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Keating Resignation Puts Spotlight on Mahony

June 17, 2003

Re "Clergy Abuse Panel's Chief to Step Down," June 15: It is with some sadness that I read about the resignation of former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating from the Catholic Church's sexual abuse oversight panel. The Los Angeles Archdiocese and Cardinal Roger Mahony must have a great deal to cover up if they can't take some criticism from a concerned layman.

What Mahony should realize is that he is only embarrassing the church further by continuing this charade. If the archdiocese is to salvage what little credibility it appears to have left, Mahony must resign. As Keating pointed out, everything must come out, and everything will come out.

Joe Sevenliss

Corona

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Keating's resignation from the Catholic Church's national sex abuse panel represents a lot more than the ouster of one outspoken layman by a high-ranking member of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy. For decades, bishops and other clergy have lamented the lack of strong lay leadership and participation of the entire "People of God," to borrow a phrase from the Second Vatican Council. But now, as the victims of clerical sex abuse turn up the heat to expose the colossal bungling and incompetence of the bishops, these prelates still refuse to concede any of their power to mere laypeople.

Mahony's divide-and-conquer approach to other members of the sex abuse panel is classic. He now has a rubber-stamp majority that he and other prelates can manipulate.

Sadly, it's all about power and control, not honesty, candor and healing. When will concerned clergy and laity wake up, organize and let their voices be heard? This is long overdue in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Mark Day

Vista

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Mahony has been hoisted upon a dilemma partially of his own making, but does he deserve the inappropriate and abusive language used by Keating? I think not. Little is written about the damage done in the past 18 months to the relationship between bishops and priests in dioceses across the country. Priests are increasingly reluctant to confide in their bishops because of concerns about confidentiality. Further changes in California law open the church to potentially staggering financial judgments that could well cripple a number of dioceses.

Yes, there might be additional information forthcoming that would provide further embarrassment to the L.A. Archdiocese and Mahony, but Mahony has the weighty responsibility of protecting assets necessary in the service of the Los Angeles Catholic community. The cardinal deserves more understanding and support from the media, including The Times.

Ralph Sariego

Woodland Hills

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Maybe Keating's comments were a trifle over the line, but is he speaking the truth about lack of cooperation from the L.A. Archdiocese? I cannot understand why the cardinal is not completely open and truthful about the problem of predator priests under his control. His continued maneuvering and manipulating of the evidence just paints him as the culprit more than ever. Honesty, truthfulness and repentance can do more at this juncture than his continued ill-advised stonewalling. Come on, Roger, fess up and get back to shepherding your flock.

S.W. Guzy

Garden Grove

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