Lahey defrocked

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 “Bishop” Raymond Lahey has been defrocked.  He is now Mr. Raymond Lahey.

That was fast.  Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.


Roman Catholic bishop convicted of child pornography stripped of clerical duties

Global News

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 1:43 PM

The Canadian Press,

ANTIGONISH, N.S. – A Roman Catholic bishop who was convicted of importing child pornography into Canada has been stripped of his clerical duties.

The Diocese of Antigonish, N.S., says the Holy See in Rome has dismissed Raymond Lahey from the clerical state.

The diocese says that is one of the most serious penalties that the Roman Catholic Church can impose.

In a statement, the diocese says that means Lahey can no longer preside at any religious services or sacraments.

Lahey was sentenced earlier this year to 15 months in jail after he was caught with hundreds of pornographic photos of young boys at the Ottawa airport.

This entry was posted in Bishops, Canada, Scandal, Vatican and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Lahey defrocked

  1. Sylvia says:

    He is still bound by an obligation to celibacy. 

  2. adam says:

    Sylvia, removed from the clerical state is the same as your use of the word ‘defrocked” it was not by application for laicization – he was removed, because the canonical process was started before he applied to be released.   

    When a cleric is forcibly removed they no longer can present as a cleric or minister in anyway, he also can’t even wear a clergy shirt.  He is no longer Rev., Bishop, Father….however when canonical process releases someone chastity remains and usually a form of prayer and penance is included for reparation.  No need to sound the alarm – he got what you wanted him to including if he goes back to his boyfriend – he is excommunicated…

  3. 1yelllowknife says:

    *Thanks for that clarification, Adam. Good to know. (Pushing an imaginary “Like button”)


  4. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Adam 🙂  I was just poring through canon law texts trying to sort this all out. 

    Are you serious?  If he goes back to his boyfriend he is excommunicated?  Where does that come in?  What canon? Is it an automatic?

  5. Sam says:

    The first part of Adam’s comment is correct. But the second is not true. If he is defrocked he has the freedom to marry, because he is no longer an ordained person. It is equal to laysization  which many priests who left priesthood  to marry, had to apply to Rome directly and the pope grants them permission. It is a long procedure much more difficult than applying for an annulment of a marriage. In Lahey’s case Rome took the initiative to dismiss him from the clerical state.  He does not need to remain as  celibate.
     But catholic church does not approve of homosexual relationship, but I haven’t so far heard of anyone is  excommunicated  because of their homosexual relationship. 
    I am glad that  Rome took this step regarding Lahey. 
    please check this site which gives little more information:

  6. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Sam.  This is getting more confusing by the minute.

    Defrocking does not equal excommunication.  Not for a moment.  Defrocking is simply layman’s language for laicization.  The article you link to seems to imply that defrocking is excommunication.  I know for a fact that that is not the case.  

  7. Sam says:

    You are right Sylvia. These are some more information I gathered. I hope it may make clear Excommunication and laicization. Thanks

    Well, there is no process for excommunication. Any Catholic can be excommunicated, and often there is not even an announcement. Catholics who have had abortions, and continue to believe they were right to do so, are excommunicated by their actions. Catholics who help others get abortions, or vote for pro-abortion candidates find themselves excommunicated as well. (I’m just using abortion as an example, there are other reasons to be excommunicated).

    Excommunication means you are still Catholic, but you currently are not in communion with the Church. Because of this you cannot receive the Eucharist, but you are still expected to attend Mass, pray for enlightenment and seek to understand the truth the Church teaches.

    Priests who can no longer be priests, are laicized. This is different than excommunication. In Roman Catholicism, a laicized priest is forbidden to exercise his priestly functions, but an indelible priestly character is held to remain on his soul. Consequently, any exercise of his sacramental powers is considered valid even though illegal because he has been laicized.

    Excommunication is generally pronounced for doctrinal reasons — a refusal to accept and agree with the fundamental doctrines and theology of a faith.

    In Roman Catholicism, therefore, it is possible for a priest to be forcibly defrocked for his behavior but not excommunicated, because he has not rejected the doctrines of the Church, even if he has sinned against them.

    Voluntary laicization — willingly leaving the priesthood — is not synonymous with “defrocking”.

