Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bishop Lahey Affair and the Question of Catholic Priesthood and Celibacy -- 1

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Bishop Possessed Child Pornography For Years

As days go by, more news of recently-retired Antigonish Bishop Raymond J. Lahey's possession of child pornography is coming to light. According to the Canadian Press, Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John's in Newfoundland province said a review showed that Father Kevin Molloy of Portugal Cove came to know of Bishop Lahey's ownership of child pornography in 1989. At that time, official investigation was going on about several priests' sexual abuse of boys at Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John's. Shane Earle, one of the abused boys, one day told Father Molloy he saw child pornography catalogues in the residence of the then Father Raymond J. Lahey in 1985. The catalogues were addressed to "Ray Lahey." Shane also had told police about it during the investigation earlier. Father Lahey used to befriend boys at the orphanage and take them out to movies or to his residence in the weekend.

Recently Father Molly told The Globe and Mail daily: "Just the fact that he [Bishop Lahey] was a priest [at that time] and this young boy would find this kind of material in the priest's rectory appalled me terribly." Father Molloy immediately reported the matter to Archbishop Alphonsus Penney of St. John's. When Father Molly telephoned Bishop Lahey in St. George's in Newfoundland, Bishop understood what it was about and told Father Molloy: "Would you keep in touch with me if anything were to come up?" After that nothing happened on this matter and Father Molloy did not need to contact him again.

It is noteworthy that the possession of child pornography was not illegal in Canada until 1993.

Troubled Clergy Shun Help, Experts Say

National Post daily reports that when priests face deep psychological problems, they often shun help. Experts say: "Many clergy are so concerned about undermining the holiness of their calling that they would rather live with their troubles than come forward."

The report also says that "these experts are well familiar with the special pitfall priests face and why seeking out treatment -- for anything from alcoholism to depression to addiction to pornography -- can be so problematic even through help is widely available."

"Priests will sin," Archbishop Mancini

The CBC reports, Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Halifax, Nova Scotia, addressed the issue of Bishop Lahey with the parishoners of St. Mary's Basilica, Halifax, on October 4. This archbishop, who has been appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Antigonish after Bishop Lahey's resignation, in his Sunday sermon said: "You think, and many people think, that all we got to do is throw more money at it, throw more structure at it, throw more psychiatrists at it, and at the end of it all, we're going to come up with this wonderful, perfect structure. And you know what? That's never going to happen."

He also said: "So is it gonna happen again? Yeah, of course, it's gonna happen again. What all we can do is try to prevent and try to make sure that we put up all the safeguards that we can possibly put up."

Antigonish Diocese Won't Pay Bishop's Legal Bills

Archbishop Anthony Mancini in a statement on October 5 said that the Diocese of Antigonish would not pay the legal bills of retired Bishop Raymond J. Lahey, who is facing child pornography charges. This decision was made after Church officials met with the diocesan lawyers.

(Continued)
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