Man asks Pope to defrock priest who sexually assaulted him

Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his mass at the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus...

Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his mass at the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in downtown Rome January 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Carol Mulligan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 AM ET

A man who wrote Pope Francis asking him to defrock the Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting him is not sure what to make of the reply he received from the Vatican.

Jerome Myre doubts the Pontiff read the missive he sent in October in which he asked that Bernard Cloutier be stripped of his rights as a priest.

Cloutier, 71, was convicted in July 2009 of four counts of indecent assault against a male, four acts of gross indecency and four counts of sexual assault against four boys aged 13-16 between 1974 and 1983. He appealed those convictions, but they were upheld in July 2011.

One of Cloutier's victims was Myre, who is now 43.

In October, Myre addressed the Parole Board of Canada, which denied the priest parole partly because he has never accepted responsibility or showed remorse.

Myre then appealed to the Pope. He received a reply dated Dec. 10 from Msgr. Peter B. Wells, a top official in the Vatican Secretariat of State, similar to a deputy chief of staff.

In it, Wells acknowledged Myre's letter to the Holy Father and told him it had been "transmitted" to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "which has competence in such matters.

"I am pleased to assure you of a remembrance in his Holiness's prayers," Wells said in his reply.

Myre is puzzled about the meaning of the response he received, and says he won't let the matter rest.

His understanding is that only the Pope has the authority to defrock a priest so he intends to write him again.

"This has to do with my peace of mind," said Myre, a locomotive operator for CP Rail.

He intends to send Pope Francis another letter, this one containing a long list of names of priests on a website called Sylvia's Site who are either accused or convicted of sexual assault, mostly in Canada.

Myre believes priests who have abused, whether living or dead, should be stripped of their titles.


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