26 August, 2010

Why I won't publish anonymous letters on my blog

Yesterday, a letter was published on a website (Sylvia's Site) that was received anonymously, claiming to come from priests of my diocese writing under the pseudonym of 'Pembroke Priests for Justice, Truth and Integrity'. I have been asked on that site whether or not I would publish the letter here on my blog.

The answer is an emphatic NO!!!

The reason that I won't publish it is BECAUSE it is anonymously offered. Anyone who follows my blog here or elsewhere on the net should know that I always use my real name (not some made up 'handle') when I express an opinion. I do this because IMHO, if I am not willing to attach my name to an opinion, then I should have no reason to expect that anyone would give it more than just a passing glance. If someone is not willing to stand behind what they write, be they allegations or plaudits, then there is really no reason to give it much attention.

I am always mindful of John Gabriel's 'Dickwad Theory of the Internet' whenever I face a decision as to whether something anonymous should be included in these pages:

One Person + Anonymity + Audience = One 'Dickwad'

If these priests (if in fact it does come from priests of the Diocese) want to express an opinion about how these sad affairs have been handled by our Bishops past or present, let them put their name behind their words. To do otherwise will only serve to deepen the sense of doom and mistrust that already exists between brother priests; priests who have been battered and shocked by previous revelations in these abuse cases in our own backyard. The end result will be the transforming of a relationship of fraternal trust between brother priests into a cesspool of distrust and suspicion.

So, NO, I will not be publishing any letter that I receive that does not come with the name of the author attached.  Want to anonymously make a comment? Go ahead... that's why I moderate comments... to weed out the loons. But offering a remark in response to a column without revealing one's identity is far different that launching a broadside attack without standing behind what is written with your name.

I appreciate the difficulty this brings... I have felt the sting on episcopal disapproval myself on occasion for things that I have written here. But at least the Bishop involved knows that it was me who wrote it. I'm quite willing to accept the consequences of my words. The author(s) of this anonymous letters are not. This is not an insignificant difference.

Priests should do better. One horror (predator priests) does not justify another (anonymous allegations). We priests should be held to a higher standard and be willing to accept the consequences of our acts and words. No matter what our opinion on these tragic affairs are, we all deserve better.

Fr. Tim Moyle
Mattawa, Ontario


  1. I do not blame you Fr.Tim.

    Nevertheless, it is for real. The letter is no joke! The journalist replied to me at the blog site.

    God Bless these priests. God Bless you Fr.Tim!
    Thank you God!

    Good night!

  2. August 28, 2010.
    1138hrs Eastern Time;

    Dear Father Tim Moyle:

    If you are interested, please see "Sylvia's" website-link that is posted on your website. I have posted on her website (www.theinquiry.ca), my opinions relating to your blog-posting-editorial-OPED-or statement above "Why I won't publish anonymous letters on my blog.."
    Are "anonymous donations" okay". Are redactions, publication bans, in-camera cross examinations, etc. okay? "In The Greater Good"...right?
    James P. Bateman a.k.a. "Prima Facie"
    (Non-Roman Catholic: Baptised Anglican-Church of England)

  3. August 28, 2010.
    1200hrs Eastern Time:

    Take Notice Herewith:

    TO: Father Tim Moyle:

    Father Moyle: I publicly offer you my sincerest apologies relating to the above-mentioned post that I wrote. I was incorrect and I erred.
    I am aware that there are more than one "Tim" posting on "Sylvia's" website or for that matter, various websites.

    In this regard, I believed you had re-positioned your opinion for various undisclosed reasons. It is clear to me now, that there is a "Father Tim Moyle" and a "Tim" who have posted.
    It is now my understanding and belief that you hold the beliefs that you have posted on your personal website (herein).

    James P. Bateman a.k.a. Prima Facie

  4. James: No problem. These are incredibly painful and difficult issues for all concerned. Although I am not a predator or victim of clergy abuse, I am a priest and thus, to use a old saying, 'I've got a dog in this fight'. I too want for these perverts to be weeded out of the priesthood and will continue to do everything I can to achieve that goal. I simply realize that there are concerns which complicate and defeat simple 'black and white' solutions. It is not acceptable to damage or destroy the fraternity and reputation of innocent priests to weed out the bad.

    Keep on doing what you are doing, just as I support Sylvia in her efforts. We will ultimately succeed in changing the culture that has permitted these predators to hunt and maim under the secrecy that is naturally part of our vocations as clergy. If I did not believe this, I would quit the priesthood and find some other forum to minister.

    Fr. Tim


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