COBOURG, September 29, 2005 ( – reported on August 11, that Fr. Edward Cachia, a Catholic priest in Cobourg, Ontario, submitted an Op Ed piece, published in the local paper, strongly supporting the internationally publicized “ordination” of a group of women on a boat in the St. Lawrence River. A number of dissident, anti-Catholic and even pro-abortion organizations, including Catholics for a Free Choice, were vocally supportive of the St. Lawrence River “ordination” stunt.

The Cobourg Daily Star reported September 7 that Fr. Cachia had taken a one-month leave of absence from his parish duties. The paper strongly implied that the leave was imposed by the diocese in retaliation for Fr. Cachia’s support for women’s ordination.

On September 20, a local Catholic woman forwarded to a leaflet from a campaign in support of Fr. Cachia’s supposed “punishment”. The leaflets, which were placed on car windshields during masses at the diocese of Peterborough Cathedral and at six other parishes, said that Fr. Cachia was being treated unjustly by Bishop Nicola De Angelis.

The leaflet claimed that Fr. Cachia’s faculties [to celebrate Mass and hear confessions] will be taken by the Bishop.”“He will not be able to function as a priest. He will be expelled from our diocese. His salary and all benefits will be terminated.”

The leaflet also claimed that Fr. Cachia was being targeted by an ‘oppressive’ regime whose purpose was to squash ‘dialogue’ on female ordination. It also proclaimed, “We must not sit by silently as the vocation is stripped from such a compassionate and committed priest, for such an insignificant action. Priests, sisters, and school board employees are being silenced by fear,” said the leaflet’s author, Mark King.

Fr. Tom Lynch, spokesman for the Peterborough diocese and Dean of Studies at Toronto’s St. Augustine’s seminary, told that the pamphlet, which was distributed to seven parishes, “was very misinformed.”“Contrary to the claims in the pamphlet, the bishop has not silenced anyone,” he said. Fr. Lynch also noted that Fr. Cachia had under-estimated the media attention his Op Ed would generate and over-estimated support for his position from the pamphlet campaign.

The local contact who provided with a copy of the pamphlet indicated that the Fr. Cachia situation was likely about much more than women’s ordination. was informed that those sponsoring the leaflet were connected to the same wide range of radical groups who supported of the St. Lawrence River event.

Far from “stripping” him of his position, Fr. Lynch said that Fr. Cachia had been under considerable stress over the affair and had agreed upon a month of rest, prayer and reflection. Fr. Lynch also stated that Bishop De Angelis, who is one of “the most accessible bishops” that he has known, had met with Fr. Cachia a number of times regarding the controversy.

Intense and divisive discussion on the female ordination issue had been permitted for a few decades until it was finally declared closed by Pope John Paul II. According to John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Church, far from “refusing” the priesthood to women, is simply “unable to ordain women.” Catholic authorities maintain that the Church does not have the ability to change a 2000-year old practice that they understand to have been the explicit will of Christ.

In his original piece, which appeared August 3, Cachia wrote, “It is all about dialogue… These women would like to talk about this, but Rome (home of the Vatican) is not giving them the chance.”

Read previous coverage:
  Canadian Catholic Priest Defies Church and Defends “Ordination” of Women “Priests”

‘Ordained’ Woman is Pro-Abortion Religion Professor at Catholic University of San Diego