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."