St. John's, N.L., diocese to sell property to settle Mount Cashel abuse claims

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Roman Catholic parishes in the St. John's area heard today that resolving the harm caused to victims of abuse at Mount Cashel orphanage is going to bring about a major restructuring of parishes and the diocese.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada refused the archdiocese's application to challenge an earlier decision by the province's Appeal Court, leaving the church liable for abuse committed in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

A letter to parishioners from St. John's Archbishop Peter Hundt says in coming weeks some church-owned properties will be listed on the real estate market to help pay the compensation.

Hundt also says there will be "consolidation and downsizing at both the diocesan and parish levels."

The letter to parishioners notes that the Christian faith isn't based on buildings, and the church has a duty to be compassionate to victims who experienced abuse.

The recent court decision means the archdiocese has to pay the four lead plaintiffs about $2 million, divided among them.

There are dozens more survivors, and lawyers have said there's now a clear path for them to seek compensation as well.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press