The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

A deacon ON the bench

He’s a judge in Canada — and he’s talking about how his faith intersects with his job, following a controversial sentencing in a high-profile case.

From the B.C. Catholic in Vancouver:

Ontario Superior Court Judge Alf Stong is not particularly bothered by the front-page scolding he got from a Toronto Star columnist at the end of the Elaine Campione murder trial last month.


Stong, a deacon for the archdiocese of Toronto, was rebuked for repeating an unproven allegation of spousal abuse and suggesting Campione’s two children could still be alive had her husband not abused her. The Star’s Rosie DiManno called Stong’s sentencing address “a breathtaking rearrangement of the facts as the court heard them.” She accused Stong of besmirching the name of Leo Campione, whom she called a victim of the crime.

Barrie, Ont., mother Elaine Campione murdered her two daughters — 19-month-old Sophia and three-year-old Serena — in 2006. She wanted to prevent the transfer of custody to Leo, her ex-husband and the father of the girls. A jury found her guilty, dismissing her defence that she was suffering from a mental illness and should not be held criminally responsible. At trial she claimed she had been abused by her husband.


In his sentencing address, Stong had called the case “undeniably and inordinately tragic.” He went on to talk about the forces which may have driven Elaine Campione to commit such an evil act.

“If Ms. Campione had not been so abused, so used and discarded as a person, her two daughters could still be alive,” Stong said.

Though the law stipulated Campione had to be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years, Stong seemed to want to soften the sentence by reminding the prison system of its obligation to provide “necessary psychiatric treatment and medical care while in their custody.”

“Stong extended to this vengefully embittered woman moral cover that all but made a mockery of the jury’s verdict,” said DiManno.


“I know what Rosie DiManno said, and it’s too bad she wasn’t there and heard all the evidence. That’s all I can say,” Stong told The Register two weeks later. “We had a 10-week trial. They (DiManno and Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford) showed up two days short of 10 weeks.”

Stong’s approach to sentencing Campione has everything to do with the judge’s basic values and core convictions formed in the Church.

Stong is not just a casually Catholic judge. He was ordained a deacon in 2000, leads marriage preparation courses with his wife Raymonde Marie at Guardian Angels parish in Orillia, and he has an overarching concern with the formation of young people, an area where the 71-year-old judge hopes to concentrate his ministry in coming years.

“I cannot separate myself from my values — my values, my beliefs, what I grew up believing,” Stong said.

Read more.

Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
Deacon Tom Evrard

posted May 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Judge Stong uttered a public statement which many of us in public life would never say out loud but is as concrete a truth which was ever stated. Who can separate their values, morals, virtues and humanness from the deliberation of an issue?

report abuse


posted July 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Having a son, who has been involved with a variety of issues all his life, some of which has brought him in front of judges more then once, and seeing how a judge has to interact with those accused of doing something wrong, I fail to see how any deacon true to his calling can do both….It would be no different if a priest were allowed to be a judge our even a part time judge. Totally inconceivable by me.,….knowing he was a judge, or even if he was not, simply being a lawyer as some of my classmates were, I don’t see how or why a person with this position can be allowed to become a permanent deacon…Jesus would have a good laugh at this one, judging or making decisions of others lives…

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.