Roman circus (II)

Unfortunately, it looks like Nova Scotians will get to test the “no one would be defending Polanski if he were a Catholic priest” meme:

Bishop Raymond Lahey was released on $9,000 bail after turning himself in to Ottawa police on Thursday afternoon to face charges of possessing and importing child pornography.
The Roman Catholic cleric, who resigned his post in Nova Scotia on the weekend before news of the charges broke, has been ordered to stay away from parks and from children. He is not allowed to use the internet, and while he is free he is to stay in Rogersville, N.B. The town is the site of a Trappist monastery.
His next court date is Nov. 4 in Ottawa.
A Canada-wide arrest warrant had been issued for Lahey, 69, who brokered a $15-million settlement for victims of sexual abuse by priests of the diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia.
Lahey was returning to Canada on Sept. 15 when he was detained at Ottawa International Airport. Canada Border Services agents checked his laptop and found images “of concern,” Ottawa police said in a release.
Lahey was allowed to leave, but his computer and other media devices were seized. Police alleged a forensic examination ultimately found child pornography.
On Friday, Ottawa police charged Lahey with possession of child pornography and importation of child pornography.
The next day, he resigned as bishop of the diocese of Antigonish, citing the need for “personal renewal.”

The Halifax Chronicle Herald excerpts Lahey’s past writings on gay marriage and sex education, just in case the child-porn charges alone didn’t make you angry enough. There’s a connection to Church sexual-abuse scandals in Newfoundland, too.
Update: it gets worse.

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9 thoughts on “Roman circus (II)

  1. “just in case the child-porn charges alone didn’t make you angry enough”
    What gives, Damian? Do you think you’ve so pissed off your Socon readers that we don’t come by any more? That only people that agree with you on SSM are still here?
    Lahey’s words about how the meaning of marriage is being undermined and how parents should have the last word on their children’s moral upbringing don’t make me angry at all — as strange as that may seem to you. I don’t think it even, necessarily, makes him a hippo-bloody-crite.
    There is no defence for kid porn, I agree. If the allegations against Lahey are true, he’s got to pay for that.
    But make some distinctions here, both on the matter of Lahey’s views on other issues (pelvic as those issues might be, they do not automatically connect to kid porn) and on how well his case compares to Polanski’s.
    First of all, possession of kid porn isn’t the same as drugging and raping a minor, any more than possession of a Ziploc of grass isn’t the same as importing a planeload of it. Lahey, bad as he might be, isn’t accused of anything like what Polanski was accused — wait a minute, convicted — of.
    Don’t come back with “the thought is as bad as the deed”, either. The law knows different and you know the law.
    Second, suppose a politician whose views and actions you approve of gets caught — oh, I dunno — paying large sums of money to Sophisticated Ladies Escort Service for “the works”. That doesn’t mean that the things he said and did in other spheres are automatically objectionable (see Spitzer, Eliot).
    Third, take a politician you think is a menace — would being caught patronizing hookers be a justification or argument against his views or actions?
    Maybe for you. In fact, so it would seem from your Lahey post. You can, and should, do better.

  2. “would being caught patronizing hookers be a justification or argument against his views or actions? ”
    It would certainly be reasonable to revisit his public stances that dealt specifically with hookers.
    This guy spent some of his time pushing views with the expressed intent of protecting children from exposure to sex. Turns out he didn’t quite reconcile that with his own character.
    He also spent some time pushing against gay marriage, on the assumption that it somehow damages the moral fibre of the country that two consenting adults of the same sex could have a stable and legally recognized relationship.
    Then it was Miller time, so he kicks back and visits 4chan to get his jollies.
    Of course, it seems that so called “socons” seem to have a thing for pervert hypocrites.
    Just remember, the real you is the person you are when you are certain that nobody else is looking.
    There seems to be a high conversion rate from “more pious than thou” to “disgusting shitbag”, but I would argue that there is no conversion happening.

  3. I’ll admit up front that, priest-ridden socon that I am, I “have a thing for pervert hypocrites”. Quite like them, in fact. Bring them round to the house all the time. Hey, have it your way.
    Now to your point.
    Start by reading what I said. Lahey’s views, as recounted by the Chronically Horrid, do not make me angry in the least. If he behaved unworthily of them, that is another issue entirely.
    Now let’s do some revisiting.
    Lahey’s letter: Parents have the “right and privilege to be the primary educators of their children. This right flows from the great distinction of parents being co-creators with God and from the obligation they accepted, when their children were baptized, of being ‘the first teachers of your child in the ways of faith.’ ”
    That is unimpeachably correct. If Lahey is subsequently exposed as a consumer of kid porn, that will say something about Lahey, not about those views. There is a reason people say that hypocrisy is “the tribute vice pays to virtue”. The virtue is in what Lahey said; the hypocrisy and vice (assuming, of course, that he is proved guilty) are in what he did. Don’t conflate the two.
    Lahey’s letter: “…schools are meant to complement and strengthen what parents are teaching, but never to undermine or contradict the moral values which parents present to their children…parents have the right and duty to protect their children from these detrimental influences.”
    Also correct. Just as parents have the right and duty to protect their children from kid-porn-fancying bishops. I claim the right, and will discharge the duty, to protect my son from both.
    Now you: “He also spent some time pushing against gay marriage, on the assumption that it somehow damages the moral fibre of the country that two consenting adults of the same sex could have a stable and legally recognized relationship.”
    Actually you can’t tell his assumptions from the quotes in the CH story, so don’t try. And don’t peddle the spurious idea that all socially conservative opinions on everything that exists below the waist form some sort of uniform monolith, and that to discredit one of those opinion discredits the rest too. Even granting pro argumento that a bishop with a taste for child porn cannot tell the truth about the sexual and moral instruction of children — and I don’t grant it — that does not logically connect to any of his opinions about other matters. There may be the thread of sexuality connecting those issues, but that is not the only aspect of either one.
    By the way, the “real you” — ‘scuse me for gettin’ all Bible-thumpin’ here — is the person God made you to be. I will pray that that person emerges from Msgr. Lahey after all this. Maybe, with God’s grace and help, the real me will emerge from a certain unworthy sinner who spends his lunch on a blog comment. Pray for that or not — whatever, Dara.
    I’m not so much holier-than-thou as assholier ;o)

