From Archbishop Currie’s personal blog entitled A Voice Crying In The Wilderness, appears this latest entry:
From May 26 - 31 I will be attending, along with my brother priests, a retreat given by Fr. Wesley Wade of the Archdioese [sic] of Bathurst, New Brunswick. Please remember in your prayers the priests of our Archdiocese as we spend time this week away from our busy lives to spend time in prayer, contemplation and reflection. Our annual retreat is an opportunity for us to be refreshed, renewed and re-energized by the Holy Spirit. This retreat allows us to take the necessary time to remember who we are and commit more fully to whom God calls us to be.
Retreats can be special times of refreshment from the Lord. Let us hope and pray that indeed the priests of our Archdiocese will find renewed strength in the Holy Spirit.
But let us take note of the priest who is the retreat director, Fr. Wesley Wade.
Who is Father Wesley Wade and what are his qualifications? Imagine for a moment what special skills and gifting must accompany the leader of a spiritual retreat: a highly qualified, inspirational, perhaps dynamic individual, with a keen sense of spiritual insight and a unique ability to facilitate a connection between retreater and the Holy Spirit. Would this be a somewhat accurate portrayal of Father Wesley Wade?
Would you expect that a priest with a deep experience of the Holy Spirit might also have a strong affinity for the truth of Mother Church, owing especially to the fact that by the Holy Spirit the truth was made known to the Church and, in fact, He is the Spirit of Truth? What else but the Truth will set us free from our troubles, fears, sin and weakness? Is it not a fresh revelation and encounter with the Truth that will refresh, renew and re-invigorate the priests of our Archdiocese?
Is Father Wesley Wade a man unafraid of the pure unadulterated Truth of God? Is he a man who will stand up at all costs for a fellow priest who proclaims the Truth that will set a man free?
Remember this story? Who was the hatchet man that removed an 85 year old priest “from active ministry after he caused a storm of controversy by denouncing homosexuality, cohabitation, and abortion in an August homily”? In perhaps the most egregious and blatant incident of episcopal bullying and gagging Christ ever seen in recent times in Canada, Fr. Wesley Wade, the Vicar General for the Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick, acted on behalf of Bishop Valéry Vienneau to revoke Father Donat Gionet's rights to serve mass across the Diocese of Bathurst.
Rev. Wesley Wade was quoted as saying that Fr. Gionet's teachings “don't meet the diocese's goal of following Christ's example of loving unconditionally.”
"We have to respect people on their own journey," Wade said.
But apparently Fr. Gionet’s “journey” merits no respect at all.
Father Wade also stated, "The first message of Christ was to reveal to us a loving father and a merciful father and that we are all called to be his children and that we are all loved unconditionally by Him."
This isn’t quite true, is it? Father Wade got that one wrong. According to St. Mark’s gospel (Mark 1:15), Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel." Seriously wrong, Father Wade, considering the application which you made of it. The words of the Vicar General sound very good and gospel-like but they are grossly out of context. Christ came to preach the Truth, which would then set us free from our sins and liberate us to love one another. But first comes repentance and obedience to Christ’s commands soon follows.
“That’s always the challenge in today’s world: to be faithful to the callings of Christ and yet respecting people where they are,” said Father Wesley Wade.
What a slap in the face for an 85 year old priest who had served many decades as a faithful servant in Christ’s Church. And if the reader cares to look at various accounts of this sad miscarriage of justice, you will find that Fr. Gionet has proved himself for many years to be a loyal and courageous preacher of the Truth entrusted to Mother Church. Apparently he wasn’t “respecting people where they are” but wasn’t Fr. Wesley Wade also disrespecting Fr. Gionet by not respecting where he was?
Father Wade went on record as well saying that although the Church gets criticized as a judgmental institution, the reality is "it's full of compassion." Strange that there’s compassion for obstinate sinners but there’s not enough compassion left over to allow Fr. Gionet to continue to say Mass in active ministry.
So in the end, Fr. Wesley Wade denounced Fr. Gionet’s comments as being pastorally insensitive. Mind you, Fr. Gionet wasn’t sitting down with a parishioner in a private setting for counsel. He was delivering a homily, a sermon, expositing the Holy Scriptures, but Fr. Wade apparently does not understand, nor appreciate, the distinction.
The actions of Fr. Wade and his Bishop have proved them to be hirelings and not true shepherds, scattering the flock of the faithful and empowering the forces of evil in their midst. According to news reports, Fr. Gionet’s loudest critic “was the mayor of Saint-Leolin, Joseph Lanteigne, an open homosexual and member of the parish council, who demanded the priest’s suspension." And so the hirelings complied.
And so I ask the reader: Will our priests, the priests of the Archdiocese of St. John’s, NL, return from their retreat given under the leadership of this same Father Wesley Wade, filled with the Holy Spirit in truth and power? Or are they more likely to stumble and fall in the ditch, leading the faithful astray in morals, as their teachers are doing?