The Church throughout Canada is shocked at the startling revelations about Bishop Raymond Lahey, former Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish. As you know, Bishop Lahey is now in custody in Ottawa, having been charged criminally for possession of child pornography. Bishop Lahey is known to viewers of Salt + Light as a kind and gentle pastor, particularly sensitive to the needs of those who have suffered the scourge of sexual abuse. Those very victims are feeling revictimized now in light of the events of the past days.
We share in the sadness, pain and anxiety of the Diocese of Antigonish and of the whole Church. In the words of Archbishop Anthony Mancini, Apostolic Administrator of Antigonish and Archbishop of Halifax at today’s press conference, “This is not what our community of faith is supposed to be about.”
Archbishop Mancini invited us to bring this burden to the parish Eucharist, where we bring all our troubles. This is how we can continue to be the community of faith for and with one another in these times. He said: “We are going through a very painful contemporary experience of the mystery of our Faith, which is all about Passion and Death yes, but it is also about the promise of Resurrection, without which we have no future.”
Let us never forget that any material that demeans the inherent dignity of women, men and children by removing sexuality from the context of meaningful interpersonal relationships denies the image of the Creator within all of us. In our view, pornography and the portrayal of sadistic violence debase sexuality, corrode human relationships, exploit individuals — especially women and young people — undermine marriage and family life, foster antisocial behavior and weaken the moral fiber of society itself.
As parents, teachers, pastors and pastoral ministers, our first responsibility is to teach — openly and consistently — important moral truths, including truths about sexual morality. We must teach that pornography degrades those used in its production, as well as those who are desensitized or whose values are perverted through its consumption. We denounce pornography because we believe that it reduces the Creator’s gift of sexuality to a level that is devoid of personal dignity, commitment and spirituality.
As we stand in a place of brokenness and vulnerability right now, we at Salt + Light Television invite our viewers and readers to prayer, silence and hope. We pray for Bishop Lahey, for the priests and people of Antigonish, and for victims of sexual abuse and pornography. We are all in this together.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
CEO, Salt + Light Catholic Television Network