The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s is selling 43 properties, including 13 churches, to pay back victims of sexual abuse.

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador recently approved the measure.

Ernst & Young is a law firm that served as a court-appointed monitor for selling the properties. According to their reports, 19 of the properties were listed as 'vacant land,' with one going to the Nature Conservatory of Canada, while another went to St. John’s Independent School Inc. 

"Included in those parcel sales is the sale of 12 of our parish churches," says Archbishop Peter Hundt in an open letter to the congregation. "Only a few of these proposed church sales are to buyers intending to have the building continue to be used as a Catholic church."

Hundt goes on to say how difficult the process is. 

"This sale of churches and the corresponding amalgamation of parishes is a distressing and emotional process for all the people and clergy of the Archdiocese. It brings with it feelings of anger, loss, sadness, and for some people, even at times a sense of hopelessness."

However, Hundt believes this is the pathway forward to healing all parties involved. 

"During this difficult and challenging time, I am extremely grateful to all the clergy and parishioners, who are working hard to move forward this process by which we are seeking to meet our legal obligations to the victims of abuse and restructure our diocese in a positive and sustainable manner."

Hundt ended the letter with a prayer request.

"Asking that you please continue to join with me in praying for God’s healing grace for the victims of abuse and for the gifts of understanding, wisdom and patience for all of us as we continue to journey through this time of restructuring and change."