The Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bathurst has asked the Vatican to laicize a former priest from the Diocese, Father Levi Noel, who has been sentenced to eight years in jail for 22 sex related criminal offences.
Father Wesley Wade, spokesperson for the Diocese of Bathurst has told CBC news that the request is in the hands of the Vatican.
Laicization is a penalty imposed under the Code of Canon Law (Church law) where a priest is stripped of the right to perform priestly duties.
The penalty is rarely imposed. The Code of Canon Law says the penalty can only be imposed “for the gravest reasons”. In fact depite the fact that 3 priests from the Diocese of Antigonish were convicted of sexually abusing dozens of children over a period of many decades, not one of them were laicized by any of fomer Bishops of Antigonish.
The Diocese of Bathurst has taken the first step towards proper accountability. It remains to be seen what efforts the Diocese will take to make amends to Levi Noel’s victims.
For the last 18 years I have dedicated my practice to helping survivors of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one have been a victim of sexual abuse you can contact me for a free copy of my book: The Survivor’s Guide to Abuse Compensation Claims.