The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Bishop charged with possessing child pornography

You see stuff like this, and words fail:  

A Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw an historic settlement with victims of past sexual abuse by priests in Nova Scotia has been charged with possessing and importing child pornography.


Bishop Raymond Lahey of the archdiocese of Antigonish was searched at the Ottawa airport as he re-entered Canada on Sept. 15. Officers found images “of concern” on his laptop, and seized it along with other media devices. He was released pending further investigation.

After a forensic examination revealed child pornography, Ottawa police charged Bishop Lahey, 69, Friday and issued a warrant for his arrest.


In a statement Saturday, Bishop Lahey said that “after much thought and careful consideration” he had submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict “for personal reasons.”

“…To so many of you I would want to say a personal word of farewell and thanks. However, I have already left the diocese to take some much-needed time for personal renewal. I simply ask for your prayers, as I assure you of my continued prayers for you all,” he wrote.


Archbishop of Halifax Anthony Mancini told CTV News that he spoke to the former bishop yesterday but doesn’t know where he is and would encourage him to surrender “and allow the legal process to unfold.”


You can find more details here.    

The people in his diocese must be in a state of shock.  All concerned need our prayers.
Comments read comments(12)
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posted October 1, 2009 at 12:20 am

I agree words fail. It is a disappointment to all persons in the Catholic Church. Prayers to those in Nova Scotia. I pray that no one has been harmed by him personally.

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jean nizalowski

posted October 1, 2009 at 9:34 am

This is a terrible disappointment to Catholics everywhere. We have to defend our faith as it is and then people scoff at us for having these scandals. For others it is proof that the Catholic faith is evil. If priests could marry it would solve the problem. I also feel women should be ordained. Without these changes the scandals will continue. God help us.

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Your Name

posted October 1, 2009 at 9:52 am

Satan is strong, but the Blood of Christ is stronger. Jesus promised us the Gates of Hell would not prevail, He never said we wouldn’t be attacked and face trials on many fronts.
Jean I must remind that the Church has spoken time and time again on valid Ordinations. Scandals will continue, this much is true, but to hold on to the notion of a married or female priesthood against Church doctrine, or to maintain that there alone is the answer to all scandal is in and of itself scandal.

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Jeff Sullivan

posted October 1, 2009 at 11:06 am

I am from Nova Scotia originally, although not from the Diocese of Antigonish and I don’t know Bishop Lahey. No matter though, the whole thing makes me sick. For a child to be pornified, someone had to do something damned evil to that child. And a bishop of the Church is walking around with that material.
God help us. When is this going to stop?
My worries are 1) that the bishop personally has harmed someone through sexual abuse – I hope that’s not the case; and 2) the bishop has at some point covered up for one or more abusive priests because they had knowledge of his wrongdoing. I hope that’s not the case, either.
Bishop Lahey: go to Ottawa, and turn yourself in to the police.

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posted October 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm

“And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”(1), ultimately, but in the mean time “evil is alive and well.”(2)
This brother, our nation, and all the baptized need the prayers of the faithful and it’s hard to imagine a better one than the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
1: St. Mathew 2: Jacob Dylan

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posted October 1, 2009 at 12:15 pm

This is indeed a great shock, and prayer is certainly our best response.
Jean’s contention is understandable, but is not supported by reality. What research that has been done shows that celibate priests have one of the lowest prevalences of abusers. Guess which group has the highest? Fathers. The next? Teachers. If only we allowed them to marry, it would solve the problem. But then, we still might say that a married clergy would be better. However, what research that has been done shows that the prevalence of abusers is higher for married clergy than celibate. All abuse is a scandal, but it is not the abuse as much as the cover-up by the hierarchy that made ours “The Scandal.”
I think much better for us to get involved with our clergy .. not to police, but to support. The way we isolate and over-work our clergy, we make them much more susceptible to temptation. It doesn’t excuse any sins they might commit, but it does create of Christian responsibility for us. I think we need to do more to support our clergy: invite them for dinner, honestly ask them how they are doing, ask if there is anything we can do to lighten their load, do what we can to avoid increasing their load (like being the troublesome, controlling, complaining parishioner), answer the call to be a priestly people and get involved in the life of the parish, and most of all, pray.

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posted October 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Yes, I have yet to hear of any celibacy causing a mutation into sexual deviency (even on the most trendy talk shows) but I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.

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posted October 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm

It is not celibacy. But what on earth is going on? After the scandals of 2002, after Shanley and others like him, after Archbishop Lambert, after billions of dollars in settlements, after the abuse stories from England.
It seems that the moral authority of the Church is for now shreded to pieces by the myriad of incidents like this.

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Your Name

posted October 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm

incidents?should we have a look at history and find how many popes have blackened the path of the catholic church with similar actions?or even worst ones.but there are many other more important issues to solve before considering these cases,we say here in italy that when the fish is rotten the bad smell comes from its head,and after not considering myself anymore catholic but christian generally speaking,i would consider the lack of any strong denounce of our western abuse and exploitation of the remaining 3 quarters of the world in every and each sense a real crime screaming for revenge to god’s eyes,and the list of wicked ways to do it is endless,from economic to political from sociological to cultural ones,but luckily if we do our duty to witness the holy spirit’s healing power and behave accordingly to it we are already in paradise even if not yet.
charity love compassion and coherence are our tools to conquer it for us and for all our sisters and brothers

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Ronald King

posted October 2, 2009 at 10:04 am

These horrible acts are not scandals. I hate that word because it removes the focus from the human trajedy of the victim and initiates the defense of the institution of the faith. An evil act took place against an innocent and evil exists in our faith and it must be faced head on through the open acceptance that our leaders have failed to protect the innocents.
They must say to the world that they do not know how to protect because they do not have the instinct to protect such as a woman does who has been given that Gift to Love and protect by God. They must admit to their failures and publicly recognize their weakness.

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Patricia Gonzalez

posted October 2, 2009 at 11:19 am

Jeff Sullivan, like you, I’m originally a Maritimer (from Newfoundland). I don’t personally know the Bishop either, but he was a very visible presence in the Diocese of St. George’s on the west coast of my home province. Like you, I ask when is this going to stop? Also, the only One Who can help us through this is Almighty God. Of course, the Catholic-bashers are out in full force… Newfoundland had its own Scandal in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and it’s heartbreaking to see another Newfoundlander get caught up in this web of evil. God have mercy on us. We all need to pray: for Bp. Ray Lahey, for the Church, for ourselves, that we will have the perserverance to keep the faith. Otherewise, we succumb to despair and then are truly lost. Kyrie, eleison!

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posted October 3, 2009 at 1:46 pm

One aspect of this that I wonder about, and don’t think is getting enough attention, is why authorities at an airport would examine the bishop’s hard drive? I have flown to Canada and many other countries of the world with a computer and have never had the content on the computer inspected by anyone. I don’t know anyone to whom that’s happened. What triggered such a search? The police won’t say.

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