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Catholic Leaders Skirt the Issue of Complicity

June 09, 2002

Cardinal Roger Mahony's spin doctors have helped him write a good full-page advertisement addressing the problem and the solution the Catholic Church is now facing (Page A23, June 6).

I am impressed with his plan to address this problem now and in the future. However, in closing, Mahony mentions "... the great harm that has been done to so many people by this small number of priests." Now we are back to the Catholic position of invincible infallibility. Mahony isn't saying he or the Catholic hierarchy did anything wrong. It was "them." Just a small number of priests.

I don't believe a participating wrongdoer can hide behind even a good solution.

Thomas E. Allen

La Quinta

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I was both outraged and disgusted reading the Catholic Church's proposal for dealing with child sexual abuse ("Bishops Call for Abuse Crackdown," June 5). The U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse certainly reinforces the fact that the sexual abuse of children continues to be the perfect crime. Allowing some priests, under bizarre conditions, one past sexual abuse occurrence borders on the ludicrous.

Forgiveness and redemption notwithstanding, the time has come for the Catholic membership to steadfastly question its hierarchy's authority in this matter. Our society has a zero-tolerance policy in the area of child sexual abuse and the rule of law dictates that we all abide by it, even the mighty Catholic Church. In this citizen's opinion, the bishops' response is unacceptable and must be rejected

Edna M. Tobias

Hermosa Beach

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The bishops' call for defrocking and reporting to authorities any future commission of sexual abuse by a priest says nothing about any equally heinous and illegal future act of complicity by a bishop. Since compliance by a bishop is voluntary and the need to protect the hierarchy's power and preeminence is inherent in the system, where's the reform?

Forrest G. Wood

Bakersfield

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