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don't ask and especially don't tell

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Oct 06, 2009

 At least one enterprising Canadian journalist has finally asked the obvious question: Why did airport security officials search a bishop's laptop computer? The answer is even more disconcerting than you might have anticipated:

It was his travel history including visits to southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Cambodia. Both are countries police sex crime investigators say are favoured destinations for child sex predators.

Now if Bishop Lahey had traveled to southeast Asia often enough to draw the attention of law enforcement, why hadn't his unusual travel preferences raised red flags in the Catholic hierarchy?

  1. Bishop Lahey's pastoral responsibilities were so light that he could take off weeks for flights to Asia, and other Church officials never knew he was gone.
  2. The bishop was able to secure round-trip flights to southeast Asia using the frequent-flyer miles he collected while jetting around his own diocese (which has less acreage than New Jersey), so no Church funds were involved.
  3. Church officials were aware of the bishop's travels, but assumed that he was engaged in serious business-- perhaps taking advantage of the obvious cultural similarities between Antigonish and Bangkok to refine his pastoral plans.
  4. Church officials were aware of the bishop's travels, and had their own suspicions about the reasons for his trips, but chose to remain silent because they didn't want to cause any unpleasantness.

Which of those possible explanations seems most likely? Which is most damaging to the Church? Exactly.

In other news, we are assured that the Antigonish diocese will not be paying the bills of the accused bishop's defense lawyers. Then again, he won't need lawyers if the police don't find him first.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 07, 2009 6:30 AM ET USA

    I would add a fifth possibility. 5. That a member of his Diocese or Diocesan staff recently tipped police because they had the good of the Church in mind. It isn't always up to "Church officials", thank God.

  • Posted by: gaile.pohlhaus2215 - Oct. 07, 2009 6:02 AM ET USA

    The first thing that lept to my mind was that the embattled bishop had committed suicide. I pray that is not the case. And I pray for the diocese of Antigonish and the whole Church.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 06, 2009 11:41 PM ET USA

    According to the President of the CCCB we shouldn't be listening to you bloggers when you rant about such things.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Oct. 06, 2009 7:03 PM ET USA

    The bishop's travel "preferences" to Thailand and Cambodia didn't attract church attention because church officials don't always think about what people might do once they arrive where they are going. Cops do think in those terms, which is why the bishop got nabbed. The other question -- when will the anti-Catholic news coverage stop? -- is easily answered: it will stop when our clergy quit doing those kinds of things. When will the clergy quit doing it? When the church no longer tolerates it.

  • Posted by: paulmay6949 - Oct. 06, 2009 5:33 PM ET USA

    Dear Diogenes, Please record my vote for #4 above as the only likely possibility. Which suggests to me that Bishop Lahey was, much like was Edward Kennedy, not properly supported by his Church. I pray for the millions of Catholic laity who are receiving the same quality of "support".

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