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Mahony Blesses a Chapel For Those Abused by Priests

May 29, 2003

Re "Chapel Dedicated for Victims of Sex Abuse," May 26:

Cardinal Roger Mahony has displayed one more act of deceit toward the victims of clergy rape and sodomy. He is a master of using the media to his benefit. How can a place within a place that represents criminal activity by criminal priests be a solace to the victims of rape and molestation? Most victims cannot bear to go into a Catholic church without a physical or psychological reaction. The thought of entering a Catholic church for a family wedding or funeral was impossible for me for years. As a mother of a victim who was raped and molested by two priests, it required many hours of therapeutic conditioning for me to do so.

The key to Mahony's objective of dedicating this space within the cathedral is in his statement, "It also filled us with resolve to do all that is humanly possible to eliminate the scourge of abuse from our church to ensure the safety of all our people." His primary objective is to protect his position. If he was really interested in removing the scourge, why didn't he invite the victims? Mahony and his public relations staff did not want the truth spoken by the victims.

The words on the wall of the chapel, "Justice shall look down from the heavens," are shallow to the criminal priests' victims. If Mahony really wants to help the victims, how about starting with truth and justice on Earth? Start with providing meaningful therapy and concern for the total well-being of the victims. One year of therapy is inadequate for the trauma inflicted by criminal priests. How about cooperating with the legal system to prosecute the criminal priests? Isolation and manipulation are not the answers. Prosecution of the criminals and the cover-uppers is justified. Wouldn't truthful and complete exposure of the perpetrators, their organization and their actions be justified? Mahony should stop hiding behind "privacy issues."

Anne B. Higgins

Santa Barbara

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When will Mahony stop viewing the suffering of children abused by Catholic priests as his own private publicity stunt? He gets his 15 minutes of fame from the destruction of children's lives. After he led "a procession of clergy" in front of TV cameras and reporters, it was hard to believe this was "an unexpected dedication of a chapel." Mahony needs to step aside and turn over the personnel files of his pedophile priests and be done with it. Enough is enough.

Mary Ferrell

Lakewood

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