Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 5, 2009
Antigonish bishop charged with importing child porn
WCR NEWS SOURCES
ANTIGONISH, N.S. - Bishop Raymond Lahey, one of Atlantic Canada's most prominent bishops, has been charged with possessing and importing child pornography.
Lahey, a bishop for 23 years, resigned as bishop of Antigonish saying he needed time for "personal renewal." Pope Benedict accepted that resignation Sept. 26.
Then, four days later, CBC News reported that Lahey is facing child pornography charges after he was arrested at the Ottawa Airport Sept. 15.
According to the CBC, he was arrested after members of the Canada Border Services Agency performed a random check of his laptop computer.
Lahey, 69, served as bishop of St. George's, Nfld., from 1986 to 2003 when he was appointed to Antigonish.
In early August, he committed the diocese to a landmark $13 million settlement to compensate victims of sexual abuse by priests in the diocese that includes northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.
Lahey has served on the permanent council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and in 2001 was a CCCB delegate to the World Synod of Bishops that focused on The Bishop as Witness of Hope in Today's World.
He was also a delegate to the 1997 Synod of Bishops for the Americas where he maintained that the Church must keep open its dialogue with all areas of society.
A native of St. John's Nfld., Lahey studied canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and took post-doctoral studies in Church history at Cambridge University.
A spokesperson for the CCCB told Canwest News Service Sept. 30 that the conference had just learned of the charges facing Lahey.
A letter from Lahey addressed to priests, deacons, religious and parishioners, was posted on the Diocese of Antigonish's website Sept. 27 before news of the criminal charges became public.
"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," Lahey wrote.
"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."
Halifax Archbishop Anthony Mancini, also adminstrator of the Yarmouth Diocese, has been appointed apostolic administrator of Antigonish.
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