Former archbishop Alphonsus Penney dead at 93
Penney led St. John's Roman Catholic archdiocese through sex abuse scandal
The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. John's throughout the 1980s, a time when one of the church's biggest scandals was exposed, has died.
Alphonsus Penney died at St. Patrick's Mercy home, a long-term care facility in St. John's, on Tuesday. He was 93.
Penney was one of the church leaders disgraced by the handling of complaints from boys who were abused by priests, allegations that dated back to the mid-1970s.
Men who lived at the Mount Cashel orphanage, run by the Christian Brothers, also came forward to say the church and provincial government officials at the time ignored their complaints about abuse.
- ANALYSIS | Mount Cashel, and the redemptive power of pulling stories from the darkness
- N.L. settles Mount Cashel abuse claim for $750K
Testimony at judicial and church inquiries, and subsequent civil court cases, revealed that Penney and others in the church hierarchy knew about the abuse allegations years before they became public, and did nothing.
Penney resigned as archbishop in July 1990 after a report by the church-appointed Winter Commission condemned Roman Catholic leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador for protecting offending priests instead of their victims.
"I made a poor judgment in not being more present to the victims and their families when it happened, and certainly that was unchristian. I don't think that can be denied," he told CBC News in his exit interview.
Penney will be buried Friday at 11 a.m. at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist.