Deeply saddened by Bishop Lahey and child pornography charges


#1

I am deeply saddend by Bishop Lahey’s offenses of child pornography possession and importing it to Canada. It is such a blow to the Catholic Church and it makes it difficult to teach my daughter about her faith when deep down inside I know I can’t trust Catholic Clergy until I have gotten to know the individual clergy member well.

Bishop Lahey helped the province of Newfoundland, Canada to come out of a huge molestation scandal involving young boys from the 1950’s onwards. It was a huge tragedy for Catholics in that area and they were just beginning to recover. AND THEN Bishop Lahey was then caught with child pornography on his laptop when returning to Canada from Asia in September.

Also, 20 years ago, child pornography was found in Bishop Lahey’s home by an orphan who used to visit and the orphan told a priest who then informed the Arch Bishop. Nothing was done and no investigation took place. They simply took Lahey’s word for it when he denied it.

It just breaks my heart as a mother that I cannot trust the Catholic Clergy completely. It’s only a handful of sick men and women that ruin it for everyone else. It’s such a difficult time for the men and women clergy who are good devoted people. The vast majority of priests that I have met and know are wonderful men who would never dream of hurting a child, but because of a handful of men, I cannot leave my children with the Catholic Clergy without getting to know them really well first or by finding out what past parishners from other churches have to say about him (and gossip is always an issue when doing this :shrug:).

My heart is just broken that good priests that do the work of Jesus are tainted by the brush of scandal from a few sick men. We need to pray for our good priests because our society is beginning to see a tarnished view of our priests and this is such a tragedy. Indifference in our church is becoming more popular as the media continues to paint the Catholic church as being evil and secretive.

Analogy: Just because a handful of people are alcoholics in this world doesn’t mean that all humans are alcoholics!

Please pray for our priests and our children who need to feel comfortable in their faith.


#2

This is one of the reasons many people turn away from the church…the reading and hearing of priests and abusing children…Even my mother has asked me, a strong practicing Catholic, not to let my children too close to our priests, everywhere we have lived, nor to let them volunteer to help around in the church…I am saddened by this because I have always wanted my boys to be altar boys, And I don’t know how to say anything to my family about it… Maybe later on in time we will be able to serve the church a little better…

What people just don’t seem to understand is that Priests and Church members, and Bishops, etc are not saints, nor are they perfect, they are human beings and as such prone to temptations and mistakes…It’s sad and in a way sickening to hear someone so close to GOD could ever, but again, no one is perfect, except for GOD, and unfortunately we can’t be pretending we are… :frowning:

I feel horrible for those families whom go through this, and even for those priests and special church members, I hope GOD has them in His heart and takes care of them and blesses them dearly…I know they need all the help they can get…

Definitely keep them in our prayers…GOD bless.


#3

Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss. That was 8% of the clergy at the time.

The percentages don’t seem to have changed much in the last 2000 years.

Trust your children with no one till you know them well.

Catholic Clergy are NOT the faith. They fail. They are human. You teach your daughter that no one is immune from sin and we all have to be vigilant that Satan is roaming the world seeking the ruin of souls. If even priests or bishops are prey to that attack (even more so than we are with greater graces to fight it) then we have to be extra careful in our lives.

You teach your daughter that she needs to pray for priests, because they are like soldiers… the first line of defense in the world against the attacks of Satan. Because they bring Christ to us, they are a special target just like the soldiers on the battlefield are a target for terrorists.

And you don’t base your faith in Christ on the failings of a mere human being. The press is in league with those who would tear down the Church because a lot of them despise the moral code the Church stands for.


#4

Amen, preach it!!


#5

This is excellent advice. Thanks. I’m going to print this and keep it when I need a reminder.

As a mother (and a survivor of molestation myself) I am terrified that my children could get hurt by someone they trust. Priests are role models for our children and it is sad that we as parents have to be careful just because of that 8%.


