Fake News Again

A translation by Judith Turcotte.

At the end of the year 2016, I published a series of blogs denouncing the idea that Paul Comtois, lieutenant-governor of the province, had died in the fire of Bois de Coulonges while he was trying to recover from the chapel the objects essential for the Eucharist. I believed it necessary to publish these blogs due to the appearance, fifty years after his death, of a series of texts referring to this information and presented as the truth. Paul Comtois was my grandfather, my mother, Odette’s father.

Throughout the days following the fire, some articles were reporting this rumour and I have to presume that the journalists, not finding proof to corroborate this information had stopped writing about it. It was not until March 30, 1966 (two months after the fire) before someone revisited the subject. Father J. M. Laplante O. M. I. wrote in an edition of the Wanderer magazine that absence of this information in the media could only be explained by “a conspiracy of the left-wing media of dedramatizing this act of bravery.” The Wanderer magazine is a Catholic magazine founded in 1867. In the same article, Father Laplante describes the incident and then adds several details showing the piety of Paul Comtois. These details are without merit to such a degree that they minimize the credibility of the author. Father Laplante does not mention any source for this information.

Despite its lack of rigour, the article by Father Laplante became the principal source of a series of articles published in recent years. The blog* of London author, Andrew Cusack, published in 2009 is the most often cited. Andrew Cusack is a journalist living in London. He has worked on Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, the Prime Minister of Great Britain. He works as a counselor for a member of the British parliament and he is the founder and president of the group Catholics in the Conservative Party.

Other similar articles have been published on the site Catholicism.org and in the Michael Journal in the same period. More recently, in its edition of March 8, 2016, the National Post published an article entitled: “A Martyr for the Eucharist” and a lengthy article on Paul Comtois in the magazine, Michael Journal (February/March 2016 edition) revisits the subject.

This blog by Andrew Cusack continues to serve as a source for this information which continues to be mediated in the ultra-Catholic circles. A web site, Sacred History of Canada, has recently been launched on line.

The objective of the site: “aims at making known the holy men and holy women who have forged and evangelized Canada.” The name of Paul Comtois is included accompanied by, among others, Sainte Kateri Tekakwitha, Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoys and Frère André. The contact person for the site is Father Jacques Breton FSSP. The priestly brotherhood Saint-Pierre (FSSP) is a traditional society of apostolic life of priests; they are in favour of Mass in Latin And this continues: On August 22,2021, two parishes in the Boston region (Weymouth and Blaintree) reproduced Cusack’s blog in their parish bulletin


To read more on the circumstances surrounding the fire, my blogs are always available on my web site under the heading Paul Comtois.

Leave a Comment