Canadian Catholic Bishop Raymond Lahey charged–child pornography

PONTIFICAL ACT – Resignation of Bishop Lahey



Canadian law enforcement officials confirmed child pornography charges on Wednesday against Bishop Raymond Fahey

VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2009 (VIS) – The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese Antigonish, Canada, presented by Bishop Raymond John Lahey, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 401 §2. A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.

Bishop Fahey released news that the Holy Father had accepted his resignation:


September 26, 2009

My dear priests, deacons, religious and parishioners,

I want to let you know that after much thought and careful consideration, I decided to submit to the Holy Father my resignation as Bishop for personal reasons. I have now received word that the Holy Father has accepted my resignation and has made a formal announcement in Rome this weekend.

I recognize that my resignation takes place at a time when the Diocese is facing a variety of demanding challenges. While I will no longer be with you on this journey, I am confident that your faith and compassion will continue to sustain you as they have always done.

The Holy Father has appointed the Archbishop of Halifax, Anthony Mancini, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. I am sure that he and all those who faithfully serve you in diocesan leadership as well as in you parishes – priests, deacons, religious and laity alike – will have your cooperation.

To so many of you I would want to say a personal word of farewell and thanks. However, I have already left the Diocese to take some much-needed time for personal renewal. I simply ask for your prayers, as I assure you of my continued prayers for all of you.

Yours sincerely in the Lord,

+Raymond J. Lahey


Associated Press — Rob Gillies

TORONTO — Authorities say a Roman Catholic Bishop who oversaw his diocese’s settlement with victims of sex abuse is facing child pornography charges.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Brigdit Leger confimer the charges against Bishop Raymond Lahey on Wednesday.

The accusations stem from the bishop’s arrest following a random search of his laptop computer at Ottawa’s airport earlier this month.

Lahey didn’t mention the arrest when he resigned as bishop of the diocese of Antigonish in Canada’s province of Nova Scotia this past weekend. Lahey said he was leaving for personal reasons.

Lahey recently oversaw a $15-million Canadian (US$14 million) settlement with people who said they had been sexually abused by priests dating back to 1950.

BACKGROUND: Most Rev. Raymond J. Lahey, Ph.D., D.D.

Born in St. John’s Nfld., on May 29, 1940.

Ordained on June 13, 1963.

Named Bishop of St. George’s on July 8, 1986 and was ordained in Corner Brook in August 3, 1986

Bishop Lahey was named as the Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish on April 5th, 2003 by H.H. Pope John Paul II.

Installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish on June 12, 2003 at the Cathedral Church of the Diocese, St. Ninian Cathedral, Antigonish.

Degrees: B.Th. (1961), L.Th. (1963) and Ph.D. (magna cum Laude) (1966) from the University of Ottawa.

Positions Held:

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland;

Proctor of St. John’s College on the campus of Memorial;

Associate Professor of Religious studies

Head of the Department of Religious Studies at the same University.

Member of the University Senate.

Pastoral Ministry:

Administrator of Holy Cross Parish, Holyrood in the Diocese of Grand Falls

Pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Mount Pearl, Archdiocese of St. John’s.

Vicar General of the Diocese of St. John’s, NFLS

In March 1985 he was awarded the title of Prelate of Honour by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

Bishop Lahey has also served on the Provincial Religious Education Committee, two School Boards, the Belvedere Orphanage Trust, and was Vice-Chairman of the Roman Catholic 200th Anniversary Committee, which included responsibility for the preparations for the Papal Visit to Newfoundland in September 1984.

He is also the author of a number of studies and articles on theology and Church history. Among his writings are substantial contributions to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. He has had memberships on several scholarly bodies, including the American Academy of Religion.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish comprises the 7 counties of Northeastern Nova Scotia, these are three counties on the mainland (Antigonish, Pictou and Guysborough Counties) as well as all of Cape Breton Island (Richmond, Inverness, Victoria and Cape Breton Counties), Nova Scotia, Canada. The Seat of the Diocese is located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, at St. Ninian Cathedral with the Chancery Office located in that community.



26 thoughts on “Canadian Catholic Bishop Raymond Lahey charged–child pornography”

  1. Long before even the TLM, and even during the years we had only the TLM, there was sin, even sexual sin in the priesthood.
    I remember reading in the Old Testament that the sins of the fathers would be upon their children for many generations. I thought “That’s not fair God. Why would you do that?” Since, I’ve come to realize it is not God who does it.
    While in Grad school, I worked on the Sex Offenders Unit at one of our State Mental Institutions. Some rapists, but most were child molesters. About 99% were molested as children, or their fathers molested others in the family.
    Some years ago, a young freind of mine told me he started having sexual feelings for his son when his son was about 3. It was then he began to have flashbacks of his own childhood abuse and eventually separated from the family, with many painful years following. This son was later sexually inappropriate with his sister.
    Does this mean sexual abuse must continue for generations? No. God is also in the business of healing, deliverance and exorcism. For many, getting secular counseling will not erase this generational curse. Of course, I do not know if this is a generational pattern with Bishop Fahey. What I do know is that he, and all sinners, need our prayers. Let him without sin, cast the first stone.

