Archbishop writes parishioners about Lahey case

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Martin Currie asks Catholics to ‘re-commit ourselves to building a better church’

CBC News

Posted: Jan 8, 2012 10:52 AM NT

Last Updated: Jan 8, 2012 1:26 PM NT

Archbishop Martin Currie (pictured) has issued a message to Newfoundland and Labrador parishioners about the Raymond Lahey child pornography case.

Archbishop Martin Currie (pictured) has issued a message to Newfoundland and Labrador parishioners about the Raymond Lahey child pornography case. (CBC)

Archbishop Martin Currie has issued a message to  Newfoundland  and  Labrador  parishioners about the Raymond Lahey child pornography case, expressing “sadness, disappointment and anger” and urging the Catholic community to learn from the situation and move forward.

“Let us draw whatever good we can from this event, and re-commit ourselves to building a better church, society and world, a world in which people are valued and treated with respect, where no child suffers, and where all can live in peace and joy,” Currie said in a prepared statement.

“This archdiocese is committed to establishing safe and supportive communities for our young people and vulnerable adults. Through our screening process, we continue to take steps to create a secure environment for all members of the church.”

Sunday services

Currie’s statement was made available to Roman Catholic parishes across the province, so it could be delivered during Sunday services.

But the archbishop left it to the discretion of individual priests about how — or whether — to do so.

Bishop Raymond Lahey arrives at an Ottawa courthouse in this 2011 file photo. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Last week, Lahey — who served as a bishop in western Newfoundlandbefore moving to Nova Scotia—was sentenced to 15 months in prison on child pornography charges.

He walked free after receiving a two-for-one credit for time served.

In 2009, Lahey was apprehended at Ottawa’s airport after authorities checked his personal computer and found a large cache of child pornography.

‘All-too-common obsession’

Currie expressed his sadness and anger at the Lahey situation.

“Pornography is an all-too-common obsession and addiction,” the archbishop’s statement noted. “Let us be clear that we, as Christian people, stand for the protection of all life, for human dignity and fullness of life. We stand against all that harms or degrades human beings.”

The archbishop said that Lahey has requested to be removed from the clerical state, and noted that the church will impose this, or other, penalties.

 ___________________________

Comments

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  • rolfku2012/01/08
    at 5:55 PM ET  we have heard all about celibathy but what about a first nunn like the first lady od the us. just viualize it, nicely dressed up, at the side of the pope.
    just think what this would do to the taliban or these newly minted jewish “orthodox”.Rating0Agree with comment (0people agree)
  • Dr. Wayne2012/01/08
    at 5:42 PM ET  Why don’t you write the parishioners about the Catholic Church coverup, the continuing deflections of the truth, the disgusting antics of your so called ‘holy’ people. That would be an appropriate message.Rating7Agree with comment (9people agree)
  • BrianEV2012/01/08
    at 5:21 PM ET  The organization that has not shown any accountability is the Catholic Church. Lahey is the man responsible, as agent of the church, for the settlement in Antigonish Parish for sexual crimes committed by priests under control of their bishop, meaning, for a time, Lahey. That settlement has resulted in the disposal of parish property to raise funds to settle ‘victim’ claims – all outside the civil law. Parish property includes churches, parish halls, land, and maintenance and building funds. At least morally these belong to the parishioners who have provided them over the centuries, but they have been taken by the church to persuade ‘victims’ not to take legal action for their damages. And civil authorities turn a blind-eye to the whole thing.People like Lahey will continue to prosper until we decide the church is not above the law.Rating15

edcan12012/01/08
at 5:19 PM ET  Re: tanneradozen, what does “test” mean?R

  • nuvi2002012/01/08
    at 4:56 PM ET  The poor victims here should be the main concern of any letter . It seems the church just wants to cover everything else up and avoid responsibility for their inaction which allowed this to happen over and over.Rating18Agree with comment (25people agree)Disagree with comment (7people disagree)
    tanneradozen2012/01/08
    at 4:03 PM ET  test
  • b.c. terry2012/01/08
    at 4:00 PM ET  This one alright cbc?After all these years, and all the statements from the church, not one word on what should happen to those who were responsible for the continuation of the sexual abuse of innocent children by covering it up,
  • Mahou Shoujo2012/01/08
    at 3:58 PM ET  This is taking too long to come to any conclusion. the individuals responsible should be sued by the victims and if unable to meet the conditions of the court, declare bankruptcy like anyone else would. There is a point of individual accountability and a limit to corporate responsibility. Define and use it.
  • zowywowy2012/01/08
    at 3:24 PM ET  The minute the Catholic church abolishes celibacy (which was NEVER encouraged by Christianity, for clerics or otherwise) and only promotes clerics who are married, these problems would be extremely rare
  • LindaDial2012/01/08
    at 3:12 PM ET  As long as the canon law of the RC Church, housed in the Vatican, an independent country and state of physical territory, is permitted to have any legal standing above the secular law of an RC church’s host nation, this foreign power will continue to flaut the host nation’s secular law with impunity. The Vatican is the haven, refuge and the extraterritorial protector of these criminals. Within the Vatican, canon law is the law period. Priest, bishops, archbishops and cardinals all owe their first allegiance to a foreign power, the Vatican. Their secular citizenship is a secondary allegiance. They have another country to which they can run and hide and be protected from prosecution for their crimes. And that is the root of the problem.
  • Gordon Pike2012/01/08
    at 3:06 PM ET Archbishop Martin Currie has issued a message, “expressing sadness, disappointment and anger and urging the Catholic community to learn from the situation and move forward”.And yet, the RC Church still has not made the decision to boot Lahey out of the church for his gross misconduct. That speaks volumes. What is taking so long? The RC Church are a bunch of hypocrites. Move forward means, move on. Do as I say, not as I do. The only thing the RC Church has learned is don’t get caught. And even then, they don’t punish their own bad apples. What a disgrace.
  • Dennis Brady2012/01/08
    at 2:18 PM ET goodguy wrote:
    Sexual expression among its employees…………?That is the definition of sexual harassment in the workplace and is…… against the law.
    __________________

    The only law it’s against is Catholic Canon law. Only the Catholics accept that Canon law has any validity or relevance anywhere in any human society.

     

  • Jack Canada2012/01/08
    at 2:17 PM ET goodguy2012/01/08
    at 11:05 AM ET :”Some people like going to casinos…….some to churches.

    Its a free country…………….remember….!”

    Both church and casino’s are the same. Chancing hope by way of belief in a faith of an invisible god.

  • CADN-9992012/01/08
    at 2:06 PM ET This again?
    CBC seems almost obsesed with covering every religious related story it can get its hands on, and some over and over.
    Is because of some “appointed role” to help take and govern the ‘religious temperature’ among Canadians these days and peraps even try to put a left sway to it all.
    Thats how it at least seem also according in the number and types of comments and the usual charactors that are allowed to troll on these type stories and CBC almost pitching things slightly to the left.
    Not everyone is blind to this. Some are even …awake…….(gasp) 
  • Arctic Dude2012/01/08
    at 1:37 PM ET There is no woman in the upper levels of the RCC therefore I don’t trust them. Time for this old boys club to either turn into an old boys and girls club or shut down.
  • Jack Canada2012/01/08
    at 1:35 PM ET “I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.”Arthur C. Clarke
  • goodguy2012/01/08
    at 1:31 PM ET Boy………..CBC sure cut this story off quickly………!
  • pesticide free2012/01/08
    at 1:18 PM ET “This archdiocese is committed to establishing safe and supportive communities for our young people”…I suggest the church lead by example and pay what is long overdue to the victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy in this province.
    How do you expect us to believe your comments given the church’s reluctance to be accountable. These boys had their lives ruined by your priests, when all along it was known what priests were doing, but instead you shuffled them to another parish to abuse some other innocent kids.
    Shame on the Catholic Church in this province for not being truthful, open and honest to all of us. And you wonder why your churches are full of older people…I believe its how you treat people and live your life each day that matters more than going to church.
  • singleminded2012/01/08
    at 1:14 PM ET Someone asked what attracts “flawed people like Mr. Lahey to organized religion”.
    It’s a good question and I’d be interested in what others think about this. I think that…Part of it is the easy access to a ready pool of “believers” – people who are much less likely to question a man who, to them, represents a connection to their God.

    Part of it has to do with the Roman Catholic church’s requirement for celibate, male-only clergy. That alone eliminates the entire “sexually normal” human population.

    Part of it has to do with the cruel and wrong church teaching that homosexuality is a choice and a sin. I think some of these priests actually believe they are sinners because of their homosexual nature and are trying to overcome their own “sin” by joining the church. A recipe for a terrible life for all concerned.

