OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada's Catholic Church was shaken by the resignation of a Nova Scotia bishop Wednesday after child pornography was discovered on his computer.
Raymond Lahey, 69, resigned from his post as bishop of the diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia this weekend before news of his arrest became public, telling his flock on Saturday that he needed time for "personal renewal."
Canadian customs officials at the Ottawa airport found the child pornography images during a random search of Lahey's laptop computer in mid-September as he returned from the United States.
The computer was seized and Ottawa police arrested and charged Lahey following an investigation with importing and possessing child pornography.
Father Paul Abbas, spokesman for the diocese where Lahey has held his post since 2003, said he could not "underestimate the pain and sorrow" this scandal would cause the congregation but insisting it would not cause them to lose faith.
"Angry" by the news, Abbas said he had never suspected Lahey could be associated to such behavior.
Lahey is best known for having brokered a landmark settlement worth 13 million Canadian dollars (12 million US) with more than a dozen people who claimed to have been sexually abused by priests in the diocese dating back to 1950.
He was widely praised for his efforts.
In August, he offered the victims and their families apologies on behalf of the Church and said he "hoped to never again have to deal with such reprehensible behaviour."
Canada, like the United States, has been rocked by a series of sexual scandals involving clergy that came to light only at the end of the last century.