No ‘Fa­ther’ for sex as­saulters

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

Last week's front page story on Fa­ther De­nis Vail­lan­court be­ing found guilty of sex­ual abuse was creepy for a num­ber of rea­sons. The first, ob­vi­ously, is that a for­mer trusted mem­ber of our com­mu­nity com­mit­ted such a de­praved act, de­stroy­ing the in­no­cence of chil­dren and do­ing ir­repara­ble harm to their fam­i­lies. It's aw­ful stuff.

An­other rea­son why it's creepy is that this dude is still be­ing re­ferred to as “Fa­ther.” Yes, I un­der­stand that's sim­ply the hon­orific the Catholic church be­stows upon its or­dained clergy mem­bers - like rabbi for Ju­daisim or pas­tor for evan­gel­i­cal protes­tants - but doesn't the very word “Fa­ther” con­jure up im­ages of good­ness and pro­tec­tion?

The dic­tio­nary tells us that the word fa­ther sim­ply means “male par­ent of a child.” But we know that it means so much more. Fur­ther on in the def­i­ni­tion, we see that it also means “a man who gives care and pro­tec­tion to some­one or some­thing.” This is surely what the Catholic church en­vi­sions when a pri­est is or­dained. Af­ter all, what could be more com­fort­ing than know­ing some­one cares about you and is will­ing to pro­tect you?

It's ap­pro­pri­ate that in our story, Vail­lan­court was re­ferred to as Mis­ter rather than Fa­ther. This should be stan­dard prac­tice for the me­dia af­ter a pri­est is con­victed. Our jus­tice sys­tem de­mands that we pre­sume in­no­cence un­til guilt is proven, af­ter all, but once the judg­ment is ren­dered, any holy ti­tles should be im­me­di­ately dropped.

She’s not in It

Re­cently, this news­pa­per pub­lished the ex- cit­ing news that Ap­ple Hill ac­tress Kelly Van­der Burg had a small role in the new Stephen King movie, It.

I went to that movie on the evening of Sept. 8 and I kept my eyes peeled for Kelly but was un­able to spot her. I even stuck around for the end cred­its. No men­tion of her there ei­ther. Ap­par­ently, her part wound up on the prover­bial cut­ting room floor.

The good news is that a se­quel is likely in the works; per­haps her scene will be in­cluded then.

CFL play­offs

I've of­ten used this space to cham­pion the Cana­dian Foot­ball League as su­pe­rior to its Amer­i­can coun­ter­part - the NFL. I claim that the games are more ex­cit­ing, its play­ers rel­a­tively free from scan­dal, and, most im­por­tantly, that with only nine teams, you can be rea­son­ably as­sured that you'll see your team win the cham­pi­onship at least once in your life­time. Try telling that to the long-suf­fer­ing fans of the Cleve­land Browns. Per­ish the thought.

But now, my NFL apol­o­gist friends are show­ing me the er­ror of my ways. Namely, the Cana­dian Foot­ball League's play­off for­mat, which - this year at least - will re­ward some truly dis­mal squads while pun­ish­ing the teams that have bet­ter records.

The league's cur­rent play­off for­mat al­lows the top three teams from each divi­sion to ad­vance to the post­sea­son, al­though there is also a cross­over pro­vi­sion where, if the fourth-place team from one divi­sion has a bet­ter record than the third-place team in the other divi­sion, they claim that spot.

As we roll into the 13th week of the CFL sea­son, every sin­gle team in the East Divi­sion has a los­ing record. The best team in the east, the Ot­tawa Red­blacks, has a record of 4-7-1, or nine points. In the west, the very worst team is the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers, whose record of 5-5 for 10 points. Yet be­cause of the play­off for­mat, the Riders won't ad­vance but the Red­blacks and the equally un­der­per­form­ing Toronto Arg­onauts will.

This doesn't make sense and it un­der­mines what pro­fes­sional sports is sup­posed to be about. Ad­vanc­ing to the post­sea­son is not a right, it is some­thing you earn dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. It's good to see that the league's com­mis­sioner, Randy Am­brosie, rec­og­nizes this and is will­ing to “have the con­ver­sa­tion” to look into it.

To be sure, he says he doesn't want to to­tally elim­i­nate the east vs west men­tal­ity which, he cor­rectly notes, is part of our Cana­dian iden­tity.

Per­son­ally, I think the CFL needs at least one more team in the east (ei­ther in Que­bec City or the Mar­itimes) and to sim­ply al­low the top team in each divi­sion to ad­vance re­gard­less of record. That will go a long way in en­sur­ing that our league re­wards the top per­form­ers and that we are no longer a laugh­ing stock for fans of the Na­tional Foot­ball League.

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