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UPDATED: Mahony Defends Handling of Sexual Abuse Cases After 'Mistakes'

Catholic Cardinal's open letter to archbishop says safeguards for children were "second to none." After files on priests are made public, group advocating for victims calls for more investigations.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: On his blog on Friday, Cardinal Roger Mahony posted an open letter to Archbishop Jose Gomez at 11:34 a.m. in which he contended that, under his leadership, the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles became one of the best dioceses in the nation at dealing with the problem of sexual misconduct by clergy.

"Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors," Mahony wrote.

"I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s. I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone.

"Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then. But when I retired as the active Archbishop, I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth."

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Archbishop Jose Gomez issued the following statement, posted on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles website at 3:47 p.m. on Friday:

"Questions from the faithful and some members of the news media indicate that it would be helpful for me to clarify the status of Cardinal Roger Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry.

"Cardinal Mahony, as Archbishop Emeritus, and Bishop Curry, as Auxiliary Bishop, remain bishops in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction."

ORIGINAL STORY: A day after the release of personnel files of priests accused of sexual misconduct, victims of clergy abuse pushed the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Friday to continue investigating the problem.

"We suggest that Bishop Gomez do more from here and not treat what happened yesterday as the end of the line on this," said Joelle Casteix of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "We want him to help support more police investigations into sexual abuse. For us, this is the beginning, not the end."

Casteix and other SNAP members and their supporters held a news conference at about 11 a.m. Friday outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to discuss the issue, insisting that it was only through legal action and continued pressure by victims that the church finally took action.

The archdiocese on Thursday released files on more than 100 clergy members, and Archbishop Jose Gomez said his predecessor—former Archbishop Roger Mahony —will "no longer have any administrative or public duties." Meanwhile, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, Mahony's former top adviser on sex-abuse issues, stepped down as Santa Barbara's regional bishop.

Gomez noted that archdiocese officials have apologized for actions of the past and taken wide-ranging steps to prevent abuse and report it quickly if it does occur.

The files released Thursday included the names of priests, culminating years of legal wrangling over whether names should be redacted from the paperwork.

"The 2013 public release of the files of clergy who were subject of the 2007 global settlement concludes a sad and shameful chapter in the history of our local church," according to an archdiocese statement announcing the release of the files. "In the 2004 Report to the People of God and elsewhere, the archdiocese acknowledged and apologized for failing to treat victims of abuse with compassion, as well as for employing what we now know to be inadequate standards for treatment and supervision of priests who were found to have abused children and young people."

According to the archdiocese's website, 124 files were released, with 82 containing information on allegations of childhood sexual abuse. The remaining files contain "proffers," which are summaries compiled in anticipation of litigation.

The files, which contain roughly 12,000 pages, were made available online at http://clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org.

A Los Angeles judge had originally ruled that the archdiocese could redact the names of priests and church leaders from the personnel files, but that decision was later reversed by a different judge. Despite some last-minute legal jockeying, the archdiocese agreed to include names in the files.

The archdiocese released them within hours of that decision.

The archdiocese reached a $660 million settlement in 2007 with about 500 alleged victims. As part of that settlement, the archdiocese agreed to release the personnel files of clergy accused of abuse.

Some of the files were released last week in connection with a separate civil case. That paperwork showed evidence of Mahony and Curry discussing ways to prevent law enforcement from learning about molestations of children more than a decade before the abuses became public knowledge.

Gomez issued a statement saying that while the files document abuses that occurred decades ago, "that does not make them less serious."

"I find these files to be brutal and painful reading," Gomez said. "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."

