January 08, 2005

Compromise sought to honor priest

Bangor Daily News

The people who complained that a party for a former Bangor priest was inappropriate have asked Bishop Richard Malone and a South Portland priest to use the cancellation of the reception for a former pastor as "a chance for open dialogue, better understanding and true healing."

In addition to Malone, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, a letter was sent Thursday to the Rev. Michael Gendreau, pastor of Holy Cross and St. John the Evangelist Catholic churches in South Portland. The letter asked Gendreau to hold "an open forum and discussion at St. John's parish as early as next week."

The letters were signed by Catherine Morin Campbell, a parishioner in South Portland, Paul Kendrick of Cumberland, David Clohessy of St. Louis and Ann Hagan Webb of Boston. Clohessy and Webb head the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. Campbell and Kendrick are members of Voice of the Faithful, a group that advocates for church reform.

"We need to get together and talk about this issue," Campbell said Thursday in a press release that included both letters. "We can't claim to care about abuse victims, while allowing possible predators to be publicly honored. We can't ask victims to come forward for help, while bestowing praise and recognition on someone who covered up for a child molester."

Earlier this week, organizers canceled a reception scheduled to be held Sunday at a South Portland VFW Hall in honor of the Rev. Paul Coughlin. In October, Coughlin was ordered to resign as pastor of the South Portland parishes.

Posted by kshaw at January 8, 2005 09:10 AM