  • Sub Zero2012/01/08
    at 1:09 PM ET What most people seem to be overlooking is that there is no correlation between “spirituality” and “religion.” If you live your life appropriately, you’ll find no need to attend any man made building on a weekly basis to publicly profess your love for a higher power. There are reasons for the decline of all organised religions over the last several years. This is only one of them.
  • KM……2012/01/08
    at 1:08 PM ET If you follow the trend with priests and bishops , their victims are mainly boys or young men which classifies them as homosexual pedophiles and keeping them from marrying or being with women will not change their ways because they are simply not interested in the opposite gender.Why hasn’t an investigation been launched to track his actions in the foreign countries he visited ? What are the chances that there are victims abroad ? Perhaps the RCMP should start in Honduras where these crimes have been committed for decades.

    The only solution is for the Catholic people to take over control of their churches and remove the priest that continue to enable sexual abuse. Catholics in the Lahey’s former diocese are already starting to exhibit control – this needs to be a worldwide movement.

     

  • mercedesjones2012/01/08
    at 12:56 PM ET Any one of us strong in the RC faith knows that at times our faith will be rigorously tested; I view this as one of those times.
  • Jack Canada2012/01/08
    at 12:32 PM ET “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”Steven Weinberg

     

  • bonsimons2012/01/08
    at 12:26 PM ET Holier than Thou?
  • DRS2012/01/08
    at 12:11 PM ET
    Sex is a basic human desire.We do not have a choice to not experience sex or sexual feelings. Celebicy flies in the face of having a normal sex life.

    While there may be a small number of people who do not have this feeling, it does happen to the mojority of us.

    Sexual addicition can happen to anyone. For sure, what happened here is not right, but the life of the church would be enhanced if it would allow sexual expression amongst it’s ëmployee’s.

     

  • goodguy2012/01/08
    at 12:04 PM ET Can someone point out the difference from someone that wears a cloth…….a policeman’s uniform……..a teacher wearing a suit……..a politician wearing a suit………a youth co ordinator wearing jeans……….as to which is the greater guilty of being a sexual child predator when it comes to committing such crimes against our children….?My point being is that…..they are all equally guilty…no matter what cloth…… suit……. or uniform they wear when it comes to pornography induced crimes against our children.

    Its not just a “religious” problem…..its a problem all too common of all of society.

    Just ask any of the many policemen….politicians…….teachers and others of society that are now serving time in our prisons for crimes related to pornography.

     

  • at 12:04 PM ET If the Church really wanted to send a message they’d Excommunicate him and make it clear that any other Catholic who condones child pornography (through possession or creation or distribution) faces the same punishment.Excommunication is the only real consequence the Church has, That they haven’t used it speaks to Church’s commitment to properly deal with this problem that appears to run throughout the Catholic Church.

    I think a month of empty donation plates world-wide might encourage some proper morality from the Vatican.

  • maresdea2012/01/08
    at 11:18 AM ET I think the onus of responsibility here is primarily on the clergy and Roman Catholic church leadership to recognize that the structure of the institution which they continue to condone contributes to a culture of sexual deviancy and secrecy about that deviancy – through a greater concern to protect ‘their own’ over those who have been abused. For example, Cardinal Law of Boston, who concealed clergy sexual abuse in his Diocese, was conveniently relocated to Rome in 2002, was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the archpriest of a prestigious basilica in Rome (Santa Maria Maggiore) in2004, remained a Cardinal of the church and as such, participated in the papal conclave in 2005.Until we draw from all of God’s people, women and men to be ministers and leaders in our church with a leadership structure of mutuality and co-responsibility and with respect for civil and ecclesial accountability, then we cannot expect much to change.

    Secondarily, all Roman Catholics should be outraged enough by the global proportions of the sexual abuse scandal in the church to speak out – in their parishes, with Catholic friends, to their bishops (a responsibility outlined at Vatican II) and to work for reform in the church that permits it to flourish rather than languish. I think many Canadian Catholics simply have little to no expectations that the church will feed them anything but stones when they are asking for bread – if we collectively ask for change, we are the 99%!

