Saturday, October 31, 2009

Church must root out `evil' child porn: Archbishop

In his first public comment on a child pornography scandal rocking his church, the archbishop of Toronto said the Catholic Church must act "clearly and effectively" to root out the problem and ensure justice is served.

Child pornography is "evil," Archbishop Thomas Collins told the 30th Cardinal's Dinner Thursday, and it's all the worse when perpetrated by clergy.

"Although ... this massive evil industry is hardly being sustained by the patronage of the clergy of any faith, if a priest or bishop engages in this iniquity, the outrage is all the more intense, and rightly so," Collins said.

Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey was charged with possession of child pornography this month, just days after he resigned. He is free on $9,000 bail and living in Ottawa.

Collins, who last week attended a national meeting of Catholic bishops, says church leaders must ensure the vulnerable are protected.

"I and all of us who exercise authority in the church have a solemn obligation to God and to the people we serve, especially to the most vulnerable, to act clearly and effectively if a problem is discovered."

"The people of Antigonish and Atlantic Canada are suffering the full brunt of this scandal, and we join with them in prayer and solidarity, but all of us are affected," he said.

Collins said he says a silent prayer whenever ordaining a new priest that the young man not go astray.

"As long as the human heart is susceptible to iniquity, we will face scandals among the apostles."
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