#6

…peace be with you…really…

…thank you for the post, its contents, and the manner in which it was written…

…you write:

Because they bring Christ to us, they are a special target just like the soldiers on the battlefield are a target for terrorists.

…when non-catholics question why i remain catholic in light of all the scandals involving clergy, i point out this very thing as the most compelling reason to remain catholic and to consider my faith as true and good…when catholics react to the scandals by considering leaving the faith, i can almost hear the enemy of mankind laughing, “…mission accomplished…”

…please, pray for all priests…and especially for the pope and his intentions…

…peace—>mark


#7

BTW, the 8% was based on one out of twelve disciples, not any current study.


#8

Yes I understood and have read that approximately 7% of priest in the U.S. have some sort of sexual allegation against them (not necessarily involving chldren).

I love the front-line soldier analogy. That’s a great one to teach my children.


#9

Kind of a “thin black line” :wink:


#10

*I agree with Liberano, also. At the same time…why are these things being covered up, and not dealt with WHEN it happens the FIRST time? Yes, mankind is weak, we all are sinners…but, I think the contention many have with the Catholic Church, is that when the scandals broke, for example, it was found out that Bishops weren’t so much unaware of the crimes, but rather transferred the men out of the parishes…so, the Bishops KNEW wrong was happening, and did nothing. Now, we see again…an Arch Bishop who was given evidence that this same Bishop in question had child porn some 20 yrs ago, and DID NOTHING. These Bishops and Arch Bishops need to step down from their positions. They do represent the faith…and if they are not going to do the right thing to protect kids, they need to step down.

We can pray for them, but when bad actions are done, they need to be dealt with…not allowed to be kept in positions that cause the Church problems. People see what they want to see…and no, our faith should not be compromised due to the sins of a few…but, these are crimes. And these men should not be permitted to hold their positions of authority in the Catholic Church, if they are commiting and covering up crimes.

There are consequences in our civilized society for commiting crimes. I think if the Church acted a bit swifter in dealing with these things, people would not be so judgemental…it’s in the covering up that I think people have the most trouble with. Yes, people have trouble with our moral doctrines that we follow, but it’s largely due to the inappropriate behavior of those in high positions within the Church. Can we blame people? I love my faith completely, but I firmly believe that the Church needs to act swiftly when it gets wind that a priest or Bishop, etc is commiting crimes. No, we don’t condone such things, but when outsiders looking in at the Church see that people in high positions knew about crimes and did nothing, it gives the appearance that we as Catholics, say one thing, do another. No, that’s not our faith, but it is a perception of it, and that is what hurts all the good that the Church does.

I admire Pope Benedict, he is taking a strong stance it seems, to bringing reform about, so these types of issues won’t continue to happen.*


#11

I think in the past, it was covered up so as not to perpetuate scandal.

We are also looking at problems from the 1980s with 2009 hindsight. In the past 20+ years we have come to realize the issues of pedophilia and child porn go to more than just a moral weakness. That there is a level of incurability in these people. A few months in a desert treatment facility doesn’t fix the problem. Sure they behave out there. There’s no kids. Once they’re back where kids are, the problem resurfaces.

Now our legal and psychological experts are realizing it’s deeper than that. And these perps are not curable.

So the Church is handling it differently now too.

But society can’t have it both ways. They cannot condemn the Church for employing priests who victimized children (mostly young teenage boys… it was more eubophilia than pedophilia), and yet now demand that the Church hire homosexuals or be declared discriminatory. :shrug:

Just as the Church is weeding out practicing homosexuals from the seminaries, society now is complaining that the Church won’t give homosexuals their civil rights? :shrug: And society hates the Church for teaching that homosexuality is a seriously disordered inclination and that the behavior itself is sinful. Yet when some wayward priests do what the NAMBLA guys do, it’s a “crime.” :shrug: But the NAMBLA guys get to throw themselves parades and society barely notices. :shrug:

And society blames the Church for pedophile priests, yet excoriates the Boy Scouts for not wanting to have gay scoutmasters taking young boys on camping trips? You can’t win! :shrug:


#12

*That is excellent insight, Liberano…I remember watching a movie on all of this, Our Fathers, on Showtime? I want to say that was the name, starred Alec Baldwin, and other famous folks. It illustrated the Boston scandals, and how the Bishop seemed to really not understand the magnitude of what was going on. That said, he must have known ‘something’ was wrong, if he transferred the priests around as often as he did.

