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Flawed Institutions' Roles in Church Scandal

August 03, 2003

Re "Removal of O.C. Priest Is Sought," July 26:

I was disheartened to read in The Times that Catholic Church authorities do not consider a priest's possession of child pornography as grounds for dismissal because their "zero-tolerance policy" refers only to those who have "engaged" in molestation.

I believe it is my right as a Catholic mother of two boys to expect that the priest who baptized them, who listened to their first Confession, who gave them their first Communion, and who shakes their hand after Sunday Mass is not, and never has been, one with a penchant for sexually brutalized boys and girls -- whether he has "engaged" in molestation or not.

Obviously, church authorities have not yet begun to grasp the concerns of today's Catholic families and are more interested in serving themselves than God's people. Not until the church brings to light all of the perverse sexual trespasses of its clergy can the critical wound between church authorities and its people begin to heal.

Christa Chavez

Los Alamitos


Two years ago, Santa Ana police referred this case to prosecutors, who declined to bring charges citing "lack of evidence." The Times has abandoned its duty to present a balanced picture of the dilemma such situations pose to the community. Armed only with the facts presented in the article itself, it appears impossible to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. Are we to rely then on only the interest of the police to decide the future of such people? Or short of that, why not just allege a cover-up and lynch the guy in the newspaper? In other contexts, this matter would be seen as a witch hunt. The willing participation of the L.A. Times is unseemly.

Jim Reardon

San Juan Capistrano

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