Clarification about Msgr. Foy and Gregory Baum

The February 14, 2018 issue of the Prairie Messenger, printed the letter to the editor below at this link:

Clarification about Msgr. Foy and Gregory Baum

The Editor: In the Oct. 25, 2017, issue of the Prairie Messenger, the article about the death of ex-priest Gregory Baum erroneously stated that Msgr. Vincent Foy “popularized a theory that Mr. Baum had excommunicated himself by marrying before his laicization was formally recognized by the Vatican.”

This was not a “theory.” In fact, as a canon lawyer Msgr. Foy was assigned and in charge of the sad duty of the laicization of priests. Msgr. Foy was informed that Gregory Baum initially got civilly married without first being laicized as a priest. Msgr. Foy knew the superiors of the Augustinian order that Baum was a member of.

In his 1996 article, “Notes on Gregory Baum,” Msgr. Foy reported: “In its issue of Jan. 14, 1978, the Catholic Register reported that ‘Gregory Baum, noted Canadian theologian and outspoken critic of the church, married a former nun in a private ceremony recently in Montreal . . . the bride is Shirley Flynn, who left her religious order about 15 years ago.’ He had previously cancelled an application for laicization. According to canon 2388 of the Code of Canon Law in force at that time, he was automatically excommunicated.”

Baum wrote in his autobiography, “I decided to leave informally. I published a brief statement in the Globe and Mail saying that I was leaving the priesthood because of my disagreement with the church’s sexual ethics  . . . .” See

— Jean Ladouceur, Ottawa

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