Thursday, October 01, 2009

Off the Run

Six days after being charged with possessing child pornography and resigning his Nova Scotia diocese, Bishop Raymond Lahey turned himself in to Ottawa authorities early this afternoon.

Only after a Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest did the "personal reasons" behind the 69 year-old prelate's sudden departure from the Maritime province's Antigonish diocese become public knowledge. At the same time, though, while the Vatican chain of command's intelligence on the back-story was substantial enough to push through Lahey's early resignation in exceptionally rapid order, Rome's choice to temporarily oversee the shaken church, Halifax Archbishop Tony Mancini, indicated yesterday that he was kept in the dark on the situation, seemingly until media reports of the charges emerged yesterday.

Making his first appearance before the Antigonish curia earlier today, it fell to a "stunned" Mancini to face down the widespread shock and hurt being felt amid the week's turn of events:
It is important to recognize that we are standing in a place of brokenness and vulnerability right now. In these very early days, we need to begin to look forward, not to escape this pain but to look at how we are being called to be the community of faith at this time. This calls for a great deal of hope, and belief that we do not do any of this alone. We are all in this together.

I want to encourage the priests to gather with each other, that they may help one another to come to the greater appreciation that they are brothers in Christ, and so find the strength to continue in the ministry entrusted to them.

Also, I want to encourage parishioners to draw on each other’s faith as you carry this painful burden and grieve for the losses that we are experiencing. If you can, 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.

I am committed in spite of everything that has happened to try to help us all get to another place, more reflective of the Gospel we are about. This can be an opportunity for all of us to rediscover what it is to be the community of faith, to realize what the root of our faith really is, and how each of us helps to share the faith.

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. So I call on you to be hopeful because we believe in new life and new possibilities.
PHOTO: Reuters