Class action against the Diocese of Quebec: “faster and fairer” settlement desired

A month and a half after the Holy Father’s visit to Quebec, “the dust has had time to settle”, and Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix believes that it is now time to “see how we are going to go further”. Whether in the process of reconciliation with the native communities or with the members of a collective action targeting the diocese of Quebec, the time has come to “see how we are going to walk together,” he said.

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“Full” collaboration

The Diocese of Quebec assures that it is doing everything possible to ensure that the collective action targeting all the sexual assaults that have been committed under its authority since 1940 will experience the “quickest and fairest” outcome.

“I can tell you that we offer our full cooperation and believe in this judicial process […] because we know that it is a path that will reveal the truth and that will bring relief to people, compensation to people who have been victims”, indicated Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, in an interview with The newspaper.

Last May, the Quebec Superior Court allowed the claim filed in 2020 on behalf of two victims of clergy sex abuse. The class action has more than a hundred plaintiffs. The Archbishop of Quebec raised the possibility of the case being settled out of court, a settlement “usually that we seek and hope for”. “Often, we prefer an out-of-court settlement because it avoids a lot of additional delays. The obligation to testify on behalf of the victims. There are advantages to doing it that way.”

The time to “walk together”

Members of Indigenous communities will join Cardinal Lacroix and Canadian bishops at a Plenary Assembly in Cornwall, in a few weeks, to continue the gestures of reparation towards the First Nations.

Pope Francis’ visit to the country is part of a long and difficult process of reconciliation initiated by the Catholic Church. Once the message of the Holy Father has been heard, it is time to “see how we are going to walk together”, advances Cardinal Lacroix. “It’s a long process. […] There have been mistakes in the past. We recognize it. Now, how are we going to heal? How are we going to achieve reconciliation?” he asked.

“It hurts”

The allegations of sexual assault against Cardinal Marc Ouellet have done “very badly”, admits Cardinal Lacroix, who however did not want to comment on this particular file. “It hurts, it hurts a lot. To many people too. No matter the person. Again, I’m not commenting on anyone. Whether it’s a well-known person or a lesser-known person, it’s always one person too many,” he said.

The name of Cardinal Ouellet, tipped one day to succeed Pope Francis, appeared in the collective action brought against the diocese of Quebec last month. “Now, allegations are not asserting that the person is guilty. […] We will let the legal process, the class action, tell the truth. And we, we collaborate, we do everything we can in this direction.

He would have liked to see more people on the Plains

The pope’s visit to Quebec delighted Cardinal Lacroix even if it did not stir up the crowds. The Archbishop of Quebec does not hide the fact that he would have liked to see more faithful there. “Yes, it’s obvious that we always want there to be more people. But people who wanted to be there could be there,” he said. According to him, the tight time between the announcement of the pope’s visit and his presence, and the “generous” media coverage may have encouraged older worshipers to stay home to watch it on television.

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Class action against the Diocese of Quebec: “faster and fairer” settlement desired