Ottawa: A former Catholic bishop pleaded guilty on Wednesday to child pornography charges, prompting a rebuke from the Vatican and Canadian bishops.
Raymond Lahey, 70, resigned in September 2009 as bishop of the diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia after a search at the Ottawa airport of his laptop computer uncovered graphic photographs of males who authorities suspected could be as young as eight years old.
He was later charged with possessing and importing child pornography following an investigation.
Following his confession, the Vatican`s press service issued a statement saying: "The Catholic Church condemns sexual exploitation of all kind, in particular when minors are targeted."
The church also said it was considering "appropriate disciplinary or penal" action against Lahey.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, meanwhile, reiterated its "long-standing condemnation of the possession, distribution and use of child pornographic images in all forms."
It added it "condemns all forms of sexual exploitation, especially involving minors."
Lahey faces sentencing in a Canadian court at a later date.
Lahey also faces accusations in a civil suit of sexually abusing an orphanage resident in the early 1980s.
The Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John`s, Newfoundland was closed in 1990 after it was revealed that staff had systematically abused some 300 residents over several decades.
Pope Benedict XVI has met with victims of child-molesting priests three times since 2008, in Australia, the United States and most recently in Malta last year, when he expressed his "shame and sorrow" over the scourge.