  8. John says:

    I do not know whether to wooooohoooooooo or throw up. Something is terribly amiss here. Let’s see if I have this straight……Exactly one year and 12 days ago Bishop Raymond Lahey pleaded guilty to possesion of child pornography……I think that I am right so far……so his crime was that he laid his eyes and hands on pieces of paper with with sexual images of pre-pubesecent children. Now before anyone jumps down my throat let me say this; I am in NO WAY minimizing the horror that these children lived and may still be living through. My point is this;  I sat in a courtroom in Windsor (Hod Marshall-June 8, 2011) a few days after sitting in the courtroom in Ottawa (Raymond Lahey-May 4, 2011) and witnessed 17 “in the flesh” victims and heard Hod Marshall plead guilty to laying more than his hands and eyes on.

    I am using Hod Marshall as an example, but Sylvia has hundreds of clerical molesters listed here. IF Raymond Lahey can be defrocked so quickly, then it should be a no-brainer to defrock each and every clerical molester that has pleaded guilty or has been found guilty prior to May 4, 2011 in such a timely manner……One year and 12 days……To the Windsor crew-Does that mean that Hod will no longer be a priest as of June 20th, 2012?

    Maybe, just maybe the Vatican rubber stamp is on order, after all “defrocked” is not something that you would find in the office supply aisle, but it is “Past Due”.

    John Mac Donald


  9. Adam says:

    Sorry for causing more confusion I should have realized my response was too quick …Sam is mostly right as well here’s the distinction….lahey is released from clerical state but is not free to marry because he was not released from celibacy as a canonical punishment as well he has to pray liturgy of the hours, he agreed to this and accepted the pronouncement.   If one knowingly does not adhere to canonical penalty they are excommunicated the same way as if one helped secure an abortion as Sam said not as a process. This was done for the good of his soul and hopefully for redemption….its not the same as someone who applies for release of clearical state and later wishes to marry, it’s a penalty issued by the apostolic court…and law enforcement is all powerful and all knowing…I pray lahey is going to adhere and lives out the rest of his days in penance and reparation.

  10. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Sam and Adam.  I think it’s getting sorted out now.  So, Raymond Lahey is “defrocked”/laicized; he can not and should not marry; he must and has agreed to pray the Liturgy of the Hours; if he knowingly violates the canonical penalty (liturgy of the hours and celibacy?) he incurs an automatic excommunication.

    Is that right? 

  11. Adam says:

    yes, and I’ve run it by a canon lawyer to make sure my understanding is correct – we don’t have a copy of the complete Decree of dismissal …but cccb was clear enough to allow us to come to this conclusion with certainty. 

  12. Sylvia says:

    John, I understand totally what you are saying and where you are coming from.  Do those in the Vatican who ‘defrocked’ Lahey view his crimes as worse than  those of Hod Marshall?  If not, and if at the very least the sexual abuse of 17 children is deemed by those in authority as serious a crime/sin as feasting ones eyes on child porn, then, as you say, we can perhaps hope for word of Hod’s laicization by 20 June?


  13. Sylvia says:

    Thanks Adam (16 May 9:11 pm) .  One final question. 

    I have been going through my copies of the Code with commentary.  I have three.  I can find nothing which addresses the issue of excommunication for violating the canonical penalty.  Where do I look?  Which is the applicable canon?  Is it an interpretation of a canon? or there is an actual canon which explicitly states that excommunication is the penalty for violating canonical penalties?   As I say, I just can not find anything and, no offence please, but I would feel more comfortable if I could see it in black and white somewhere, from an authoritative source.

  14. 1yellowknife says:

    *Sylvia: I forwarded the CCCB press advisory re Lahey earlier today.  Adam referred to it.

  15. Sylvia says:

    I posted it yesterday afternoon Lona.  It’s been on the site since since then.  Here it is. People looking for it will find the link on the Raymond Lahey page and on the NEW page.

  16. nellie in toronto says:

    and we trust the cccb because?????

  17. bob says:

    *Who now provides for lahey? All his trips  overseas to thailand etc.for his sexual gratifaction were paid by offerings of the faithful & now his upkeep will be done the same i presume. If this is the case are the faithful who give every sunday not upset by this? What about his & all other accused abusers lawyers fees. Surely to GOD we as the faithful don,t pay for all this do we?

  18. Sylvia says:

    According to canon law Lahey is now on his own financially and can no longer claim support form the Church – unless he his considered indigent.  If the latter, his bishop would see that he is provided for – I don’t think that would be the case with Raymond Lahey.  

    Here are a few comments about what his defrocking means

  19. Odogwu_Aganaga says:

    good talks, but: how can it be that one is defrocked i.e. laicised i.e. no longer a cleric and at the same time bound by the same obligations attaching to the clerical status which he no longer has??? once a priest always a priest but celibacy is not intrinsic to the priesthood neither is liturgy of the hours which someone mentioned??? more light please, any one–thanks

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