Chapter Fifteen: Epilogue

The following is from the direct examination during the deposition of Fr. James Scahill on Oct. 29, 2003 in the matter of Susan F. Morris vs. Richard Lavigne, Joseph Maguire, Robert Thrasher and Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.


Q. (By Mr. Stobierski): Do you believe your coming forward will enhance your career as a priest?
A. (By Fr. James Scahill): Absolutely not.

Q. Will it affect your career whatsoever? In your opinion?
A. No, no. I don't think it - I'm a parish priest. I'll just continue my priestly work and the sooner I can only do that the better off I'll feel. I want this to go away.

Q. Now, you indicated that you didn't think you'd be elected again to the Presbyteral Council, correct, you previously testified to that?
A. Right, yes. I serve until December 2004.

Q. And why do you think you won't be elected again?
A. I'm out of the box.

Q. What do you mean "out of the box," when you say "out of the box" what do you mean by that?
A. I think we're all products of our condition. And I think we're conditioned in a brotherhood in a fraternity as clerics and once I decided to do after prayer and thought and listening what we did do in June of 2002 [the financial protest], I knew it would be forever changed for me. And I've got priests that I used to socialize with for over 30 years who don't call me, don't talk to me. It's okay. I can - I'll tolerate that. But that's why I know. When I go to these presbyteral meetings do you think it's a walk in the park? You can cut the tension with a chain saw. I don't enjoy going to them but I go to them because I've not done anything wrong.

Q. Have you ever been threatened at all with your activities related to this clergy sex abuse scandal?
A. When Bishop Dupre and I met in July of 2002 Bishop Dupre told me, "You know, I can suspend you." And I told Bishop Dupre, "I know you can suspend me but so convinced am I of the correctness of what I am doing I am risking that suspension if you want to risk suspending me." In September of 2002 -

Q. Go ahead?
A. In September of 2002 at the convocation in Maine of the priests, I, after listening, stood up and asked that we would stop bashing the media, that it was supposed to be a spiritual twist to this because, I said, the media is not the personification of evil. I said, "I'm not in bed with the media but the media is accomplishing more on this matter than decades of bishops have." I then said, again in front of my priests, because it was the first time I was in the company of all the presbyterate after the June 2002 statement, I then said, "And I am not disobedient. There is no virtue to obedience that requires the surrender of virtue. There is no virtue to obedience that requires one to go myopically blind like the soldiers of Hitler."

Q. And was there a response to your statements?
A. Bishop told me I was disobedient. He told me that I had broken my oath of office as a pastor. He told me that I had cost this diocese thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars with the timing of my position because of the Stewardship Appeal was going on and because the Future of Hope pledge phase had not yet been completed. And he told me I went into East Longmeadow with an agenda. I rose at that time only to protest the final point of what he said because he and I had sat down physically at least twice and I explained to him I did not go to East Longmeadow with an agenda. I went there for a change. I went there for new challenges. The agenda came to me.

Q. Did you ever expect this kind of agenda when you went to East Longmeadow?
A. Absolutely not.

Q. And you said you had another meeting with Bishop Dupre?
A. Yes.

Q. And what occurred at that meeting?
A. Bishop Dupre is not an evil man and I do not hate Bishop Dupre and Bishop Dupre does not I believe hate me. That being said, I went down to his house. I called him the Sunday after the convocation. I talked to his machine. His secretary called me back Monday and I said, I think it would good for bishop and I to meet. So I went down there in late September, this time I guess, last year. And because what bishop did up in Maine in front of all those priests was assault me, verbally assault me and he literally - he literally raped my character. And I went down because my father told me a long, long time ago, he said, "I got no money, I got no land I can give you - all I have is my name. I've been good to it. You be good to your name." And I have always tried to be good to my name and my name was just raked through the coals. And I went down to the bishop one-on-one and I took him on with the disobedience, the disloyalty, the agenda and the money. And when it came to the money I said to him, "I find it strange that you have never with your priests or publicly bemoaned the millions and millions of dollars that Lavigne and the others have cost this church, but you go after me because of a disagreement and because of a challenge that I've cost the Diocese money."

Q. And was there any response to that?
A. No. And there was no apology.

Q. Are those the only two meetings that you can recall that you had with Bishop Dupre regarding the stance you took at your parish?
A. Well, yes, in that meeting, too, in September, which I believe - and memory doesn't always serve any of us completely - I do believe that September meeting was the last personal meeting I had with Bishop Dupre. And at that meeting once again, as he did in June of 2002, in that meeting of September 2002 he threatened to suspend me. And I told him at that time, "Stop threatening me."