The Lahey Affair
Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey apologized in court Tuesday for possessing child pornography, telling a judge he had an “indiscriminate” addiction to online pornography but didn’t seek help because of his high-ranking position in the church. Ottawa Citizen
The crowd is gathered around Bishop Raymond Lahey, jeering and reaching down to pick up stones. The feelings of anger and betrayal are understandable. Lahey was caught in the act and his apology did not come until the full consequences of his actions were made plain to him. His ability to lead a double life is truly shocking. Who will be the one to cast the first stone?
It is easy to cast ourselves in the role of an angry Jesus making a whip out of cord and driving the moneychangers out of the temple. While Jesus was consumed by zeal for his Father's house it is easy for us to forget our own place in the scheme of things and be driven by far less lofty motives. We are not without sin.
In the Lahey affair we have caught someone in the very act of committing sin. However our own place is not that of the righteous judge seeking to cleanse the temple. On the contrary, we are the crowd standing there with stones in our hands surrounding a woman caught in the very act of committing adultery. The woman is guilty. Neither the crowd nor Jesus have any doubt about her guilt and there is no evidence of repentance on her part aside from fear of the consequences of her actions. One is left to wonder whether the one who was betrayed was also in the crowd, for adultery is also an act of betrayal. "Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to thow a stone at her." Jesus does not belabor the obvious guilt of the woman, but instead uses the incident to point out the sinfulness of all present.
Like the woman caught in adultery, Lahey's guilt is blatant and obvious to all concerned. He has been convicted of a crime under civil law and when that process is complete he will be defrocked as well. How we respond to the Lahey affair says far more about ourselves than anything else. It also brings us face to face with one of the hardest dilemmas we can face. How shall we deal with those who have caused us pain and hurt? Who will be the one to cast the first stone?