Complaints against priests: ex-judge Pepita Capriolo believes that the Montreal Church is controlled by a caste

Complaints against priests: ex-judge Pepita Capriolo believes that the The Montreal church is controlled by a caste


Retired judge Pepita Capriolo, who resigned with a bang on Monday from her position as adviser to the Archdiocese of Montreal, believes that the Catholic Church is an institution that is afraid of change and that is always controlled by a true “caste” of religious living in isolation.

At the request of Archbishop Christian Lépine, Ms. Capriolo had been involved for two years in the review of the process for managing complaints against religious abusers. Her help was sought following the publication in 2020 of a voluminous report about a Montreal Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting two teenagers, of which she was the author.

But the former Superior Court magistrate realized, over time, that she was increasingly ignored. “I saw that everything I said did absolutely nothing. There was this wall that was created against me, ”she explains in an interview on Monday.

The changes she proposed to reorganize the functioning of the archdiocese were no longer welcome.

She says she met three kinds of opponents. “There are people who don't want change and there are those who say change has to come much more slowly; that is their excuse; maybe they want to wait another two thousand years. There are also those who want the head of Archbishop [Christian Lépine],” she notes.

The old guard

“They are from the old guard; they are those who are accustomed to clericalism. It's like a caste and they protect themselves,” she adds.

Along with the other members of the committee she was on, Ms. Capriolo wanted to put some order in the keeping of the priests' files. to the archdiocese, establish a confidential and independent complaints process and ensure that there is accountability among the leaders of the archdiocese to avoid that everyone refuses to take responsibility in cases of abuse on the part of priests.

In the end, she says she is simply overwhelmed by the opposition she encountered. “I don't understand, I don't see what the gain is,” she said. Basic Catholics want change. If you knew the number of thank you letters I received. »

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