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Mahony Takes Heat in Abuse Scandal

June 15, 2003

Cardinal Roger Mahony should have said goodbye when Cardinal Bernard Law did ("Mahony Resisted Abuse Inquiry, Panelist Says," June 12).

Regarding Mahony's cover-up and collusion with men who abused and molested children and raped girls: They should never have been called "priest" from the day he knew of their crimes. Now, under California law, Mahony is as guilty as they are, by aiding and abetting, through vicarious liability. He should be charged, tried, convicted and sent to prison. He certainly should not be able to hide in the folds of Jesus' garment and continue ministering to good, decent Catholics who depend on their priests and cardinals for spiritual advice.

Mahony's time to repent, relent and be sent -- by the church -- into oblivion has long gone. If the church refuses to sanction and dismiss Mahony, how can it expect the faithful to flock to its congregations? Any Eucharist accepted from the hands of Mahony is tainted with his crimes.

Jean Bennett

Sun City


The Times has been consistently unfair in its criticism of Cardinal Mahony in its editorials on the response of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to sexual abuse criminal investigations, browbeating him with his own words: "We want every single thing to be out, open and dealt with, period" (editorial, June 13). It is unreasonable to expect that the cardinal should renounce his and the Catholic Church's 1st Amendment rights by turning over constitutionally protected documents to prosecutors.

The Times, prosecutors and others are pressuring Mahony to set a dangerous precedent by insisting that he relinquish the church's rights under the Constitution. The cardinal has asked for judicial review of his stance; until the courts offer clarification of the constitutional and legal issues involved, I suggest that The Times give the cardinal and the church the benefit of the doubt.

Father Gregory Coiro

La Canada Flintridge


The government must persist and insist on answers from the L.A. Archdiocese, including the cooperation of Mahony. His arrogance and seemingly "above it all" attitude has prevailed for what seems like years now. Never, in my memory, has a religious community of leaders been so disrespectful and flagrantly in violation of their trust and commitment to their populace.

The credibility of the Catholic Church remains eternally blemished, and Mahony appears to have swept it all under a rug. Sexual abuse is unacceptable and wrong, and must be "outed" and exorcised from the bowels of the archdiocese. Its constituency is weak if this is allowed to fade away.

Ronald L. Wallace

Sherman Oaks


"Milestone for Catholics" (June 12) has large, colorful photos alongside an upbeat story on the first Vietnamese American bishop in the U.S. "Pressing Business" (June 11) shows a photo of a woman ironing Msgr. Dominic Mai Luong's elaborate vestments in preparation for his ordination. Your article quotes the apostle Paul saying that "we are strangers and aliens no longer."

Perhaps it is with St. Paul in mind that the Catholic Church still keeps women at the ironing board while men of every background advance into the clerical/princely realms. Check out the pictures; they do indeed speak louder than words.

Eileen Bigelow


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