Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Lahey Affair

Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey apologized in court Tuesday for possessing child pornography, telling a judge he had an “indiscriminate” addiction to online pornography but didn’t seek help because of his high-ranking position in the church. Ottawa Citizen

The crowd is gathered around Bishop Raymond Lahey, jeering and reaching down to pick up stones. The feelings of anger and betrayal are understandable. Lahey was caught in the act and his apology did not come until the full consequences of his actions were made plain to him. His ability to lead a double life is truly shocking. Who will be the one to cast the first stone?

It is easy to cast ourselves in the role of an angry Jesus making a whip out of cord and driving the moneychangers out of the temple. While Jesus was consumed by zeal for his Father's house it is easy for us to forget our own place in the scheme of things and be driven by far less lofty motives. We are not without sin.

In the Lahey affair we have caught someone in the very act of committing sin. However our own place is not that of the righteous judge seeking to cleanse the temple. On the contrary, we are the crowd standing there with stones in our hands surrounding a woman caught in the very act of committing adultery. The woman is guilty. Neither the crowd nor Jesus have any doubt about her guilt and there is no evidence of repentance on her part aside from fear of the consequences of her actions. One is left to wonder whether the one who was betrayed was also in the crowd, for adultery is also an act of betrayal. "Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to thow a stone at her." Jesus does not belabor the obvious guilt of the woman, but instead uses the incident to point out the sinfulness of all present.

Like the woman caught in adultery, Lahey's guilt is blatant and obvious to all concerned. He has been convicted of a crime under civil law and when that process is complete he will be defrocked as well. How we respond to the Lahey affair says far more about ourselves than anything else. It also brings us face to face with one of the hardest dilemmas we can face. How shall we deal with those who have caused us pain and hurt? Who will be the one to cast the first stone?

4 comments:

Santa said...

But we don't really know if he will be defrocked. As far as Laheay is concerned, the easy part is over. The hard part is to decide what to do with him now that he has been found out. Will he be properly diciplined or will the CCCB & the Vatican disgrace themselves by keeping him on the payroll? Time will tell.

Vox Cantoris said...

It is not "casting stones" to demand justice. The man has done harm to individuals and to the Church. He has caused scandal and the rebuke from the secular world, he has given food to our enemies.

He needs to be held accountable for that in every way. He has not been penitent to the Church in public for what he has done.

All of us are sinners, and our private sin is harmful to the whole fabric of the Church. However, when one is in public leadership as this man, the sin must be dealt with in public.

The comparison of the woman caught in adultery is not the same.

He must be defrocked. The Church could go one step further and that is nullify his ordination but that would be significantly more complex and create greater calamity over the validity of the sacraments and ordinations he administered.

If he was to publicly acknowledge what he did and ask devote himself to a life of prayer and penance in a monastery that is one thing, but he wishes to return to his homosexual relationship.

To call him out on this is not anger, it is justice. If he wished to do so that is his business, but he must not do it on the Church or the lay Catholics support.

Too much of this has been allowed to happen because there has not been enough righteous anger from the laity who have sat and taken this for far too long.

Justice must also be done and we have the right to justice in this world and in our temporal time.

He had committed a grave scandal and he must be held accountable.

Barona said...

No matter how evil, the Church cannot remove an ordination, episcopal consecration anymore than She can remove the indelible mark of Baptism.

The sacraments are not contingent on the holiness/ lack thereof of the cleric.

Gabby said...

He has asked to be laicized but there has been no response to that request. Can they force him to a monastery? He wants to return to his lover, will they laicize him and make that easier?