Thursday, May 17, 2012

David Warren, Raymond Lahey, errors, and child porn

What’s the right word to describe David Warren’s writing?  Maybe it’ll come to me. In any case, we try not to waste time here on the absurdities and logical inconsistencies, focusing instead on errors of fact and attribution (just browse the archive).  Sadly, Warren has been resurrected in the pages of the Ottawa Citizen after his Easter break with a column on abortion.

Another news item today reveals an earlier error.

Here's Warren, on October 11, 2009, writing about disgraced Catholic Bishop Raymond Lahey (who had been caught returning from an Asian adventure with a computer full of child porn):

“I offer this extenuation of the behaviour of Raymond Lahey -- the former bishop of Antigonish, charged with possession of child pornography (i.e. pictures on his laptop) two Fridays ago, and removed from his office by the Pope the next day”.

Two things worth noting here; first that Warren excuses Lahey (he blames “liberals” for tempting him), and second, Warren claims that in 2009 Lahey was “removed from his office by the Pope the next day”.   But it seems Lahey was not removed from office at that time.

Two years after Warren announced it, though, Lahey has finally been removed from office, as we learn today:  “A Roman Catholic bishop who was convicted of importing child pornography into Canada has been stripped of his clerical duties.”

In the intervening time, details emerged about the contents of Lahey’s laptop:

“Among the contents of Mr. Lahey's laptop were pornographic stories about children which, like some of the photos, depicted torture. A character in one of the stories, entitled ‘The Masturbation Chronicles,’ shares Mr. Lahey's name, Father Raymond. …Mr. Thompson told the court some content on Mr. Lahey's laptop ranked among the worst he has seen during the course of what he estimates are between 50 and 300 child-porn cases.
‘They're right up there,” he said. “I mean, it doesn't depict infants but the explicit images of torture are disturbing.’”

Aside from the falsehood about the Pope removing Lahey in 2009, we’ll note that while today he seems to advocate the re-criminalization of abortion on the grounds that a fetus may be able to experience pain, Warren remains unconcerned about the pain involved in child porn and torture when it comes to Catholic clergy.

In fact, he argues that we should inflict further suffering on victims’ families for the sin of embarrassing the church.  Writing about Lahey on the website “Catholicity”, Warren says:

 “…we should withdraw sympathy for people who claim their faith has been shaken by horrors within the Church – who make a parade of their own offended innocence, and abandon the Church in her distress.
If they do not know that their ‘relationship’ is ultimately with Christ, not a priest, then they need to be taught, urgently and publicly. More profoundly, they need to be taught how to feel shame instead of unctuousness.”

“Unctuousness”.   Maybe that was the word I was looking for. 


  1. There are so many to pick from! Shameless, ignorant, smug, arrogant, ... How can you choose?

  2. Yes those are all good. Or, supercilious. puerile, contemptuous....

  3. "Unctuousness" is the 'mot juste.'

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