Jack Charles February 02, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Jesus--you are ignorant.
david heimark February 03, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Roger Mahony= another reason I don't buy into god or religion. When he is arrested, tried, convicted, jailed, raped and murdered at the hands of fellow inmates, then I will give god a second thought. Doubt I'll ever think about god again.
david heimark February 03, 2013 at 01:41 AM
By the by...modern catholicism has nothing on the old guard. Google Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte or Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese and marvel at the antics of those two twisted souls that conducted their activities with eyeshot of the Vatican.
Liz February 03, 2013 at 03:16 AM
Come on folks get it right. It is NOT the Catholic Church doing the abuse or cover ups it is one person and one person only and that is Mahoney. He is responsible for all the cover ups. He was a bad choice and will always remain a bad choice to run Los Angeles . The man came from money and continues to flaunt that fact.
Dan Crandell February 03, 2013 at 04:17 AM
The Catholic Church has been an enabler of child sexual abuse for most of it's history. My grandfather threw out his beads back in the 1940's right here in LA because he saw it happening first hand and NO One in the church would act on it. Grandpa put up with the booze and infidelity from the clergy but pedophilia cross the line. He was hated for his outspoken admonishments.
nonoise February 03, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Liz, One person???? No Way. Read the court transcripts. Pure evil.
Heather Amber Pollock February 03, 2013 at 05:17 AM
I have been a practicing Catholic my home life. Im bringing my children up the same way. But the chain of command is the Priest is considered to be the CEO of the Parish and the school. So what ever the Priest says goes. Which is completely ridiculous! So there are Priest that just full of them selfs and like to cover things up. I feel like we are still in the middle ages with the church. I wish and pray it would change. Mahoney needs to be excommunicated!
connie quarles February 03, 2013 at 05:19 AM
Ask the pope about child abuse, he knows every priest that is or was an abuser, before he was the pope.
Gayle M. Montgomery February 03, 2013 at 09:15 AM
This is not an isolated instance. Across the US, there has been a plethora of sex-abuse cases as priests who have violated their holy vows are shifted from one parrish to another. They may be sent for a timeout for a short while, and then right back into parrishes with vulnerable victims. That's the real story here. I have a good friend whose sister and cousin are active members of the church; both reported that Mahoney was the problem. But, if he didn't know how to handle this, he should have taken it to the Vatican. The church can do many good things, but face it, it is a money making machine and does not want this scandal. I think of the victims, of the lifelong damage this kind of violation does. It's bad enough when it is a lay person who violates a child, but your spiritual leader. What of your faith then? Victims should be clearly identified if they are brave enough to come forward and want vengeance, and this church must pay. It must pay the victims for the violations, and it must pay to educate all members who work with congregants and students about sex abuse. That this has been happening in this time period is simply disgraceful. There's a special place in hell for Roger Mahoney and for the perpetrators he sheltered.
David February 03, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Morality flourishes in the absence of religion.
ChickenBoyFan February 03, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Catholics can pay the church extra for what are called "indulgences". Can this be rationally explained? What a red flag this kind of Catholic pay- to- play invention is, since the Catholic church is one of the richest entities in the world,from what I understand. Do priests get a free pass for "indulgences",since they are part of la familia? This religion (Spanish Inquisition,for instance) tortured, and burned people alive as witches, and heretics(Joan of Arc). Time to gimme that old time Salem style trial. They should NOT be able to buy, or "indulge" their way out of this one. Prosecute to the limit. Crimes against children are the most hideous.
Nimby pimp February 03, 2013 at 06:12 PM
I propose that we subject the Cardinal to a good old fashioned auto-da-Fe. Live from the Staples Center and cable cast on Inquisition TV!
ChickenBoyFan February 03, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Mahoney is in our bubble. I ask myself, how many bubbles are there around the world with similar or worse crimes perpetuated by this rich,and powerful corporation, known as the Catholic church? "Practicing birth control, is committing a sin", has always been my beef. Then it occurred to me. If you practice birth control, you won't produce more Catholics. Less Catholics = less money in the coffers of one of the richest tax-free corporations in the world. What a fabulous grift!
Ed Delgado February 03, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Indulgences? Dude, those went out in the 16th century! The church reformed those abuses back then. The faithful can only pray that the abuses that have been uncovered recently can be reformed as well.
ChickenBoyFan February 03, 2013 at 08:16 PM
@ED, Here is an interesting article from 2009,in TIME mag. Although indulgences may not be "pay to play",makes me wonder how they ever evolved in the first place. Sorry you are offended. Just trying to shed some light on the influence of the human condition on religious leaders, and why they should not be held up as pariahs. Catholics, as well as the rest of us, are at fault for not pursuing, and prosecuting these rapists of our children decades ago. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1881152,00.html
Gayle M. Montgomery February 03, 2013 at 09:36 PM
The Catholic Church and the Mormon Church were both known for their serious take on go forth and multiply, largely because, as long as you had lots of congregants, you could support the Catholic clergy and the lifestyle to which they have grown accustomed. You build large, glaring, gorgeous churches, sometimes gold laden and full of idolatory.
Gayle M. Montgomery February 03, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Would love to have been a mouse in the corner in many a Catholic gathering today as folks came together for the first time since these revelations. Wondering if any of the priests dared to include messaging on this in any of the sermons and if there were any directive from on high to steer clear of the subject.
Ed Delgado February 04, 2013 at 05:06 AM
"The lifestyle to which they have grown accustomed?" Respectfully, Gayle, most priests earn an allowance which comes to about $20,000 per year. Fr. Greg Boyle, wrote a best selling book about Homeboy Industries and all the proceeds went to the organization. These are mostly talented and educated men who could probably earn 3 times that much and not have to listen to peoples problems in the bargain. Pedophile priests are a disgrace but there's no need to make up additional sins for them. Please let me know which religion preaches that children are burdens and should not be conceived.
Ed Delgado February 04, 2013 at 05:30 AM