  • Cordel432012/01/08
    at 11:11 AM ET People should listen to what the church says, watch what the church does, and then pay attention to the church directives in exactly the same way. The hierarchy can’t possibly believe in eternal damnation and continuer to act as they do.
  • chas092012/01/08
    at 11:07 AM ET What is it about the church – organized religion – that attracts flawed people such as the former Bishop Lahey?
  • Hank Ford2012/01/08
    at 10:57 AM ET Before I trust any church, I want to see the list of their sexual predators that they reported to police. All I see is that those who finally face justice have been well hidden by the church.
  • Lumpsask2012/01/08
    at 10:50 AM ET The letter is now a matter between the archdiocese and its parishioners. It was never released to CBC. So why is CBC publishing it?
  • Snoofie2012/01/08
    at 10:47 AM ET “Pornography is an all-too-common obsession and addiction,” the archbishop’s statement noted.What Archbishop Currie’s statement fails to acknowledge is that there is a vast, *vast* difference between mainstream pornography and child pornography. It’s not a crime to possess mainstream porn; what was found on Lahey’s laptop was far from normal or mainstream.

    It’s one thing to be gay — that isn’t a crime, and Lahey’s free to live as he chooses in that regard — but that doesn’t mean that one has to be a pervert on top of it. It’s really a shame that this story could serve to reinforce the all-too-common (but erroneous) belief that gay men are all perverts.

    Lahey needs to be removed from the clergy and have nothing to do with any profession that has anything to do with children. He may claim that he has never actually harmed a child, but who knows if that’s true?

    I’m a Catholic, but I am by no means blind to the shortcomings of either the Church or some of its clergy. I don’t think that ALL priests are perverts, by any means, but those who have been proven to be guilty — or who admit their guilt — need to be dealt with swiftly and VERY severely.

  • blakedes2012/01/08
    at 10:42 AM ET The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.Arthur C Clarke
  • Kensington 12012/01/08
    at 10:39 AM ET It is time to move away from the silly vows of celibacy. As for Lahey, theVatican needs to defrock him as he has basically requested himself
  • at 10:35 AM ET Perhaps they should screen the people that already work for the church. Those seem to be the culprits.
  • Ottawamom2012/01/08
    at 10:33 AM ET The Catholic church has a problem that seems wide-spread. Perhaps they need to consider treatment programmes for offending priests, removal from contact with vulnerable people, and other preventative measures aside from a re-examination of the question of celebacy.
    They can fund treatment programmes for victims – but really, who would trust them to run those?
  • FineWine2012/01/08
    at 10:31 AM ET Glad I wasn’t there to listen to that statement. 
  • at 10:19 AM ET Thanks, Archbishop Currie. As we continue to work paying off the church’s financial commitment made on our behalf, we’ll think of you in your beautiful office eating wonderful meals, also paid for by us, and remember how you took a bullet for the team.
  • Robert_R2012/01/08
    at 10:18 AM ET “Let us draw whatever good we can from this event, and re-commit ourselves to building a better church, society and world, a world in which people are valued and treated with respect, where no child suffers, and where all can live in peace and joy,”
    ———————————————————————————————————–Hmmm, Currie wrote this to parishioners. Noble thought, but should this not have been sent to the Pope instead?
  • Defeated2012/01/08
    at 10:14 AM ET Disgusting isn’t even the right word for this.
    And the Archbishops words ring hollow.
    Far too many times with the catholic church, we hear the rhetoric about anger,disappointment,and making amends,blah,blah,blah…it’s always the same.
    We hear very little about the churche’s support for the victims..
    And then it happens all over again.
    Sometimes by the same mouthpiece who was doing the damage control.
    The church knows…they have always known…and it is the church that needs to change.
    They owe an apology not only to the victims,but to the entire catholic community,if not the world.
    So far,they have chosen not to do that.
    They still live in the dark ages and their refusal to change will be their undoing…perhaps it already is, as it become ever more embarrassing to mention that you are of the Catholic faith.
  • aworker2012/01/08
    at 10:14 AM ET Any person in a position of authority, especially clergy, ministers and priests who have these kinds of sins in their background should admit their guilt and step down -IMMEDIATELY. why wait to be found out? Every church preaches against the abuse of children and against pornography so if they actually believed in their preaching they would spare the victims more pain.
    The problem is, many do not believe the rules apply to them and are terrible hypocrites
  • smccauley642012/01/08
    at 10:14 AM ET If the church means what they preach then they would give up all the priests they have ever moved around to other parishes who had complaints against them for sexual advances.
    This religion will never clean itself up.
  • cray20072012/01/08
    at 10:13 AM ET  “Pornography is an all-too-common obsession and addiction,” the archbishop’s statement notedthis was not just pornography …which is something between 2 (or more) consenting adults, this was child pornography, and this man walks away? there is no jusitice system in Canada any more, just a legal system who allows people like this to walk out of courtrooms thinking they have gotten away with it. Sad part is, they have and we are the ones that foot the bill with our taxes for their court appointed lawyers. Sad state of affairs.
  • JOHNDEE2012/01/08
    at 10:12 AM ET   What more can be said about the Catholic Church — it never ceases to dissapoint.
  • harley3892012/01/08
    at 10:04 AM ET  …. and urging the Catholic community to learn from the situation and move forward.And when will this learning happen?? Seems to me like the church is only good at blindly moving forward. Child abuse and pornography is so consistent within this organization and it doesn’t appear to be going away. Thank God I do not feel the compulsion to put small kids in front of those people who are ‘trusted’ and ‘spiritual’.
  • Vengeful Mantis2012/01/08
    at 10:04 AM ET  Archbishop Currie could well be sincere, but after decades of denial, excuses, cover-ups and relocations of known offenders, the Catholic church and its agents have earned our skepticism.
  • TellTheTruth012012/01/08
    at 10:00 AM ET  “Archbishop Martin Currie has issued a message to Newfoundland and Labrador parishioners about the Raymond Lahey child pornography case, expressing “sadness, disappointment and anger” and urging the Catholic community to learn from the situation and move forward.”How about the church itself learning from this ? Now there is a novel concept!! How hypocritical from a church who has been hiding this for years and a backwards pope
  • nabalat2012/01/08
    at 9:36 AM ET  Archbishop Currie …. if all of our church leaders were as straightforward and decisive as you, we would not be talking about this issue. God Bless you.