  4. It’s not that I think his views are necessarily wrong, it’s that I think he wears them like a cloak.
    The words might come out right, but for me, motivation is everything and if you’re a child porn aficionado, you DO NOT have children’s best interests at heart at any single moment of your life.
    Not when you’re at home in a dark room, not when you’re raising money to help orphans, and certainly not when you’re pontificating on the sexual health of children. I don’t grant anybody that kind of compartmentalized life.
    I see a lot of that in politicians that promote themselves using socially conservative ideas.
    When the cloak comes off for everyone to see, everyone acts shocked and tries to reconcile the pious public persona with the truth laid bare.
    They use words like “slipped”, “stumbled”, and “mistake” to describe the transgression when their regret is only that they got caught and that people would focus more on the moments that they had their game face on.
    It’s the same shitbag praying* on ignorant “values voters” as the guy chasing gay sex in a bathroom or using public money to step out on his wife. If you don’t see that, then it’s working.
    * for Dan

  5. “It’s not that I think his views are necessarily wrong, it’s that I think he wears them like a cloak.”
    Yes, well, he ought to. If he’s a kid-porn consumer, I’d rather he be telling the world it’s wrong than telling the world it’s right (see Hannon, Gerald; Sharpe, Robin).
    “Not when you’re at home in a dark room, not when you’re raising money to help orphans, and certainly not when you’re pontificating on the sexual health of children. I don’t grant anybody that kind of compartmentalized life.”
    No, and neither does God. Difference is, He’s the only one with the right to judge what’s in someone’s heart.
    “I see a lot of that in politicians that promote themselves using socially conservative ideas.”
    Right, because they promote themselves using those ideas, in contrast to social progressives, who, uniquely, mean what they say.
    “It’s the same shitbag praying on ignorant ‘values voters’ as the guy chasing gay sex in a bathroom or using public money to step out on his wife. If you don’t see that, then it’s working.”
    Well, as an “ignorant ‘values voter'” myself, I’ll thank you for scraping the scales from my eyes. Who’da thunkit, some people don’t live up to what they say! This is an immense mental watershed for me today. [/irony]
    That’s all arguing past the point. Damian busies himself posting something about how Lahey’s views on SSM and sex-ed will angry me up, because it just couldn’t possibly be any other way. That’s full of shit and he knows better.
    Based on the links in Damian’s post, I’m not even convinced Lahey has a bad past with the Mt. Cashel scandal or other sexual-abuse cases. Certainly the Globe story offers very little that looks like complicity or coverup. But if he had been involved in that, it would be far more morally culpable than defending the Church’s understanding of marriage or the rights of parents to ensure their children get a morally sound education.

  6. “Damian busies himself posting something about how Lahey’s views on SSM and sex-ed will angry me up, because it just couldn’t possibly be any other way. That’s full of shit and he knows better.”
    Well this is just it.
    He’s despicable, but you’re sympathetic to this guy because of his cloak. It’s wonderfully woven and his carefully selected words do resonate. He’s just “slipped” a little bit and with a bit of luck he’ll become the person that God meant him to be.
    You should be angry. Not because you disagree with the lines in the play that he was putting on, but specifically because he’s taken your closely held views and turned them into a prop.

  7. No, I have precisely zero sympathy for him. I do, however, love him — enough to pray he will turn right (again, assuming these allegations are true).
    I like his cloak — I believe firmly in what his pastoral letter said. It hides nothing about him, however.
    Kid porn is not “slipping”. It’s highly objectionable and reason for plenty of anger. That doesn’t mean I can’t pray for him. It also doesn’t mean I get to look down on him. I know the real me, you see.
    “You should be angry. Not because you disagree with the lines in the play that he was putting on, but specifically because he’s taken your closely held views and turned them into a prop.”
    But that’s not what I get from Damian’s post at all. I’m supposed to be angry at what he said, not at his hypocrisy. And I call BS on that. My contention that Damian should have known better stands.

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