  2. Yannick: Oh, now let’s go with the hysterical smokescreen, shall we? If the bishop was in possession of child porn, this is a serious matter. Big Brother has little to do with it. One wonders about those who are so concerned about privacy that they go into hystrionics whenever a crime is discovered via a perceived invasion of such…FYI

    “The Catholic Church would like to remind all readers that the exploitation, molestation, battery and raping of children by priests is a thing of the past. All is well! Please continue to send donations as well as 10% of your annual income to support our priests.

    Nothing to see here, just move along!”

    I find this deeply offensive and demand an apology, on behalf of all faithful Catholics. It’s true that the abuse of young people by a relative handful of bad priests is horrendous (consider the thousands of priests who are not only faithful to their vows, but do a great deal of good); but Mother Church has done everything possible to ensure that this sort of thing does not occur again. Your anger is justified; the way you choose to express it is NOT.

    1. You want an apology? OK, I am sorry that your faith has blinded you to the evil in your church. I was raped repeatedly by a priest when I was 13. He admitted it and the diocese declared me “credible”. Despsite that admission, your “Mother Church” has never apologized to me, nor have they taken any steps to fix the institutional problem. In fact they keep denying and stonewalling as a matter of corporate policy. I have never asked for a dime, only the truth and that seems to be beyond the Catholic Hierarchy’s grasp.
      You find it deeply offensive? Too bad! I guess you will have to learn to deal with the disappointment like the rest of us. People like you that blindly submit to the “Church’s authority” are probably bigger victims than those of us that were raped. But, please go on believing what you are told. I am sure that the church would never hide any information from you, as long as you keep sending them money.

  3. Michael
    I am so sorry for what was done to you. If it will help, I apologize in the name of my beloved. Church. When Pope Benedict XVI was last in the USA, he met with several of the victims and asked forgiveness in the name of the Church. I worked in mental health for a number of years and know the devastating effects of the sexual abuse of children. The only answer is the healing power of Jesus; otherwise, these effects may be life long. . He can bring the healing and forgiveness you need to free you from the effects of the sin that was done to you. Jesus and His Healing Power can be found in the Catholic Church. Don’t give up.

    1. Pope Benedict XVI’s involvement to date in this crisis has been mostly a public relations failure and there was no follow-up once the cameras were turned off after his visit to the United States. The recent incident with Bishop Fahey brings the Pope’s position into sharp focus. He did not even extend the courtesy of a phone call to the Archbishop of Halifax to tell him why Bishop Fahey’s resignation was accepted so abruptly, no warning of the scandal to come. Most likely he was hoping for a quiet adjudication of the case. Your Pontiff was also very involved, as a Cardinal, in keeping as much of the scandal of child abuse/molestation/rape under wraps.

      As for the devastating effects of sexual abuse, I can tell you a thing or two. I am better off than most of the survivors with whom I have spoken in the last few years. But the damage is there.

      I was raised in a devout Irish Catholic family. My parents and some of my siblings still find great comfort in the church and I respect that. I don’t understand it, but I respect it. I, however, don’t think the answers I seek will come from within your church. All I see is lying, fraud and cover-up. I was treated horribly after reporting my perp. I received inappropriate and hateful phone calls from parishioners who, despite his admission and evidence from 8 other victims, blamed me tarnishing this “man of God”. I had to deal with arrogant bishops and a chancery that wanted me to go away. They did move the priest out of the jurisdiction and ran the clock on statutes of limitation. So he lives in comfort with no consequence.

      No, I find no comfort in your Catholic Church and no hope of any resolution from the hierarchy that protects monsters.

      Your apology is a touching and sincere gesture and I thank you for offering it. But, your bishops still shield monsters who prey on children. It is something, but it is not enough.

  4. Michael,

    Of course what was done to you was horrendous and is inexcusable. What needs to be emphasised, however, is that = not only is “the Church” not guilty (because Christ IS the Church and the Church Herself is holy) – but not only that, but we need to remind you that we are living through THE worst crisis ever to afflict the Church. Successive popes have admitted as much.

    This child abuse by clergy phenomenon is but one of many manifestations that Satan is having a fling right now. Priests and religious are definitely NOT what they used to be and while there have always been bad priests and bishops (one thinks of Judas, right up, chosen by Our Lord Himself) nevertheless, never before have we seen such an onslaught of evil as we are witnessing right now – even if, as another blogger rightly pointed out, the statistics are slight by comparison with other social groups (e.g. more stepfathers abuse children than do Catholic priests – small, if any, comfort, I know)

    So, my key message is this: don’t savage “The Church” because “The Church” is not operating normally right now.