LaurieClark2012/01/08
at 11:49 AM ET  Unbelievable!!!!

 

LeslieJacober2012/01/08
at 12:14 PM ET  no its called brainwashed and old school and people arent going to really stand for it hopfully anymore!Rating11Agree with comment (16people agree)Disagree with comment (5people disagree)

3 Responses to Archbishop writes parishioners about Lahey case

  1. MikeMc says:

    Two of many significant remarks:

    “Let us draw whatever good we can from this event, and re-commit ourselves to building a better church, society and world, a world in which people are valued and treated with respect, where no child suffers, and where all can live in peace and joy,”
    ———————————————————————————————————–Hmmm, Currie wrote this to parishioners. Noble thought, but should this not have been sent to the Pope instead?

    Disgusting isn’t even the right word for this.
    And the Archbishops words ring hollow.
    Far too many times with the catholic church, we hear the rhetoric about anger,disappointment,and making amends,blah,blah,blah…it’s always the same.
    We hear very little about the churche’s support for the victims..
    And then it happens all over again.
    Sometimes by the same mouthpiece who was doing the damage control.
    The church knows…they have always known…and it is the church that needs to change.
    They owe an apology not only to the victims,but to the entire catholic community,if not the world.
    So far,they have chosen not to do that.
    They still live in the dark ages and their refusal to change will be their undoing…perhaps it already is, as it become ever more embarrassing to mention that you are of the Catholic faith.

  2. 1 abandoned sheep says:

    MikeMC, I apologize for my several typos in the last post.
    I have gotten to the point where I wonder if the Catholic Church is Christian. It seems at times it has lost its way.
    A Bishop, whose name has come up on this site just a few times, when I confronted him with this type of discussion about 2o years ago, said, Place all your trust in God, and be cautious with mankind.
    We must remember the Church was founded by Jesus Christ, and He said, I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF TIME !!! That is what I cling to, Hope in, and Trust in ! God is always True to His Word.

  3. Anne C says:

    Who needs to “re-commit ourselves”? The archbishop’s letter sounds more like a chastisement of the Catholic faithful. It is YOU – that needs to change.

    Anger is good amongst the people if it motivates – and may some accountability in the RC church come of this.

    I agree – the RC church has gotten so far removed from Jesus’s simple teaching of love, poverty and honesty. They have turned the church into this weird corrupt regulatory body that purveys ‘holy’ sacraments (baptisms, weddings etc) in exchange for cash. Their lawyers now keep them afloat, and obviously write these statements.

    As Jesus did – live a simple life, stay clear-sighted.

    I also believe that in the end…God will deal with those who do, support, hide or deny these despicable acts of harming children.

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