I’m hoping that if this ever were to happen again, that the Bishops would be asked to step down from their positions of authority. You can’t be in a position of authority in any organization, and be commiting and covering up crimes. Now we know, hopefully, things will change. Fr Groeschel spoke of the need for reform in the Catholic Church, I’m not sure if he ever meant this…he never really expounded on that.

I hear you about the boy scouts, and frankly, the Catholic Church’s percentage of these incidents is far less than other religious organizations. I read that during the scandal breakout. But, I don’t personally care what others are doing…I just pray that this never is permitted to happen again within the Church. I pray for the Church everyday, and you are right, we MUST pray heavily for our priests…and those entering the priesthood. It must be a mission for us, frankly. *


#13

I get so personally upset whenever these charges are reported in the news. It is like a knife going through my heart. I can imagine what Jesus feels when he looks on his Church and sees this. I get angry because I feel like I am the one left holding the bag when I am defending the Church and people bring this up in the argument even though I have done nothing wrong.

What is important to know is that God provides great people for every generation…there have been tumultuous times in the Church and corruption, yet God always provides. At the same time this abuse was going on, people like Mother Theresa were devoting their lives to the poor. The good far outweighs the bad…but the stain of abuse is still heart wrenching and can never be excused or ignored.

He warned us there would always be wolves among the sheep. Even Jesus had Judas in his own inner circle…so what why would we think we would be free of traitors? The Catholic Church has a much lower percentage of sexual abuse than the public school system. Unfortunatley it is common for people who work with kids (pastors, social wokers, teachers and even psychiatrists to have a higher than normal rate of abusing kids - it may be why the are drawn to the profession in the first place). The rate of abuse is also equal to or lower than other denominations. Unfortunately in many smaller, family-type denominations there is a lot of unreported abuse, mostly due to social stigmas and the fear that nobody will believe them and the family will be torn apart. Also, matter are more quietly settled in legal cases against little churches as opposed to cases brought against an entire diocese that gets more press. In my husband’s family, there was incest at the hands of a church-of-Christ elder on his own daughter and nobody reported it. The victim even went on to have her father spend time with her young daughter (sleepovers and unsupervised, no less). He died at a ripe age with the family keeping his secret safe, and they still do to this day.

That said, the cover-ups in the Catholic were wrong and evil. The gates of hell will never prevail against the church…but it might get a little hot around the collar from time to time.


#14

Another reason the charges go against the Catholic Church is because it has deeper pockets. The diocese can be sued. Many small protestant congregations are limited in financial resources.

Insurance companies pay out in equal proportions across the board in these suits, but only the Catholic Church gets nailed in the press. Because it’s probably the only one that really has gone on record preaching that sin is sin is sin.

Seriously. Not to knock our protestant brethren, but how often do you hear the press mocking them because they took such a strong stand against homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, abortion or premarital sex?

Actually, the Catholic Church has been praised by Big Brothers/Big Sisters for being the first organization in the country to take it seriously and have a widespread long-range education program and manner of preventing sexual abuse of minors. Before the scandal broke in 2002, (as statutes of limitations were winding down and legal payouts on all the bad behavior of the priests who came along in the freewheeling 1970s was ending, mind you…) BB/BS couldn’t get anyone interested in preventing this or educating people on this problem.


#15

*Mia, I agree…great post. *


#16

I like your post in general Mia. I think you have a pretty good perspective.

