01/08/2012 09:45 EST | Updated 03/09/2012 05:12 EST

Archbishop Writes Parishioners About Lahey Case


Archbishop Martin Currie has issued a message to Newfoundland and Labrador parishioners about the Raymond Lahey child pornography case, expressing "sadness, disappointment and anger" and urging the Catholic community to learn from the situation and move forward.

"Let us draw whatever good we can from this event, and re-commit ourselves to building a better church, society and world, a world in which people are valued and treated with respect, where no child suffers, and where all can live in peace and joy," Currie said in a prepared statement.

"This archdiocese is committed to establishing safe and supportive communities for our young people and vulnerable adults. Through our screening process, we continue to take steps to create a secure environment for all members of the church."

Sunday services

Currie's statement was made available to Roman Catholic parishes across the province, so it could be delivered during Sunday services.

But the archbishop left it to the discretion of individual priests about how — or whether — to do so.

Last week, Lahey — who served as a bishop in western Newfoundland before moving to Nova Scotia — was sentenced to 15 months in prison on child pornography charges.

He walked free after receiving a two-for-one credit for time served.

In 2009, Lahey was apprehended at Ottawa's airport after authorities checked his personal computer and found a large cache of child pornography.

'All-too-common obsession'

Currie expressed his sadness and anger at the Lahey situation.

"Pornography is an all-too-common obsession and addiction," the archbishop's statement noted. "Let us be clear that we, as Christian people, stand for the protection of all life, for human dignity and fullness of life. We stand against all that harms or degrades human beings."

The archbishop said that Lahey has requested to be removed from the clerical state, and noted that the church will impose this, or other, penalties.