Catholics across Nova Scotia were given a very personal, very anguished message from the Archbishop of Halifax when they went to church yesterday.
All eyes have been on the church since former bishop Raymond Lahey of the Diocese of Antigonish was arrested and charged in Ottawa last week with possessing child pornography.
Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Halifax, who has been appointed the apostolic administrator of the Antigonish diocese, discussed the scandal in a letter to be read in every Catholic church in the province yesterday. At Saint Mary’s Basilica in Halifax he read the letter himself, which openly deals with him questioning his own faith.
“Enough is enough! How much more can all of us take?” he read.
“Like you, my heart is broken, my mind is confused, my body hurts and I have moved in and out of a variety of feelings, especially shame and frustration, fear and disappointment, along with a sense of vulnerability and a tremendous poverty of spirit.”
He questioned why God let it happen, what it could mean, and whether this is “a time of purification or is it nothing more than devastation?”
He ultimately urged Catholics to come together and gain strength from each other.
“(God’s) healing grace can only come from all of us sharing together out faith and convictions that, in spite of sin in all its forms, mercy is stronger than anger, forgiveness is more powerful than rejection.”
Near the end of the service a priest read a series of prayers, including one for the victims of sexual abuse. When he finished, Mancini added one final prayer for Lahey.
Outside after the service, a few parishioners said they were not reassured and said the alleged crimes are unforgiveable.
But most said they found comfort from Mancini’s words.
“I was just struck by how much a human being he appears to us in his honesty and his reaction,” said churchgoer Sarah McGuire. “Hearing him read it you can definitely feel that.”