But I want to comment on this:

  1. I am reminded of a conversation I had with my daughter last night. “Amy, do not speak to your sister in that tone…it is not appropriate.”
    “Yes, but Jenny speaks to me like that it all the time and…”
    " I am not talking about Jenny, I am speaking to you about your tone. It is wrong and we don’t allow it in this house."
    “Fine, I understand, but Jenny…”
    “I don’t care what anyone else does…it does not justify or lessen the significance of your mistake”

I understand as Catholics there is a desire to defend…and to put these injustices into context But it always comes across as, " Well, yeah its wrong…but we don’t do it anymore often than any other group of people, so don’t single us out."

  1. I don’t know if you can compare statistics. The problem is that in the case of the Catholic Church the hierarchy (in certain diocese) was systematically covering up these crimes; where in the case of boy scouts, schools, etc. I don’t believe that is the case.

#17

*This is sort of my stance on it, as well…good post. *


#18

As a non-Catholic looking in:

It is my understanding that the infallibility of the pope is really the infallibility of the Teaching Office of the Church. That teaching office is made up the pope, the magisterium, and the ecumenical councils through Christian history. The only time this teaching office is infallible is when it speaks on faith and morals.

How much more powerful is actions over words? The magisterium is made up of the Roman Curia, yes? This is the same College of Cardinals that elects the pope? Cardinal Law is a member of that college and he was involved in Pope Benedict XVI’s election. Mr. Bernard Law is wanted by the Boston Police Department for his active participation in covering up 450 child abuse cases in the diocese of Boston. To date he has not been extradited to the US from the Vatican.

Why not?

How can anyone have faith in the infallibility of the teaching of morals from a body that actively hides Bernard Law from extradition?

How can any Catholic believe in a body’s infallibility in speaking on morals when that body speaks such gross immorality by its actions?


#19

Thanks whatever girl!

Rico - I totally understand your point. We are suppossed to set ourselves apart from others as Catholics…we have a different view than the world and we should not compare ourselves to others, merely to God’s standards - and if we fall short, we are falling short of God not short of what other people in the world call acceptable. With that said, it is useful to have some perspective on the numbers mostly because lots of non-Catholics use the abuse as a way to say seeee look, that Catholic Church IS evil. It is an easy point for other churches to try and lure Catholics away by saying they are free from this sort of scandal when in fact it just buried. Now, we should never feel justified in allowing abuse to go unchecked merely because “it happens everywhere.” Also, the media is not helpful here. For instance, on my Yahoo mail I get little headline blurbs when I sign in. The blurbs rotate and change every x amount of times I log in. The day that there was a breakthrough in the Irish sex scandal that headline popped up every single time I signed in for a full 24 hours. Meanwhile, every other headline changed. It could have been a glitch…but I am not sure.

I also very much agree with you about the shame of the hierarchy covering up, it is disgusting…but I am telling you from first hand family knowledge…many smaller denoms do the same with protecting elders and even shunning people that speak up. It is a human phenomenon of protecting the abuser. These same people turn around mock priests. I guess I am just trying to use perspective because other churches are using these scandals as a means to lure Catholics away from the Church. Destroying the Catholic Church will not put an end to the exploitation of children.


#20

It can’t have been easy for a bishop to hear that one of his brothers was an abuser. I know from experience that it’s not easy to hear when it’s a relative, you want to believe his denials – how much harder for a bishop to believe it of his priest when at the time it was almost impossible for parents to believe it of their pastor.

The problem with the early cases is that often the abuser was sent for ‘treatment’ (treatment that when I was doing my nursing training 35 years ago was thought to work), pronounced ‘cured’ and then moved to a parish where no one knew about the original incident.

Of all the priests I’ve encountered in my life there has only been one who gave me the heebie jeebies. He seemed way, way too interested in my then 8 year old daughter. Still, she wanted to be an altar server when she was invited so I made it my mission to always be there whenever there was anything going on with the altar servers. I may have seriously misjudged the priest but my daughter’s safety was paramount and by protecting her I was protecting all the rest of the kids whose parents didn’t seem to get the same vibes from him that I did.


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