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May 20 2012

Three years later, Catholic church strips child porn consumer Lahey of his Bishop rank

If there’s one thing about the Catholic Church I absolutely love, it’s how timely their justice is. Three years after being convicted of caught red-handed importing child pornography, former Bishop Raymond Lahey of Antigonish, NS, has been stripped of his bishophood and dismissed from the clerical state in “one of the most serious penalties that the Roman Catholic Church can impose”, according to his former Diocese.

The decision means Lahey, a former bishop of Antigonish, can no longer work as a cleric nor preside at any religious services or sacraments.

“This decision reminds all of us of the serious harms that come from all forms of pornography, especially child pornography,” Antigonish Bishop Brian Joseph Dunn said in a statement.

“It also means that this action concludes both the criminal and canonical processes that are connected with this matter.”

Emphasis mine. I guess we’re lucky they didn’t also try to implicate Teh Gay Menace at the same time somehow!

That’s my big problem with this whole wagon-circling thing the Catholic church always does every time one of their clergy is caught with their pants down and their hands in some kid’s trousers. It took them three years for the church to impose any kind of earthly penalty outside the secular ones, after a court of law convicted him on the evidence — and their big penalty is telling him “you’re no longer allowed to perform our crazy rituals”. After three years of being allowed to continue performing those same crazy rituals. That’s it.

What’s more, I’m sure he’ll just be expected to say a prayer or two, and that’ll make things right with God. He wasn’t excommunicated from the religion, like those doctors who perform abortions to save the life of the mother when the fetus was medically unviable anyway. He wasn’t made into a teachable moment to other priests about the actual problems with child pornography and child sexual abuse. And when they actually did do something, they even had to stick that shiv in to make it about some larger problem they have with ordinary society, even though the link is tenuous at best.

The problem with child porn is not that porn itself is necessarily bad. It is that there is a power imbalance, and any consent obtained from the child (if the molesters even bothered with those pretenses!) is therefore tainted. There’s a reason we set an age limit on consent — because it takes a certain level of maturity to reach fully-informed consent and there are drastic consequences for the victim if they are not that mature.

The likelihood that this event will prevent other religious nutters who also happen to be kiddy-fiddlers from working their way into positions where they have the trust of parents to be around their children? I’d place it at very nearly zero.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    left0ver1under

    stripped of his bishophood and dismissed from the clerical state in

    But he was not “excommunicated”. Just what do you have to do to be “excommunicated”?

    Oh, that’s right. You have to provide an abortion to a pre-teen rape victim to be “excommunicated”.

  2. 2
    karmakin

    It really is striking the lack of moral force coming from this. There’s virtually none. And considering that it’s 3 years after..yikes.

    And I’m sure that if I look in the paper on Tuesday there will be a flood of Catholics defending him. *sigh*

  3. 3
    Kevin

    @1…you forgot providing an abortion to a pregnant woman in order to save her life. That will get you excommunicated, too.

    Wasn’t Ted Kennedy excommunicated for voting in favor of some abortion rights measure? Or was it contraception?

    Anything that helps women control their own reproductive rights will get you excommunicated.

    Porn? HA! Just like the cops have the best weed…

  4. 4
    Kevin

    BTW and just to complete the circle.

    According to the church, excommunication doesn’t dismiss a Catholic’s obligation to attend church, donate funds to the church, follow church dogma everywhere and at all times. It’s not like getting expelled from school.

    Nope. Excommunicated means that you have to do everything else a Catholic is expected to do. You just don’t get the cracker.

    No kidding. It’s about the frackin’ cracker.

  5. 5
    Aliasalpha

    Well that’ll certainly teach him! Next up I think we should all work on getting charles manson expelled from the book of the month club!

  6. 6
    patrick jlandis

    I know you highlighted it, but comparing child pornography and pornography made by consenting adults is shameful. Whatever their moral objections to pornography, child pornography is basically filming torture. Children are harmed in the making by definition.

    Just another example of how the Catholic hierarchy has their priorities so confused it makes me want to cry sometimes thinking about how far they reach into schools, hospitals, and charities all around the world. Raping children is not the same as filming adults having sex, anyone not blinded by faith can’t fail to see that distinction.

  7. 7
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I wonder how long it would take them to de-frock a bishop who walked up to the Pope and told him to go fuck himself.

  8. 8
    anubisprime

    Kevin @ 4

    No kidding. It’s about the frackin’ cracker.

    Shows how vain, twisted and utterly insane these cretins are.
    When they get absolutely hysterical about ‘excommunication’ from the catholic church, by refusing to administer a cheap dry tasteless cracker it shows just how much disassociation they have with the real world.

    It has never been mentioned that this greatest of all catholic punishments be enacted on this doofus…seemingly child porno is not such a biggy as to get your immortal soul into strife…although what that has to do with dry tasteless probably stale old crackers is not so apparent!

    If their delusion is so right…one wonders why they bother with interfaith initiatives?…unless of course it is just for the shape of the thing!
    They all like talk about smiting the unbeliever…but yet seem content on only bullying folk that have no congregation of wayward fools that are worshiping the wrong idol.

    Their cowardice is plain and traditional…only pick on the weaker bet, the weaker ones that are ignored by media, law and society.

    But times are changing these weaker ones are biting back…never used to happen…perhaps god has deserted the righteous ones….quick threaten excommunication to the troops to bolster their their loins…except not any former present or future princes of catholic delusion of course…bad publicity is that….it says your crime is even worse then child porno if you ever get binged by excommunication.

    It is all in the framing you see…create an atmosphere the rest is easy meat!

  9. 9
    sailor1031

    Not defending the ex-bish but his conviction was in January of this year – 2012. His arrest was in 2009….

    BTW is he some relative of the MrLahey from “Trailer Park Boys”?

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Oops, you’re right, sailor1031. Of course, all the evidence was pretty damning when it happened three years ago, so them dragging their feet and letting him continue being a bishop this whole time, waiting for secular justice to kick in, is pretty damning in and of itself. I thought they were morally perfect, but here they were punting until the court case was through? Deplorable.

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