St. John's Catholic priest suspended

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Andrew Robinson
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A Roman Catholic priest has been removed from his position as parish priest and suspended from all ministerial duties while the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John's investigates an allegation of wrongdoing.

Archbishop Martin Currie speaks with reporters outside St. Patrick’s Church, one day after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s announced the suspension of Father Wayne Dohey. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

The church won't say what the nature of that allegation is. In a statement released Saturday, the archdiocese did clarify that the complaint made against Father Wayne Dohey of St. Patrick's Parish in St. John's is not related to a court case involving the alleged embezzlement of parish funds.

Archbishop Martin Currie addressed the matter during mass Sunday at St. Patrick's Church and spoke with reporters following the service.

"We received a complaint, and according to our protocol now, when we receive a complaint - because in the past we were accused of not acting on complaints and following up on them - so the minute we received a complaint, we have suspended Father (Dohey) from the ministry and removed him from the parish here, as the investigation is ongoing," Currie said.

For now, the archdiocese is handling the investigation. Currie said he hopes to see the investigation conclude "quite quickly."

"I'm always very saddened when these things happen - when allegations or complaints are levelled against any of our clergy - no matter what the nature of it is," said the archbishop. "We've been trying lately to do the best we can to be a church which is open and transparent, so that's why I say we're trying to act on these matters as quickly as we can."

Parishioners leaving the church after the 11 a.m. mass on Sunday expressed mixed feelings about news of Dohey's suspension.

"Father Dohey has been here for a number of years, and he has been very good for the parish," said Gwen Daly, who added she was sad to learn of his suspension and intended to pray for all parties involved. "He's very approachable, he's kind, he's pleasant, and we'll wait and see what comes of (the investigation)."

One woman leaving the church said she would continue to support Dohey and the parish. Another said she was disappointed by the news. The majority of those leaving the church Sunday declined comment.

The priest's suspension marks the second time in less than a month that St. Patrick's Parish has been in the news. Last month, charges of fraud, theft and forgery were laid against Dianne Coady. After hearing from the parish priest in August 2012 about suspected fraudulent activity, the archdiocese ordered a forensic audit of parish finances.

The archdiocese received the results of that audit in January of last year and then turned the matter over to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

 

 

Geographic location: St. John's

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  • Darius
    March 10, 2014 - 10:20

    Elizabeth and Robb; I share your pain. I was raised in the Newfoundland/Methodist tradition of the United Church of Canada, which was open, forward-thinking and ecumenical. But when my wife (whose family tradition is Roman Catholic) and I relocated to Cape Breton to be closer to her family, which had been struck by serious illness, I was astonished at the not-so-subtle prejudice still there against Roman Catholics by, of all people, a coven of dominant, influential, native Cape Breton UCC clergy, as well as extreme "Jesus is Lord" fundamentalists in the congregations. I made formal complaints to the United Church of Canada national office in Toronto about what my spouse and I personally experienced at the hands of these local ordained and lay clergy; the prejudice, lies, gossip, deceit, dishonesty, and duplicity. The response of the national church was to brush off my complaints because, under a section of the UCC 'Bible", The Manual, I did not file them "within 30 days of the incidents happening." No investigation; not even a mention that the complaints I filed possibly being "alleged'! They were dismissed out of hand. Needless to say, I no longer have any trust or faith in the United Church of Canada and have since distanced myself from it. Our grandchildren are all baptized into the UCC and the rare times my wife and I worship with them is for their sake. Otherwise, we won't darken the door. But one thing I will say about today's Roman Catholic: at least it's finally openly responding to allegations of wrong-doing among its clergy. Meanwhile, in my personal experience, beneath its ecumenical mask, The United Church of Canada still smugly and brazenly stands by the likes of dysfunctional 'home-grown' clergy that my wife and I encountered on Cape Breton Island. As for turning to The Salvation Army, I am also very much also leaning in the direction, mostly because of the good works they do in Jesus' name in the community.

  • Elizabeth
    March 10, 2014 - 08:30

    When priests take vows, the words "honesty" and "conscience" should be included. Guess, though, that wouldn't help either. The present vows are not even being adhered to. The humongous never-ending damage has been already been done. The Catholic Church will not recover once the elderly attendants can no longer attend Mass and fill up the Collection Plates. When I think of people (and I use to be one of them) going into a Confessionial and "confessing" their sins to some of these priests, and they determine how much penance we are to be given for our sins; then given prayer for penance, it turns my stomach. Prayer is worship, praise, and communicating with God. I left the Catholic Church years ago and am now attending the Salvation Army.

    • Robb
      March 10, 2014 - 09:26

      I think you are right on the money Elizabeth. I was an alter boy in the 60s, and when you think about it, it's just plain weird....alter "boys"...?? Talk about a captive audience for these religious predators. And the back room in Pius X where we had to put on the alter boy smocks (again just weird), was a little dark room in the back with no windows. I guess there must be some reason why they call the off-alter area the rectory....?? Anyway, attendance has dropped off significantly, and social media can certainly not help the church, as everyone knows every dirty little thing that goes on. I am supposedly a roman catholic, but have not been in a church for many years (except the odd wedding or funeral), but I have not gone anywhere else like the Salvation Army. And the Salvation Army is probably the only bunch that I have any respect for...as I will only donate to them....as they are the ones always on the scene where there is tragedy.