Disgraced Homosexual Abuser to Give Lecture on Marriage Annulments to Canadian Canon Law Society
September 9, 2005

TORONTO, September 9, 2005 ( - In 2002, the US bishops were hearing evidence from victims of homosexual priestly sexual abuse. Michael Bland, formerly a priest in the Friar Servants of Mary or "Servite" order, without naming him, told them about the spiritual and psychological damage done to him by a priest of the Servites. Bland is now a clinical psychologist helping abuse victims for the Archdiocese of Chicago and the man who molested him when he was a teenager, Dr. John M. Huels, is scheduled to give a lecture to the Canadian Canon Law Society at their annual meeting in Saskatoon, September 27th.

"The priesthood lost me, but kept the perpetrator," Bland told the bishops.

Indeed, Huels, who now lives in Chicago, far from being censured is still, in the Catholic Church in Canada at least, an honored speaker. Huels' September lecture is titled, "Recent Roman Documents - exception of Instruction Dignitas Connubii," (the recent Vatican document criticising the runaway rate of marriage annulments in the western Church.)

Huels history could perhaps be taken as an illustration of why the Church in Canada has a reputation for being especially tolerant of active homosexuals in the priesthood. Canadian Catholics complain frequently of Canadian church leadership toleration, if not approval, of priestly dissent on moral and doctrinal issues and of the generally acknowledged state of disarray in the liturgy, a problem that Pope Benedict XVI has identified as the first cause of the huge loss of faith in the Church since the 1960's.

Huels has been an active supporter of homosexual "rights" and in 1999, his name appeared on a list of activists who supported an Illinois Gay Rights Bill.

It was only after Michael Bland's testimony to the US bishops made headlines that Huels stepped down from his position as professor of Canon Law at Ottawa's St. Paul's University. In Canada, an almost constant pattern in many dioceses has been that action is finally taken against a known (to the diocese) problem priest, religious or teacher only after that person's indiscretions have become widely publicized.

After Huels resigned from St. Paul's, Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais issued a statement saying, "It is my hope that his voluntary actions today will bring peace to all involved." Bland said that he received two phone calls from Archbishop Gervais who invited Bland to fly to Canada to discuss the matter. Bland declined the invitation however, saying that he saw no point in meeting until some action had been taken against Huels.

Sylvia McEachern is an Ottawa Catholic woman who has kept a close eye on such institutions. She told the Wanderer newspaper in 2002 that Canada has an inordinate number of problem priests in the classes of canon lawyers and liturgists "who go from west to east in Canada, from the United States to Canada, and Europe and Africa to Canada, many of whom seem to be either running or hiding." was unable to reach Dr. Michael Bland for comment.

Impact Statement of Michael Bland to the USCCB meeting in Dallas, Texas, 2002:

Canadian Canon Law Society annual convention schedule:

Read 2002 special reports:
Action on Sexually Abusive Priests Comes Only After Media Exposure

More on Clergy Scandals at St. Paul's University