Vatican laicizes Canadian bishop convicted of importing child porn

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The National Catholic Reporter

May. 16, 2012

By Catholic News Service

Retired Bishop Raymond Lahey of the Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, arrives at a police station in Ottawa in 2009. (CNS/Reuters/Chris Wattie)

OTTAWA, Ontario Raymond Lahey, the retired bishop of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, who was convicted of importing child pornography, has been laicized by the Vatican, said the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A statement on the CCCB website Wednesday said the conference learned from the Vatican that “Raymond Lahey has been dismissed from the clerical state.” As such, he loses all rights and duties associated with being a priest, except the obligation of celibacy, said the bishops’ statement.

“Raymond Lahey has accepted the Decree of Dismissal, which also requires him to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in reparation for the harm and the scandal he has caused, and for the sanctification of clergy,” the statement said.

The 71-year-old former bishop pleaded guilty in May 2011 to charge of possession of child pornography for importation. He was released from prison Jan. 4 after the judge gave him double credit for eight months already served. The judge also imposed a period of 24 months’ probation with strict conditions on him.

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Good, but the man needs to be

Submitted by Rev. W.T. Suarez (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Good, but the man needs to be in prison. Canada is too easy on this kind of stuff.

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He was. Is justice really

Submitted by David Goulet (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

He was. Is justice really served by having him rot there? It’s always easy to talk tough and appear self righteous. But for the grace of God go you or I.

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“There but for the grace of

Submitted by julianne (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

“There but for the grace of God, go you or I.” I don’t think so. What he did was a choice, one I would never make and hopefully, either would you. The entire idea of child pornography makes me sick on my stomach, so no “go you or I,” anything. Why, if everything clerical has been stripped from him would celibacy remain? He’s not a priest or a bishop, so he can do anything he wishes, though with his sick fixation on children, let us pray he does not. I hope he has to wear an tracking device the rest of his life.

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“but for the grace of God go

Submitted by John David (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

“but for the grace of God go you or I”. I agreed David. I can’t imagine a child ever as an object of sexual desire. None-the-less, I have wondered, if I did, how would I handle it, as the burden must be enormous. I can’t remember if there were any victims – I hope not. I will keep him in my prayers and I hope you and others will as well.

John David

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i remember the NPR stories on

Submitted by Dave Pasinski (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

i remember the NPR stories on ths at that time… the tragic voices of his staff…Other bishops for other reasons shuld be joining him…

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Why does the “obligation of

Submitted by justmaybe (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Why does the “obligation of celibacy” remain when all else that defined priesthood is taken away? Just curious. Seems like a non sequitur response, especially in a case like this.

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In the Latin Rite, an

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

In the Latin Rite, an ordained bishop can never marry, even if they are laicized.

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Like most of his clerical

Submitted by Petrus Romanus (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Like most of his clerical confreres who have run afoul of the law, Raymond Lahey appears to be both perp and victim.

His “perp” has expressed remorse, after being caught. His acceptance of a lifetime of penance and prayer could be a healthy sign if it helps victims heal. (Bernard Law ought to be following in Lahey’s footsteps.)

Lahey’s “victim” prompts the question: What role did his clerical life and preparation play in his downfall? The answer(s) to that question will no doubt have lots of repercussions for a long time to come, both for clergy and seminarians, as well as for the church at large.

What we’ve learned to this point doesn’t really answer that question. Until our hierarchs take a long, hard and HONEST look at themselves, the question will go unanswered, to the shame and injury of the church/laity.

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Rome should have done the

Submitted by Gary (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Rome should have done the same thing with Bernard Law.

Justice in this life, mercy in the next.

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Isn’t it obvious that forced

Submitted by Magnolia Lady (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Isn’t it obvious that forced celibacy is a very hard burden? So many sexual hang ups could be avoided if the Church accepted sex as a basic, fundamental drive. I am not talking about promiscuity, merely availing themselves of marital companionship.

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I think I’d feel better about

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

I think I’d feel better about this story if I believed that the Vatican would have laicized even if he had not been tried and convicted under secular law. I think that’s been one of the real problems here: Rome has its own system of law (Canon Law), and the ability to enforce that law should they choose. To date, they seem to choose not to enforce far more than they do. The end result is that church leadership comes off as not at ALL concerned about justice, nor even compassion, but only in protecting “their own.” And in so doing, a huge gap opens between “their own” and the rest of us.

This is not a tempest in a tea pot: this is the chance for church leadership to show the world what they really believe, and what they really think about gospel values, morality, justice, compassion, and all those things that they tell the laity WE should live by. If they fail this test (and so far they have), I see little reason to believe the church will exist in its present form 20 years from now, because what they will have taught the world, is that all of those teachings mean nothing, if your own butt is on the line. And if that’s what the church truly stands for, then what’s the point?

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Well said, Magnolia Lady. It

Submitted by Brighde (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Well said, Magnolia Lady. It occurs to me that if they’ve defrocked him, he can tell them to shove their Liturgy of the Hours in the dark hole that passes for the Vatican’s heart.

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Bishop Lahey had been praised

Submitted by Augusta Wynn (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Bishop Lahey had been praised far and wide for his handling of the settlement with clergy abuse victims. What a fine bishop, folks said. As soon as he had received all that praise he hightailed it overseas to buy more child pornography, some of which were violent in nature.

No one knew of his proclivities? All those clerics he lived with? With whom did he share his obsession?

This “there but for the grace of God go I,” does not apply here. Lahey is a pedophile and for decades was performing religious ritual,like all of his pedophile priest confreres, while supporting the most heinous of cruelties toward the little ones.

Like so many before him, he gets a slap on the wrist. He was never a priest to begin with, so removing him from the clerical state is redundant.

AW

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Raymond Lahey looks

Submitted by KZRN (not verified) on May. 16, 2012.

Raymond Lahey looks absolutely “creepy”. Although he should be in prison, I’m pretty sure his life will be a living hell since he will be shunned by society and have to live with what he did unless he’s a psychopath. He doesn’t look too remorsefull to me.

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