Mediation doesn’t solve Cobourg parish dispute

The bishop of Peterborough, 12 parishioners at St. Michael’s parish in Cobourg, Ont., and former altar server Jim Corcoran failed to come to an agreement at an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal mediation session May 11. Without agreement the question of whether Corcoran was unfairly dismissed from serving at Mass because he is gay will now go to adjudication. The tribunal has yet to work out a timeline that would set a date for the adjudication. Beyond that, the parties have only agreed not to talk about the mediation. “I think we’re under a confidentiality agreement, so I’m not commenting,” Corcoran told The Catholic Register the morning after the May 11 mediation session. Corcoran complained to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal last July that Bishop Nicola De Angelis had unfairly removed him from a volunteer position as an altar server because he is gay. De Angelis claims he asked St. Michael’s pastor Fr. Allan Hood to renew all the volunteer positions and committees at the parish as a way of renewing the life of the parish and putting aside divisions and disputes that had arisen. Corcoran’s complaint to the rights tribunal had asked for a $20,000 donation to charity from each of 12 St. Michael’s parishioners who had written to De Angelis complaining about gay altar servers. Corcoran asked for as much as $25,000 from the diocese to cover legal costs. Corcoran wanted to be restored as an altar server. He also asked that De Angelis apologize and preach a sermon at St. Michael’s on evils of spreading rumours and innuendo that feed hate and discrimination.

If I were bishop, not only would I pledge to ensure that no openly immoral parishoner were an altar server, I would specifically and harshly denounce homosexual behaviour, citing the Catechism 10 ways to Sunday. And I would do it at the closest parish to where Corcoran lives too.  I would also preach on the freedom of association and how homosexualists need a basic education in learning how they cannot force people to associate with them against their wills!

We do not accept your behaviour and never will.  Even if our blood should spill in opposing it.

One thought on “Mediation doesn’t solve Cobourg parish dispute

  1. I think the Bishop should never have conceded the authority of an ‘HRC’ over internal church matters, although I admit I don’t know how one goes about such a rebuttal or if it is even possible. If an HRC can tell Bishops they have to accept openly-gay ministers,

    Mr Corcoran, if memory serves me correctly, has said that he lives continently with his boyfriend. Thus he is not an ‘openly immoral’ parishioner but one by implication if he is lying, or not one at all, if he is telling the truth. I think a true Christian spirit would impel a Christian to live his or life in such a way that others could not be confused on such a matter. Those who presume he is lying do so at their peril, and if they make their presumptions public and state them as fact, great peril. A quiet communication to the Bishop, letting him investigage, is proper. It seems from other news articles about this, though, that Fr Hood might have been playing games with the situation.

    I think a man with same-sex attraction who lives with his ‘boyfriend’ continently puts himself at risk. The continence is to be applauded. The problem is not only activity, which is clear in the Bible, but also identity and character. A man who lives continently with his ‘boyfriend’ has taken perhaps a step in the right direction, but he should not stop there. He should not stay in a relationship that deepens his sense of himself as a ‘gay man’.

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