Ottawa Priest Defrocked Following Abuse Admissions, Allegations
By Andrew Duffy
October 1, 2018
An Ottawa priest who is to stand trial next year on historic sex abuse charges has been defrocked by the Vatican.
Barry McGrory, 83, is the second Ottawa priest to be dismissed from the priesthood in the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The Catholic Church calls the dismissal process “laicization,” and it is considered the harshest penalty the Vatican can deliver.
His official removal from the priesthood follows a determined campaign by one of his acknowledged victims, Colleen Passard, who reached an out-of-court settlement with the diocese in 1997 for the abuse she suffered after meeting McGrory at Ottawa’s Holy Cross Parish in the 1970s. She was a young teenager at the time.
Passard said the legal settlement included a commitment by the diocese to remove McGrory from the priesthood. But that didn’t happen.
Rather, McGrory was ordered not to present himself as a priest and he was prohibited from celebrating mass, hearing confessions or administering the sacraments.
Two-and-a-half years ago, after this newspaper published a story about McGrory’s role in the clergy sex-abuse scandal, Passard renewed her calls to have him removed from the priesthood. She met with Rev. Christian Riesbeck, auxilliary bishop of Ottawa, and prepared a victim-impact statement at his request.
That statement gave a detailed account of her abuse by McGrory, and concluded with a plea to church officials: “I urge you on behalf of myself, all of McGrory‘s victims, and all good priests, to laicize Father Barry McGrory. It is the most merciful and compassionate action you can take. Every day that McGrory remains a priest is a shameless hypocrisy — and a mockery of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.”