Former N.S. bishop Raymond Lahey stripped of clerical duties over child porn conviction

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The National Post

May 16, 2012 – 2:19 PM ET | Last Updated: May 16, 2012 2:40 PM ET

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press files

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press files

Former Roman Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey outside an Ottawa court on May 4, 2011. Lahey was convicted of importing child pornography into Canada.

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

The Holy See in Rome has dismissed Raymond Lahey from the clerical state in what is one of the most serious penalties that the Roman Catholic Church can impose, the Diocese of Antigonish, N.S., said Wednesday.

The decision means Lahey, a former bishop of Antigonish, can no longer work as a cleric nor preside at any religious services or sacraments.

“This decision reminds all of us of the serious harms that come from all forms of pornography, especially child pornography,” Antigonish Bishop Brian Joseph Dunn said in a statement.

“It also means that this action concludes both the criminal and canonical processes that are connected with this matter.”

In January, Lahey was sentenced to 15 months in jail and two years of probation after he was caught at the Ottawa airport in September 2009 with hundreds of pornographic images of young boys on his laptop and a handheld device.

But because Lahey was given double credit for the time he served in custody before his sentencing, he was released on probation upon conclusion of his trial.

“Much hurt, sadness and anger continue to be present in the hearts of many as we reflect on these events,” Dunn said.

“The lives of many have been seriously altered as a result of the challenges that have arisen. Moreover, the life of Raymond Lahey has been radically changed by his actions and this decision.”

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Raymond Lahey stripped of clerical duties

The Cape Breton Post

16 May 2012

Raymond Lahey Raymond Lahey

ANTIGONISH — The Vatican has dismissed Raymond Lahey from the clerical state.

This will mean that the former bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish will no longer function as a cleric, will no longer have the rights and duties of being a cleric, is not permitted to exercise any ecclesiastical offices or functions and is not permitted to preside at any of the sacraments or religious services.

However, any sacraments that he performed prior to this decision continue to be valid.

Lahey was convicted of possessing child pornography.

“While I am announcing this decision of the Holy See, I fully recognize that we as a diocesan family continue to have much work to do as we try to bring renewal to our church,” said Bishop Brian Dunn, in a press release.”

“This decision reminds all of us of the serious harms that come from all forms of pornography, especially child pornography. It also means that this action concludes both the criminal and canonical processes that are connected with this matter.”

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