Appalled by comments

Published December 1, 1999

Appalled by comments

Dear editor, I am appalled by the comments attributed to the dean of the Diocese of Calgary, Robert Pynn in Theologian Convicted of Sex Offences in U.S. (October Journal.) He argued that although Dr. Lynn Bauman had pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual abuse involving a young boy, he should not be “tarred in a sexual context.” Since the crime to which Dr. Bauman confessed was of a sexual nature how else can he be judged? Without Dr. Bauman’s acceptance of full responsibility for his crime, including calling it what it is ? child sexual abuse; without an expression of remorse on his part and a demonstration of his will to change, neither he, nor the victim can reach complete healing. I find it particularly disturbing that Dean Pynn said Dr. Bauman should not be found “guilty in the true moral sense of the word.” Does Anglican Church law not see child abuse as immoral? As a person who has worked for many years to raise public awareness about family abuse, I find it deeply disturbing to hear one of our church’s leading clerics declare a person convicted of child sexual abuse should not be considered to have carried out an immoral act. What saddened me most was the absence of any comment about the victim. There was no sense of compassion expressed by Dean Pynn. Clearly the church reflects society’s greater concern for the well-being of the offender rather than the well-being of the victim who, in this case, was an innocent child. The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain Toronto

Indefensible acts

Dear editor, When a child molester uses a church as a cover and setting for his crimes, there are many victims. First are the children and their families who suffer the greatest hurt. Then there is the church and the entire congregation. Friendships and trusts are betrayed, faith is shaken; bitterness, fear and suspicion take over. Blame is laid where it is not merited. The church is seriously harmed and it takes several years to heal, if at all. This tragedy is just what befell the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer in Calgary. A criminal victimized the church and betrayed trusts for over two decades before he was apprehended a few years ago. Dozens of children were molested. The entire congregation was deeply traumatized. Many went to other churches or stopped attending. The church of my youth was deeply wounded. By defending a convicted sex offender and trivializing his crime, Dean Pynn has gravely insulted victims of the previous assaults and rubbed salt into the wounds of a deeply traumatized congregation. His acts are indefensible and unconscionable. Stephen L. Judd Cambridge, Ont. (by e-mail)

Comments clarified

Dear editor, I found some of the quotes attributed to me most confusing and disturbing. They did not convey what I wished to say. My central concern was to avoid quick judgment on a matter of great complexity. Continuing inquiries have revealed that at the time the article was prepared I had been given partial and sometimes incorrect information about the charges, the court proceedings and the full extent of the court sanctions. This new information has been shared with our clergy to assist in the process of pastoral care to those in the diocesan community affected by the fallout of Dr. Bauman’s conviction, especially those who have personally experienced abuse. Having been convinced of guilt we continue constant in prayer for the victims, the church community that has only known Dr. Bauman as a mentor and friend, and for Lynn and his family whose road to healing will be fraught with great challenge. My key message is that our diocese and its leadership will continue to act compassionately and truthfully in the light of the information we have. Dean Robert T. Pynn Calgary

Journey continues

Dear editor: On behalf of the Church Army may I express our appreciation for including our training facility, Taylor College of Evangelism, in the Focus on Education segment in the November Journal. I would like to clarify three points. First, Church Army does not own the facility in Saint John. It is actually the Stephen Wiggins Home for Boys. Their board of governors has graciously leased the property to us for 10 years. Secondly, we do have aspirations to be an Anglican Bible College, though we are not restricting this program to Anglicans. And finally, while all those involved in the decision making process continue to believe that this development is an answer to a prayer, it would be more accurate to state that we believe God was telling us this is where we should go as opposed to “God was telling us.” It is our daily prayer to learn more of what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit and to hear God’s voice. The journey continues. (Capt.) Bruce Smith National Director, Toronto

Unfeeling report

Dear editor, I was very distressed when the Journal published the article on the charge against Charles Bull in March 1999. Since this is a publication of the Anglican Church, and since Mr. Bull had not been convicted, but only charged, it caused unnecessary pain to Mr. Bull’s family and friends, and served no newsworthy purpose. You cannot imagine my horror and anger, therefore, to find that, instead of simply reporting in the November Journal the good news that Mr. Bull had been acquitted, you included irrelevant details. Surely this is the type of reporting more worthy of garbage publications such as the National Enquirer! Those of us who have known and respected Mr. Bull for many years, and who have trusted him implicitly with our children in both professional and social situations, feel you owe him and his family a huge apology, and an explanation of why you published your unfeeling, damaging report. Mrs. C.M. Cameron Seagrave, Ont.


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