What has more merit? just to hide and go solo, or confront the situation to try to lessen the damage somehow?

    The note says that Reverend Father McNeil gave a presentation, not a homily, hence, people could have chosen to go or not.

    I do apologize with Saint Mary Magdalene. I should not have chosen her as an example. I was not living at that time, but probably there were people on both bands, ones who accepted her back and loved her unconditionally, and maybe other ones, probably a very small number, that still had some apprehension towards her.

    Saint Catherine of Sienna wrote the following which Jesus told her: “I do not wish the respect which priests should be given to be in any way diminished; for the reverence and respect which is shown them is not referred to them but to Me, by virtue of the Blood which I have given to them to administer. Were it not for this, you should render them the same reverence as lay people, and no more… You must not offend them; by offending them you offend Me and not them. Therefore I forbid it and I have laid it down that you shall not touch my Christs.”

    We have to be very prudent if we dare to talk anything bad about a priest or even to try to judge their actions, no matter how sinner the priest may be. We just need to gather together and pray.

    If we did talk, that could have reached a sin level, which ust be confessed to obtain forgiveness.

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