Archdiocese of St. John's to sell church properties to pay Mount Cashel victims

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The Archdiocese of St. John's says it will be downsizing and selling off some church properties to compensate victims of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. (CBC - image credit)
The Archdiocese of St. John's says it will be downsizing and selling off some church properties to compensate victims of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. (CBC - image credit)

The Archdiocese of St. John's says it will be downsizing and selling off some church properties to compensate victims of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1950s.

In a letter read during masses and sent to media Sunday, Archbishop Peter Hundt wrote that the archdiocese is working on a "major restructuring plan to provide a resolution to the victims claims."

"This plan will involve consolidation and downsizing at both the diocesan and the parish levels. While the resolution of these claims will have significant implications for the parishes and parishioners of our archdiocese, we must remember that the Catholic faith is not based on bricks and mortar," the letter read.

"Over the coming weeks you may expect to see some properties listed on the real estate market. There may also be discussions at a parish level around potential changes that may come.… We are still very much in an information gathering stage."

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled the Archdiocese of St. John's was not liable for abuse at the orphanage in 2018, but a subsequent appeal by the victims was successful in overturning that decision in the Court of Appeals of Newfoundland and Labrador in July 2020.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected an application from the archdiocese for an appeal, ending a painstaking process for victims who were abused at the orphanage when they were children which had been working through the courts for 21 years.

Following the Supreme Court of Canada's decision, lawyers for the victims said more victims could come forward and seek compensation following the ruling.

In a letter to parishioners last month, Hundt said the claims would "have significant implications" for the parishes and parishioners of the archdiocese.

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