Bishop Brian Dunn admitted regaining public trust would be one of his biggest challenges in a diocese rocked in recent years by sex scandals involving clergy.

In his homily at a special mass Monday at St. Ninian’s Cathedral — that installed him as the ninth bishop of the diocese of Antigonish — Dunn addressed the controversy surrounding his predecessor, Raymond Lahey, who faces charges in Ottawa of possessing and importing child pornography.

He said Lahey’s resignation created a scar on the diocese and the entire Roman Catholic Church.

“How do you regain trust in any kind of relationship?” Dunn told reporters after the service.

“It means being present with people. It means listening. It means being patient. It means loving them. It means forgiving. It means whatever I can do to provide a presence to people and, above all, to allow the Lord’s healing to come to people.”

Lahey, 69, has been charged with importing and possessing child pornography. He is to enter a plea in Ottawa on Feb. 3.

Last year, Lahey negotiated an historic $15-million settlement with dozens of alleged victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the 1950s, after a lawsuit was filed against the diocese and the Halifax archdiocese.

The church now hopes to raise $18.5 million because six claimants have come forward with private lawsuits.

The settlement will still provide $12 million to victims who claimed abuse at the hands of priests in the Antigonish diocese between 1950 and September 2009.

Another $3.5 million has been set aside for legal fees and related costs.

Auxiliary bishop
Bishop Brian Dunn was an auxiliary bishop in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., before coming to Nova Scotia.

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