    Bishops and even Popes have been gulty of covering up this terrible abuse and they are obviously in the wrong. It is not at all Catholic to try to defend them in these circumstances. One of the things that this crisis is bringing out is the incredible ignorance of the majority of Catholics who do not know the nature and purpose of papal authority and they treat the Pope as if he is a semi-god. He is not and his authority does not extend beyond defending the Faith as it has been handed on to us. That’s it. He isn’t allowed to introduce new teachings such as ecumenism etc. and if he did the unthinkable and commanded us to be ecumenists, we would rightly refuse to obey. Most Catholics don’t understand that – usually the same Catholics who try to defend these indefensibly negligent shepherds who have failed to deal honestly and fully with bad child-abusing priests.

    All of this is written in haste, so hope it is clear enough. God bless you, Michael.

    1. I did not “savage” your church. And the church doesn’t get a pass because it is “not operating normally right now”. You are living through a crisis because survivors will not live with the great terrible secret any longer. I am a little tired of Catholics who long for the heady days when all was normal. Normal = victims of abuse are silent. Abuse by clergy is not a “phenomenon”. It has been institutionalized over hundreds of years and just brought to the forefront in the last 50 years.

      Stop making excuses. And stop playing the “other people do it too” card. It is insulting and shows your lack of understanding of the problem. If others are caught they go to jail. If a priest is caught, in the majority of cases he is moved and the church covers the abuse up. Don’t you dare lecture me and try to make it look like compassion.

      Until parishioners stand up and tell the bishops, cardinals and even the pope that this behavior will not be tolerated and force them to come clean on all the priests that they have sheltered, you are all guilty of passively supporting the corporate policy of vilifying survivors while protect the treasure of the church. At some point it stopped being about God, didn’t it?

      Your one comment was right on and you demonstrated your own point – “One of the things that this crisis is bringing out is the incredible ignorance of the majority of Catholics…”.

      You get the church you deserve. You can have it. I have had no use for it since Father Gibson raped me when I was child. All I want is the truth and it seems that the Catholic church has no idea of the concept of truth.

  5. Michael
    I believe God will take care of His Church. He promised He will never leave us or forsake us. Therfore, I am more concerned about you. I can tell even though time has passed, you are still hurting. Many times sexual abuse by a priest affects a persons image of themselves and of God. It may be hard to trust God after being abused by one who is suppose to represent Him who is our loving Father. Rest assured, He is trustworthy. You are the beloved of the Father. Our Lord Jesus wants to come to you and to heal you of all your hurts. of all your pain. He wants you to have holy and healthy relationships with others. which is often difficult for someone who has been so betrayed. Do you know someone in your area who knows the healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ who will help you through this healing?
    Many times, those who have suffered much, like you, are called to great things. He will lead you. He may even lead you back to His Church, but that may not be the next step. Surround yourelf with people who love Jesus. Read God’s word daily. “The Lord hears the cry of the poor and helps him in all his troubles.” Ps 34:6. “The day I called for help, you heard me and you increased my strength.” Ps 138:3
    May God bless you and heal you. May He shine His face upon you. May He fill you with His love and His peace.

    1. Michael
      When I prayed for you last night, after I turned off my computer, I got a picture of Jesus holding you in His arms and comforting you. This morning when I prayed for you again, the thought came to my mind of your need to forgive Fr. Gibson. Unforgiveness can block healing. Your forgiveness will not take his sin away, he will have to deal with God directly, but it is important for you to be free.. God will deal with Fr. Gibson. If he chooses to never repent or be transformed by God, God will judge where he will spend eternity.

  6. I think, Michael, you will find that I speak out very forcefully in criticism of bad priests and bishops. That was my point. You have very good reason to be angry at Fr Gibson, just as some of the rest of us have very good reason to be angry at those who perpetrated injustices and crimes against us. Doesn’t mean we have the right to be rude and insult other people whose only crime is to try to offer possible explanations or to clarify certain matters. You clearly want to blame us all, wholesale. So, for what is worth, since apologising seems to be the fashion thises days, allow me to apologise. I didn’t DO anything to you, but somehow I am to blame. Sorry!

    I can see that you are less than interested in comments about your situation – you talk about truth but don’t want to face up to it yourself, so I am going to bow out of this conversation now rather than be further accused of lecturing you when I did no such thing.

    God bless.

  7. Well in the recent article of the news Raymond Lahey’s computer was searched and they found hundres of explicit pictures of children have sex. The problem I have here is why does the Catholic Church having known of priests or bishops that prey on children keep a quiet profile of them from the public. Instead of bringing this to the attention of the authorities these child molesting priests are placed in different churches. With one hand they praise God and Jesus and with the other they fondle naked children. The Catholic Church has the ability to stop this but they rather allow wolves to prey on sheeps than for the truth to come out.

  8. Patricia,
    Open your eyes and your mind — never before have we seen such an onslaught of evil as we are witnessing right now — because of this Bishop’s age – mine- would never dare tell others what they had been put through. Who knows, was it the media and especially better education in schools that allowed children to declare and teachers to perceive abuse!
    Thank God for that, there has always been plenty of evil, children were first to denounce it, and then adult victims finally were able to open up about it.

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