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Mahony: Make Way for a Leader

June 28, 2002

So we are now treated to sanctimonious assurances from Cardinal Roger Mahony in "Healing the Victims and Healing the Church" (Commentary, June 24).

Where was he years ago, when he became painfully aware that there were young members of his flock being preyed upon by priests? The "good" cardinal transferred priests, and they continued their exploitation of underage parishioners. Then, when called on the matter by the parents of the victims, he authorized secret payments to protect the institution from publicity. The cardinal's motivation has been laid bare for all to see.

During his tenure as cardinal he was faced with this one significant issue requiring true moral leadership, and such leadership was nowhere to be found.

Cardinal Mahony (and the pope, for that matter) holds himself out to the world as a moral leader. If one claims the mantle of moral leadership it is not unreasonable for us, the members of the flock, to expect such an individual to demonstrate moral leadership.

Mahony has failed the parishioners of Los Angeles. He should apologize for his failings, ask our (and I presume God's) forgiveness and resign to make room for a leader who may actually be capable of fulfilling the mission of his high office.

Richard Alvarez

Baldwin Park

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Mahony, in his pastoral letter, said, "I ask for your forgiveness for not understanding earlier the extent of the problem ... " ("Mahony Asks Forgiveness for Handling of Scandal," June 24). What part of "sexual abuse of minors" (the cardinal's words from his commentary the same day) doesn't he understand? Aren't we talking about someone who, theoretically, is eligible to be elected pope? If he truly is that out of touch, he owes it to the victims of abuse and the rest of his flock to move aside and make way for someone with a moral compass, not a PR firm.

Bob Cowan

Santa Monica

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