I am not trying to condone what Archbishop Lahey might or might not have done, as reported yesterday at cbc.ca. I hope that if he has been involved in "possession of child pornography and importation of child pornography" as he has been charged, that he will personally repent of the sinfulness involved in it, and that the court system will treat him as it would any other offender.
At a time when the Catholic Church has had more than its fair share of scandal in North America, it is a sad day to see one of its archbishops in this position.
My mother in law asked me yesterday what I thought about what was going on with the bishop from down east. At the time, I had little to say, other than that we do not know all the facts, but I have had time to think and pray about it, and observe some other things.
For example, he surrendered in Ottawa yesterday, and was bailed out. Well, yesterday, October 1 was the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus, of which I was reminded as my wife and I did our Daily Catholic Devotion reading last evening before bed. St. Therese, who died in 1897 at the age of 24, is considered a Doctor of the Catholic Church, and is known for her "Little Way", as she wrote:
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."As a Catholic one of my beliefs is in the intercessory power of the saints on our behalf, the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12:1. We believe that those who have gone before and now reside in the midst of God's glory are able to intercede on our behalf with Him for our needs and the needs of others.
St. Therese came to me on at least one occasion many years ago. She is called the Little Flower of Jesus because sometimes she makes her presence known with the fragrance of roses. I was travelling with my family and was in Hagersville MD over night on the way to Virginia. We arrived in mid afternoon, and I was overwhelmed by the need to go to confession. I did not know Hagersville, never been there before or since, and had no idea where a Catholic Church was. However, I left my family poolside and headed out to find the Church. In short order I found it where most old Catholic Churches are, on the top of a hill overlooking the city. I arrived shortly before confessions ended, and was able to make my confession.
As I drove away, down a residential street, I suddenly noticed a fragrant smell of roses. After it disappeared, I turned around and went looking for what I thought was a house that must have had rose bushes. In a minute or two, I realised that there was no house with rose bushes, and that I had been visited by St. Therese. That was my personal introduction to her, so now I speak to her from time to time.
This morning I asked her to intercede with Our Loving Father on behalf of Archbishop Lahey to bring repentance and healing to him.
This may be a circumstance where the scripture "Be sure your sin will find you out," (NB 32:23) proves to be true. But, for all of us our sin finds us out in ways that might be less dramatic. I do not know Archbishop Lahey, and do not wish to judge him, because I know that whatever his sin is, I too am every bit a sinner, in need of God's mercy, and thankful that God's justice is mercy.
Pray for him, and for the people of the Antigonish Diocese at this time of sorrow, and confusion.