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Bishop Raymond Lahey arrives to the Ottawa Court House in Ottawa on May 4, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Roman Catholic bishop who was convicted of importing child pornography into Canada has been stripped of his clerical duties.

The Holy See in Rome has dismissed Raymond Lahey from the clerical state in what is one of the most serious penalties that the Roman Catholic Church can impose, the Diocese of Antigonish, N.S., said Wednesday.

The decision means Mr. Lahey, a former bishop of Antigonish, can no longer work as a cleric nor preside at any religious services or sacraments.

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"This decision reminds all of us of the serious harms that come from all forms of pornography, especially child pornography," Antigonish Bishop Brian Joseph Dunn said in a statement.

"It also means that this action concludes both the criminal and canonical processes that are connected with this matter."

In January, Mr. Lahey was sentenced to 15 months in jail and two years of probation after he was caught at the Ottawa airport in September 2009 with hundreds of pornographic images of young boys on his laptop and a handheld device.

But because Mr. Lahey was given double credit for the time he served in custody before his sentencing, he was released on probation upon conclusion of his trial.

"Much hurt, sadness and anger continue to be present in the hearts of many as we reflect on these events," Mr. Dunn said.

"The lives of many have been seriously altered as a result of the challenges that have arisen. Moreover, the life of Raymond Lahey has been radically changed by his actions and this decision."

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