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Cardinal Mahony

March 12, 2000

Re "Mahony Offers Apology for His, Church's Failings," March 8:

I accept Cardinal Roger Mahony's apology for the sexual abuse I suffered as an innocent child. I was a 6-year-old first-grader. It has permeated my daily living since then, robbing me of my innocence and trust and clouding every decision I have ever made for 40-plus years, and I very much needed to hear someone, somewhere apologize for this sin. I am not yet at the place where I could forgive my perpetrator for his transgressions, but after waiting 40-plus years for an apology, I'll use the next 40 to work on putting this hellish imprint on my psyche to rest.

MARY FERRELL

Lakewood

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The value of an apology is only gauged by a consequent change in behavior. When women are ordained as Catholic priests and when priests are allowed to marry, then I'll accept Cardinal Mahony's "apology." Till then, such verbiage constitutes yet another affront: hypocrisy. How ironic that this apology, which also addresses affronted homosexuals, comes on the same day as news of the defeat of Catholic Church-supported Prop. 22. If marriage is such a "sacred" institution that it's worth offending and excluding gay people in its name, why deny it to priests?

DAWN O'LEARY

Glendale

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Please let Cardinal Mahony know that if he's sincere about apologizing to Jews and Muslims, he can work toward convincing the Vatican to return the antiquities plundered by the Crusaders and dropped off in Rome on their return to Europe. It's been 800 years.

MARK WILKINS

Laguna Niguel

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While the recent apologies by the pope and Cardinal Mahony for the past crimes of the church are well and good, they do not address problems within the church itself that may have contributed to those crimes. For example, the collaboration of Pius XII with Hitler was not so much the result of the pope's attitude toward the Jews but of his obsession with extending Rome's control over the lives of Catholics in Germany.

Unfortunately, the church still holds itself above any criticism, with officials calling it "church bashing." Any institution making absolute claims has relinquished its moral authority. (I am a former Catholic priest, suspended in 1966 on the occasion of the publication of my book, "The Human Church," which called for democratic reforms in the Catholic Church.)

WILLIAM H. DuBAY

Costa Mesa

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