Sex Abuse Scandal - Archbishop sacks Cardinal Mahony, Bishop Curry resigns, Abuse documents due Feb. 22 - Los Angeles
Gomez warns reading documents will be painful and difficult.
Los Angeles Archbishop, Jose Gomez announced that Cardinal Mahony and Santa Barbara Bishop Thomas Curry would no longer serve in their former capacities. He is removing them as a direct response to the abuse scandal which has rocked the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Gomez has also warned the public that the soon-to-be-public abuse files would be difficult to read.
Gomez's actions have come as the Church faces added criticism for resisting initial efforts to bring the abuse scandal to light. It was only after a civil suit and several court rulings that internal records specific to numerous cases have become public.
What those records show is heartbreaking according to officials who have read them. Documents which have already been released clearly reveal that Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Curry deliberately and knowingly took steps to conceal the abuse of children from law enforcement and to protect abusive priests.
There can be virtually no greater dereliction of duty to commit such an act.
Mahony has publicly apologized for his part in the scandal. Curry also made an apology according to Gomez.
However, justice is only now just being served after more than two decades of silence. The records that are due for release will include the names of many individuals involved in cases as well as those officials who may have participated in efforts to conceal abusive priests from law enforcement.
The good news is that Archbishiop Gomez is taking both a serious and aggressive stance on the issue, a refreshing change for victims and their advocates.
Gomez has warned those who will review the files that they will be difficult to read.
"I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed. We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today," Gomez wrote in a statement.
Gomez added, "Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara."
The documents are to be turned over to the court before Feb. 22, according to court order. Following that, the documents will be swiftly made public.
The handover of the files represents the last part of a $660 million civil settlement.
Gomez's full letter follows.
My brothers and sisters in Christ,
This week we are releasing the files of priests who sexually abused children while they were serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
These files document abuses that happened decades ago. But that does not make them less serious.
I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.
We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today. We need to pray for everyone who has ever been hurt by members of the Church. And we need to continue to support the long and painful process of healing their wounds and restoring the trust that was broken.
I cannot undo the failings of the past that we find in these pages. Reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused, has been the saddest experience I've had since becoming your Archbishop in 2011.
My predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care. Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara.
To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you.
To every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I want you to know: We will continue, as we have for many years now, to immediately report every credible allegation of abuse to law enforcement authorities and to remove those credibly accused from ministry. We will continue to work, every day, to make sure that our children are safe and loved and cared for in our parishes, schools and in every ministry in the Archdiocese.
In the weeks ahead, I will address all of these matters in greater detail. Today is a time for prayer and reflection and deep compassion for the victims of child sexual abuse.
I entrust all of us and our children and families to the tender care and protection of our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of the Angels.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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