SNAP Vancouver responds to accolades given to Bishop Remi De Roo
For Immediate Release February 8, 2022)
It was Bishop De Roo who gave faculties to Fr. Phil Jacobs, despite knowing that the priest had abused two young boys in Columbus, Ohio. Fr. Jacobs went on to abuse more boys in Victoria, British Columbia and was convicted for those crimes in September 2013.
In addition, in a Vancouver Sun article dated March 27, 1998, Bishop De Roo minimized the complaints of survivors at St. Michael's Residential School against Bishop Hubert O'Connor, saying "I personally cannot see that what he had done was, strictly speaking, a criminal offence." He went on to say that Bishop O'Connor was "overwhelmed by the bitterness and the slander." He concluded with, "Having given their lives to the cause of education, and worked under extremely difficult circumstances, they are now told they have betrayed [Indians]. How would you feel if you had taught all your life and then your students turned against you and said you destroyed them?"
Finally, had a victim not reported to the police in 1991, Fr. John Edward (Jack) McCann would have also become safely entrenched in the Victoria Diocese, again with Bishop De Roo's blessing. The survivor came forward when she learned that Fr. McCann had been transferred to a Catholic parish on Saltspring Island and started a youth group.
The Bishop clearly placed protecting priests and the institution above the safety of the young and vulnerable in his care. If Bishop De Roo stood up for Bishop O'Connor and gave safe haven to Fr. Jacobs and Fr. McCann, one wonders who else he protected or moved quietly during more than 35 years leading the Diocese of Victoria. Accusing victims of abuse of "bitterness and slander" does not create a safe environment for others to come forward. Was not shepherding his own flock his most important job? He is hardly a "social justice champion." It is time for @rcdvictoria to release a full list of accused clergy so that victims can know they are not alone.
CONTACT: Leona Huggins, SNAP British Columbia, (604-240-3741, [email protected]),Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)