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Letters: Sex abuse in the Catholic Church

January 23, 2013

Re "Mahony tried to conceal abuse," Jan. 22

Profound thanks to The Times for its efforts to make public the truth regarding the protection of priests who abuse children. This is another deeply disturbing example of the protection of the organization — the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy — not the Catholic Church as the people of God.

This irresponsibility does not end with Cardinals Roger M. Mahony and Bernard Law (formerly of Boston), but the guilt is also that of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who knew what was happening in the United States. These are our "moral leaders" who protect pedophiles and berate nuns for their feminist ideas.

Doris Isolini Nelson

Los Angeles

What is more evil than physically violating children? The answer: focusing your efforts on shielding rather than prosecuting the perpetrators.

Mahony, former archbishop of Los Angeles, says he's sorry. As the late Randy Pausch stated in his book "The Last Lecture": "A good apology has three parts: 1. 'I'm sorry'; 2. 'It was my fault' and 3. 'How do I make it right?' The last part tells about your sincerity."

Mahony and his colleagues not only need to apologize for their unspeakable actions, they must also own them and spend the rest of their days making amends for the lives they shattered.

Cinnia Curran Finfer

Los Angeles

Mahony's claim that clergy weren't legally required to report suspected child abuse until 1997, and, therefore, he was absolved from responsibility to do so, is staggeringly self-serving. It's as if he's saying, "It was other people's job to report child sexual abuse," with the implicit caveat that his responsibility was to protect the institution he served.

The fact that Thomas J. Curry, the auxiliary archbishop for Santa Barbara who was Mahony's advisor on sex abuse cases, is still serving in the church tells me everything I need to know. The church still doesn't understand the horror its priests perpetrated on the victims, the flock they purport to lead and protect.

Melonie Magruder

North Hollywood

Although it was no shock to learn that Mahony concealed crimes against children, I was stopped in my tracks by his vacuous explanation that he did not report them because he did not know the names of the children. How pathetic.

Reporting crime is what good citizens do. Investigating those crimes and identifying victims is what good police do. If Mahony had reported as soon as he was aware of child abuse, many children would have been spared harm. Obviously, while Mahony was not a good archbishop, he was also not even a good citizen.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez has a duty to denounce Mahony, strip him of all titles and remove him from any priestly function.

Jeannette Dreisbach

Palm Springs

I find it interesting that an organization like the Roman Catholic Church, which in the past was overly zealous in persecuting those who had committed a "sin" (an offense against an imaginary being) to the point of mass murder, is equally zealous in protecting its own against prosecution for what those in authority know is a crime and merits secular punishment.

Paul J. Burke

Palmdale

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