The Roman Catholic Church’s priestly pedophilia and child-abuse scandals are not, as it turns out, limited only to the U.S. and Ireland. Canada has had its share of scandalous behavior by the Catholic Church within its borders. A settlement in a class-action suit against the Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia has been approved, as reported by the CBC:

A $15-million class-action settlement involving Roman Catholic priests accused of abusing young boys in Nova Scotia will proceed.

John McKiggan, the lawyer handling the historic settlement, said both sides of the class action — the Diocese of Antigonish and lead plaintiff Ron Martin — agreed to go ahead with the deal now that the deadline for opting out has expired. …

The settlement was the result of a class-action lawsuit spearheaded by Martin, a Cape Breton man who said he was sexually abused by a priest as a boy. Martin said his brother, David Martin, killed himself in 2002 and left a note stating that he, too, had been abused by a priest in the diocese.

This is not, however, the only bad news endured by the Roman Catholic Church in that province. In October, Richard Lahey, bishop of Antigonish — who (ironically or not) had been key to negotiating this very settlement — was arrested by Ottawa police for possession of child pornography, as the Globe and Mail reported:

A Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw an historic settlement with victims of past sexual abuse by priests in Nova Scotia has been charged with possessing and importing child pornography.

Bishop Raymond Lahey of the archdiocese of Antigonish was searched at the Ottawa airport as he re-entered Canada on Sept. 15. Officers found images “of concern” on his laptop, and seized it along with other media devices. He was released pending further investigation. …

In a statement Saturday, Bishop Lahey said that “after much thought and careful consideration” he had submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict “for personal reasons.”

What’s really stunning about this is that Lahey had been caught with child porn, after having issued the following statement about the (then-pending) settlement (as the G&M went on to say):

At the time [the potential settlement was announced], Bishop Lahey, who was bishop of Antigonish for six years and was not implicated in the allegations, apologized to the victims and noted they were entitled to protection from priests.

“Sexual abuse, indeed any abuse, is wrong. It is a crime and it is a serious sin in the eyes of God. I want to assure you that for some time our diocese, like others throughout Canada, have been taking steps to protect children and youth,” Bishop Lahey told a news conference.

Wow. I mean, just wow. The hypocrisy here is so obvious, and so brazen and stark, there doesn’t appear to be anything left to say about it.

At any rate, anyone who thought that Roman Catholic Church clerical scandals were only here in the U.S. or — as revealed this year — in Ireland, is sadly mistaken. Clerical misdeeds within the Catholic Church are much more widespread than most people suspect. What’s worse is, these are not cases of lone, abhorrent priests doing things they shouldn’t and then getting caught. Quite the opposite: Each of these scandals has featured active involvement by the hierarchy above these priests, to hide their misconduct, cover it up after-the-fact, shield them from secular prosecution, with no discernible effort made to prevent it from happening.

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4 Responses to “It’s Not Just In The U.S. And Ireland”
  1. Peter1a says:

    This is far from being an isolated incident. There have been lawsuits and judgements against the RC Church all over Canada.

    In addition many of the other major churches have been hit with similar results. Mostly over the Residential Schools scandal but there have been other issues as well.

    Remember !! The Priesthood is dangerous to your child !!

  2. PsiCop says:

    Thanks for the comment, Peter. You're 100% right, this is a pervasive, global phenomenon. The Residential School scandal has not gotten much press, but things are different this time around. Covering this behavior up isn't as easy for the Church as it once was.

  3. Peter1a says:

    The Residential Schools scandal, while indeed it did include a significant amount of sexual predation, was about even bigger issues. Up here it has had major play for several years including a Royal Commission.

    The enforced integration of native children into white society, the removal of all parental and heritage influence, the atrocious conditions in many of these schools. Have had a devastating affect on so many of our native population. We will experience the effects for many years to come.

    While not unique to Canada, Australia had a similar scheme, equally bad, it never really got into the USA except I think in a small measure some where in the South West. You were lucky !!

    Remember !! The Priesthood is dangerous to your child !!

  4. […] I’ve already blogged about the case of Raymond Lahey, erstwhile Catholic bishop of Antigonish (NS), who was found to have had child porn on his computer. He pleaded guilty, and the CBC reports on his sentence, which appears rather lenient (WebCite cached article): […]

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