Socon or Bust has reported a few times on Fr. Ed MacNeil, OMI, a convicted child molester whose name used to appear on the directory at St. Joseph’s parish in Ottawa (read here and here) until their website got scrubbed within the last couple of months.
I’ve just learned that Fr. MacNeil also gave a presentation last spring at Canadian Martyrs Church, another Oblates parish located in Ottawa. Here’s the little blurb on page 2 of their April 21-22, 2012 parish bulletin:
THANK YOU- re Lunch & Learn …to Fr. Ed MacNeil for his wonderful presentation on the ‘open tomb and resurrection’
A parish bulletin from two weeks prior provides a bit more detail on the event:
LUNCH & LEARN
We will be hosting another Lunch and Learn on Sunday, April 15 at 11:00. Fr. Ed MacNeil, omi will speak to us on the empty tomb and the Resurrection. There is a sheet at the back of the church which we would ask you to sign if you plan to attend. We need the numbers for food preparation. (Source)
This talk was clearly open to the entire parish, as evidenced by the announcement in the parish bulletin and the sign-up sheet. Socon or Bust therefore poses the question one more time: why is a convicted child molester doing public ministry in an Oblate parish?
Let me just state that I don’t have any evidence that Fr. Ed MacNeil has engaged in improper behaviour since his release from prison. I pray that, through the grace of God, he has been rehabilitated and that he continues to do penance for his sins. I understand that he has shown remorse and has served his time. I don’t expect him to just crawl under a rock and wait to die. On the contrary, he needs to find a constructive environment in which to exercise his talents for the good of the Church. But it shouldn’t be in public ministry. Given the high relapse rate for this type of behaviour, given the legitimate concerns of many parents for the safety of their children and given the potential for scandal, it’s not pastorally prudent to have him doing public ministry. This isn’t a witch hunt. It’s common sense.
This marks the second Oblate parish in Ottawa where Fr. MacNeil has popped up. Why is this allowed to continue? And what are we, as the community, going to do about it?