Bishop's letter left alone by Ottawa school boards

CanWest News Service
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Religion/Justice

The Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa defended local school boards Tuesday for not removing a letter by disgraced bishop Raymond Lahey from religious textbooks.

Lahey was arrested at the Ottawa airport in September and faces possession of child pornography charges. He has since retired as the bishop of Antigonish, N.S., and is to be tried next year.

Raymond Lahey

The Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa defended local school boards Tuesday for not removing a letter by disgraced bishop Raymond Lahey from religious textbooks.

Lahey was arrested at the Ottawa airport in September and faces possession of child pornography charges. He has since retired as the bishop of Antigonish, N.S., and is to be tried next year.

More than a decade ago, Lahey - as bishop of St. George's, N.L. - penned an introductory letter for a series called "We Are Strong Together" used across Canada in grades 7, 8 and 9, including schools in the Ottawa and Eastern Ontario Catholic school boards.

Father Joseph Muldoon, the assistant to Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, said Lahey's letter is well written and doesn't detract from the book's goal of deepening a young Catholic's faith in God.

"It is quite an outstanding letter encouraging young people to reflect on their relationship with God," Muldoon said.

The decision to keep Lahey's letter in the textbooks comes several months after the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops - which published the books - offered dioceses across the country stickers to cover the page with Lahey's letter.

A spokeswoman explained the stickers were designed out of pastoral concern for students and families, given the nature of the charges Lahey faces.

Windsor's Catholic school board, among others, has pasted over the letter.

Muldoon said the archdiocese supports both boards in keeping the letter, but said either could decide to remove it down the road.

Lahey, he said, has not been convicted of any crime.

Muldoon said it was his understanding the Ottawa Catholic School Board has received one complaint about the letter.

School board officials offered little comment Tuesday.

"We have not removed the Bishop's introduction to the textbooks at this time. It may happen some time in the future," wrote Mardi de Kemp, a spokeswoman for the city's Catholic school board, in an e-mail.

She did not respond to a written request for what might prompt the board to apply the stickers later.

Lahey was charged by Ottawa police on Sept. 15 when he arrived at the airport on a flight from Britain. According to an Ottawa police search warrant, a forensic examination of his laptop computer allegedly revealed photographs of naked boys as young as eight.

Lahey, 69, was in charge of the archdiocese of Antigonish until last summer. He currently lives near Billings Bridge at a priests' residence and awaits his trial, which is scheduled to being in April 2011.

Organizations: Ottawa Catholic School Board, Eastern Ontario Catholic school

Geographic location: Ottawa, Antigonish, St. George's Canada Windsor Britain Billings Bridge

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments