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Toronto’s failed response to Bishop Lahey child porn [Addenda I & II]

Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Collins spoke Thursday to the legitimacy of public outrage in public outrage at clerical involvement in the child pornography industry. Addressing issues raised by arrest on child pornography charges of former Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey, Collins told those gathered at the annual Cardinal’s dinner:

The pain of scandal comes first of all because the fact of the evil itself is shocking, especially when it involves the abuse of the young and the vulnerable. To think of the multi-billion dollar industry of sexual exploitation is to be enraged; it is a scourge upon our society.

Although those who pause to reflect will recognize that this massive evil industry is hardly being sustained by the patronage of the clergy of any faith, if a priest or bishop engages in this iniquity, the outrage is all the more intense, and rightly so, for we who are ordained are called by God, and entrusted with the service of His people; any abuse of that trust is a betrayal of our vows to God, and of the people we are consecrated to serve.

Lahey, who in August negotiated a $15-million settlement with victims of sexual abuse by priests in Antigonish for incidents dating back to January 1st of 1950, was found by custom officials at Ottawa International Airport to have “images of concern” on his notebook computer.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company reported that the objects of concern included 964 image files and 33 videos, “with many showing what police believe are young males involved in sexual acts.”

Ronald Martin, who launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself and others who were sexually abused by priests in the Roman Catholic diocese of Antigonish and saw Lahey frequently while negotiating the settlement, said the incident “was the ultimate revictimization for every single one of us.”

Lahey played an at times vocal role in addressing sex-related issues, opposing same-sex marriage and encouraging parents to resist public school sex education efforts. In August when the settlement was announced, Lahey said the church had “been taking steps to protect children and youth.”

The combination of that decades-deep history of clerical sex abuse of parishioners, Lahey’s role as a key spokesman and Lahey’s involvement in child pornography is a pattern. That pattern does not affirm Archbishop Collins’ argument that the scandal is “like airplane crashes,” which “are dramatic exceptions to the fundamental reality.”

The archbishop’s desire to reassure the faithful is natural but arguing that nothing truly fundamental is amiss is unpersuasive.

Addendum

Canada’s child pornography laws summarized here.

Addendum II: What made them search a bishop?

From Religital:

Bishop Raymond Lahey avoided eye contact, changed his vocal tone and gave evasive responses when a border agent at Ottawa International Airport questioned him last month about his electronic equipment.

Standard reasons that are often wrong, but which in this case proved to be on point.

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November 1, 2009 - Posted by | Catholic, Law | , , ,

1 Comment

  1. […] awash in Catholic Church and state corruption. It is clear from the decades of history of similar scandals around the world that to delay full investigation is to further conceal. Thus Walsh, like his […]

    Pingback by Investigate every Roman Catholic diocese in Ireland « BaptistPlanet | November 27, 2009


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