Roman Catholic bishop facing child-pornography charges

Rev. Father Raymond Lahey, a Roman Catholic Bishop from Nova Scotia, Canada, was caught with child pornography on his laptop computer by RCMP officers.  They searched his home and office.  He’s now facing charges.  Child pornography is a big no-no everywhere, not just in the church.  I wonder if Bishop Lahey will still be considered a bishop by the Roman Catholic Church?

If the Roman Catholic Church knew about this for 20 years, why isn’t its leadership more transparent and pro-active about this stuff, especially when he was around vulnerable young children? I’m glad my church makes Lutheran ministers go through police checks and sit through a sexual boundaries workshop–even before ordination. But of course, we know that these do not guarantee any safety.  Still, “we are poor miserable sinners” as Luther would say.

When sins like this happens in our church leaders, it causes a person to become more aware of how our human nature is untouched by the prevalence of sin (keeping in mind our paradoxical nature of saint and sinner (simul justus et peccator).  Luther wrote in his lecture on Romans:

The saints in being righteous are at the same time sinners; they are righteous because they believe in Christ whose righteousness covers them and is imputed to them, but they are sinners because they do not fulfill the law and are not without sinful desires. They are like sick people in the care of a physician: they are really sick, but healthy only in the hope and insofar as they begin to be better, healed, i.e., they will become healthy.

It is ironic that it is precisely because of these weaknesses in our human nature that we, as saints, are able to minister to others with the same weaknesses.  The writer of Hebrews says: “A high priest has weaknesses of his own, and he feels sorry for foolish and sinful people. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins and for the sins of others” (Heb.5:2-3, CEV).

2 thoughts on “Roman Catholic bishop facing child-pornography charges

  1. Tim, this has been big news in Canada, and it’s still in the news. I was saddened by this news. Many people will point to cases like this and say that this is how bad these priests/pastors are. But I don’t think we will ever be able to avoid this simply because we are human beings and human beings do bad things.

    Like you, I did the same boundries workshop more than once. I did it three times: twice in seminary and again, just two weeks ago. What I heard there from the speaker was that violators will violate. Non-violators will not. But screening for sexual predators and violators doesn’t guarantee that someone won’t violate for the first time. We all have our secret vices–even bishops. It’s scary.


  2. Kevin,

    Yes, this is certainly a terrible charge against the bishop, which I am glad has been brought to the light.

    One thing I can say, however, is that many Catholic dioceses mandate police checks and boundry workshops for all those who do ministry, both lay and ordained. I can attest to having taken a particular program in the first diocese I did ministry work in, and then having to take the exact same program again when I moved back to Detroit. (Even after showing them that I had already completed the program.)

    Again, however, all of this depends on how committed a particular bishop is to making sure that his ministers are aware and screened for these issues.


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