April 23, 2006

'May our Lord forgive me'

Rutland Herald

April 23, 2006

By KEVIN O'CONNOR Staff Writer

On Jan. 25, 1972, John Marshall became Vermont's seventh Catholic bishop. Two months later, an arsonist burned Burlington's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to the ground. Five days after that, an Indiana priest wrote Marshall a letter that last week sparked a firestorm of disclosures.

"Dear Bishop Marshall, My congratulations upon your consecration as bishop and appointment to the Diocese of Burlington. I am very sorry to read about the Cathedral being badly burned and damaged in the recent fire. My name is Father Edward Paquette. I am requesting of you, Bishop Marshall, to serve my priestly ministry in your diocese."

Paquette went on to write that he had been a priest for 15 years, that he was working in the Midwest, that he wanted to move east to be closer to his aging parents. Almost as an aside, he included one more sentence: "I did have problems but received medical treatment, and I am now cured."

Paquette didn't say his problem was molesting boys a problem that led the statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington to pay one Vermont victim a record $965,000 last week to settle the first of 17 priest misconduct lawsuits against it.

Posted by kshaw at April 23, 2006 09:21 AM