Re "Mahony, Counsel Lament Abuse Victims' Suffering," Sept. 24: Survivors of clerical sex abuse can take little comfort from the Tartuffe-like piety exuded by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and J. Michael Hennigan. This exercise in damage control comes in the wake of Judge Thomas F. Nuss' ruling that the archdiocese must disclose the personnel files of alleged perpetrators in criminal cases. The lack of sincerity in the cardinal's claim of support for victims is revealed by his announced determination to appeal that ruling.
On its face, the interview targeted three goals: (1) to evade responsibility by shouldering the burden of healing the victims; (2) to poison the jury well through pretended compassion for a small number of abuse survivors, thereby discounting as frivolous anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of the 500-plus cases filed against the archdiocese; and (3) to protect its assets by nudging the recalcitrant insurance carriers into paying the lion's share of the damages.
To me, the archdiocese emerges from this endeavor smelling like a rosary at a wake.
Mahony's pity disgusts me. He is responsible for extending survivors' grief. He should stop laying down legal land mines and let the recovery begin. Mahony's photo-op prayer sessions fool nobody, not even the church's own independent review board. Hennigan's remark about a "pat on the butt during an athletic contest" belittles the reality of child rape and sodomy and perversion too horrible to recount. Mahony and Hennigan protect rapists on the front page of The Times in the name of public relations.