Pastoral Letter from Bishop Hundt

May 17, 2012

Dear People of the Diocese,

Yesterday it was officially announced that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has issued a decree dismissing Raymond Lahey from the clerical state. This penalty of dismissal was imposed a result of the harm and scandal caused by his actions. The effect of this decree is the loss of the rights, offices, and functions of the clerical state. That he has received such a severe penalty is an indication of the seriousness of his offences and of the effect they have had upon others.

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul begs the readers “... to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,...” (Eph 4:1). His dismissal from the clerical state is a stark judgement by the Church that Raymond Lahey has failed to do so.

From 1986 to 2003 he was the Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s and he did much good work and service. Yet now, all that work and service, as well as the good memories of his friendship and care, have been tainted and overshadowed by the scandal that he has given and the hurt that he has caused.

In the Diocesan Pastoral Centre there is a room where the portraits of the former bishops of the diocese are hung. On each portrait frame there is a plaque giving the bishop’s name, title, and years of service. The plaque for Raymond Lahey used to read “Raymond John Lahey, Sixth Bishop of St. George’s, 1986-2003”. Now a further inscription will be added: “Dismissed from the Clerical State, March 16, 2012”. Such an inscription is a sad legacy. Also for me, and I think for us all, it is a warning about the temptation to, and the consequences of, sin in our lives and in our Church.

Asking that you join with me in continuing to pray for healing and peace for all who have been wounded by sin and scandal, I remain,

Yours in Christ,

Bishop Peter Hundt