Archbishop Gomez' letter was read at all services today but I don't know if many priests added extra comments. Honestly, this has been an area of concern and disappointment among the faithful for many years. Most priests will answer questions about their thoughts on this topic but, needless to say, you don't want to be a jerk when you ask the questions. You can find numerous articles on the internet written by priests and religious on this topic. The released documents only provide confirmation and details about cover ups that we already knew about. The RC churches have implemented programs to protect children over the past few years as a direct result of the revelations in 2001 and 2002. Anyway, if you were the "mouse in the corner", you may have heard snippets of conversations about priests who inspired us, priests who were "just okay" and priests who disappointed us. The church has compromised their moral high ground and will have to work hard to rebuild trust. If one of my children were victims of a pedophile (priest or not) I would want to rip his friggin' head off. Still, the vast majority of Catholics have NOT had that happen to them and most have benefited from their encounters with the clergy.
Ed Delgado February 04, 2013 at 05:56 AM
Just to clarify my statement "The released documents only provide confirmation and details about cover ups that we already knew about". I'm referring to the revelations from 2001 and 2002. At that time it seemed pretty clear that the Archdiocese was protecting these guys. The documents released this week concerned the pedophiles who were identified back then.
Heather Amber Pollock February 04, 2013 at 06:08 AM
@Ed I have to agree with you!
ChickenBoyFan February 04, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Cardinal Balony!!! "Safeguards for children,second to none"? Lies Lies Lies.
Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P. February 04, 2013 at 03:50 PM
I agree Ed. As an altar boy I grew up around many priest. They were great role models. I never experienced in wrong doing with the priest I've known. I worked in Catholic parishes and still never witnessed anything like this. This is not to say it doesn't exist. However its far and few between. This sick behavior is not isolated in the Catholic church its everywhere. We've seen this in recently in the school system. However the church is the last place we should expect seeing this. As a religious myself I spoke out about this at my parish and was told by one of Mahony's men to shut up or face disciplinary action. Yeah right! I will continue speaking out until it ends. I do agree though Ed, if I had a child that was abused I would probably be in jail for beating the hell out of the abuser.
Br. Christopher Sale B.P.P. February 04, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Roger says this. "Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem," he said. "In two years spent in graduate school earning a master's degree in social work, no textbook and no lecture ever referred to the sexual abuse of children." Nevertheless, he insisted, once he was installed as archbishop in 1985, he quickly took action to deal with the problem, speaking to priests and developing "policies and procedures to guide all of us in dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct." Those were adopted in 1989, he said. Are you kidding me? You spoke to the priest? Why didn't you speak to the police? Stop making excuses. This man is as arrogant as they come.
Gayle M. Montgomery February 04, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Ed, I am a big supporter of Father Boyle's work and have visited the Home Girl Cafe on several occasions. I've taken others with a philanthropic bent there as well. But not all priests stick by the vow of poverty. Read up to the lavish holdings it is reported belonged to Father Mahoney. This was not a question of children being a burden. It has long been said that Catholics and Mormons were very steadfast in their directives to reproduce because it was for church building purposes, a way to keep the faith propagated.
Gayle M. Montgomery February 04, 2013 at 10:16 PM
By the way, Ed, I spent a great number of years volunteering at/for Maryvale in Rosemead, working with "My Favorite Penguin" as I used to call her, Sister Joanne Laviolette. The nuns have done a tremendous job dealing with children who have been abused. It is just a crying shame that some priests have been the abusers.
makayla Navarro February 06, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Jesus' words in Matthew 23:27,28 aptly applies to them (the ones who commited or covered up the crimes) it says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you resemble whiewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men's bones and of every sort of uncleanness. In that way YOU also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside YOU are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." God will soon bring judgement to her (the churches causing suffering). Revelation 18:4-8, says, " And I heard another voice out of heaven say: "Get out of her, my people, if YOU do not want to share with her in her sins, and if YOU do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind. Render to her even as she herself rendered, and do to her twice as much, yes, twice the number of the things she did; in the cup in which she put a mixture put twice as much of the mixture for her. To the extent that she glorified herself and lived in shameless luxury, to that extent give her torment and mourning. For in her heart she keeps saying, 'I sit a queen, and I am no widow, and I shall never see mourning.' That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong."
BOO HOO February 06, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Who is going to pray for the Catholic church and forgive them for their sins. These crime against children were committed in front of god almighty. The sinners need to come out of the shadows and repent from the top down. Until this happens how can anyone take these jokers who wear these costumes seriously.
nonoise February 09, 2013 at 04:11 PM
If you read the bible, men are not able to forgive sins. Of course, most catholics do not read the bible. And, many would agree that is the problem. They only read what the pope wants them to read and that is a man's word. The pope and the priest are not gods like many would pretend. Churches are not above the law. They need to keep their noise to themselves. And, they need to keep their hands to themselves too.
LoyolaAlum March 01, 2013 at 06:17 PM
What happened to Cardinal Mahony’s helicopter at Van Nuys ARCHBISHOP PILOTS HELICOPTER, SAYS GIFT WON'T COST CHURCH ANYTHING JOHN ANTCZAK , Associated Press AP NEWS ARCHIVE Feb. 28, 1989 9:47 PM ET LOS ANGELES (AP) _ He's known as the flying archbishop, but Roger Mahony insists his new helicopter is a way to take on the city's nagging traffic problem, not a takeoff of the 1960s television series ''The Flying Nun.'' ''It's part of the Southern California scene now. Traffic is really a problem,'' said the archbishop, who demonstrated the $400,000 gift Tuesday with a spin over parts of the 8,762-square-mile Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Mahony, 53, who has a helicopter pilot's license and about 140 hours flying time, flew the blue-striped, turbine-powered McDonnell Douglas 500-D around Van Nuys Airport for about 15 minutes after a news conference.

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