By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER
Your story [“Cardinal Sins,” February 27–March 4] is the best thing in print on the Southern California [Catholic Church molestation] cases. Still, I’m less critical of the survivors’ attorneys’ role than you. Perhaps it’s because my loyalties are to both camps, and the two are not irreconcilable. But tell me which you think is better: that survivors all get their day in court or that they get real money to help assuage real pain? Because winning in court is not guaranteed, especially given that very few survivors have clear and convincing evidence against their abusers. I agree it is important to expose the church for all its ugly deeds, but one or two showcase trials could accomplish that. Even then, I imagine it will be decades before the church is purged of this problem, if ever. Anyway, I think the article is astonishingly good. Pulitzer material.
Amazing piece of writing on Mahony. And scary as hell to think that if you’ve got a penchant for little boys and girls, all you have to do is give your life to God and his “people” will protect you. Oh yeah, and you get paid for it. How nice. I knew there was a reason I loathed that Catholic schoolgirl uniform I wore years ago.
Jeffrey Anderson pitches a baseless conspiracy theory within the Catholic Church and Los Angeles legal community, with plaintiff’s counsel, opposing counsel J. Michael Hennigan, and Cardinal Mahony at the center. Anderson draws on the newsworthiness of the crisis in the Church and capitalizes on the fears of a justifiably suspicious population. L.A. Weekly should retract the false statements it published and make the effort to correct the misconceptions it promoted in this story.
What bothers me even more than Anderson’s unethical approach are the thin fabrications that he weaves to pull together holes in his theory. For example, I have never at any point stated or acted in any way to indicate that I would prefer a resolution that would preserve Cardinal Mahony. A careful look at the Anderson piece would reveal that these statements are not even quotes that can be attributed to me. Rather, they are Anderson’s own comments, mischaracterized to tie together actual quotes out of context.
I believe that removal of Cardinal Mahony, or any cardinal who has been complicit in the long history of sexual abuse against children in the Church, would certainly be an important achievement. However, without attention to all of the roots of this evil, such an accomplishment may be merely symbolic. If one cardinal is simply removed, he will be replaced by another. As we have seen, the removal of Cardinal Law has not, in itself, eliminated the problem in Boston. Until what is rotten in the infrastructure is gutted, built anew, and replaced, this is not a throne upon which we should have anyone sit.
Anderson does not understand the scope of the problem, and instead panders to public skepticism and outrage generated by the exposure of the crimes committed within the Catholic Church. As author Jason Berry recently stated in the National Catholic Reporter, “We have been witnesses to the eroding integrity of bishops who concealed sexual dynamics in clerical culture because the system of rewards in clerical culture demanded their silence.” The recent publications of the National Review Board and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice are just beginning to shed light on the role of the bishops and the Catholic culture as a whole.
Finally, Anderson goes a step too far by insulting the survivors of clergy abuse by calling them “a passive, largely ethnic laity in Los Angeles, which has never openly questioned the integrity of Catholic leadership.” Again, his characterization demonstrates his overall ignorance of a larger societal problem, this time by blaming the victim.
As counsel for the plaintiffs, we continue to pursue a resolution that includes public disclosure of the crimes and cover-ups within the Church, redress for damage that has been done, and reform, to the greatest extent possible within the confines of civil litigation. We are using all of our resources, and will continue no matter what it takes. Our goals reach far beyond the usual boundaries of business decisions, and our clients are courageous people. I would call very few of them passive or unquestioning.
We stand by this story. The reference to “a passive, largely ethnic laity in Los Angeles” is clearly not directed at the survivors of clergy abuse, but rather at the 5 million mostly Asian and Latino Catholics of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
MORE ABOUT THE JEWISH CARPENTER
At the end of his review of The Passion of the Christ [“Sacred Blood,” February 27–March 4], Scott Foundas makes a few coy, smirking references to “certain people” who have been making life hard for Mel Gibson. I figured he was talking about Jewish higher-ups in Hollywood, until I read that apparently these certain people are “more conservative than Governor Ah-nuld.” That threw me. There are certainly conservative Jews, but does Foundas really think that Jews in Hollywood are that conservative as a group? Jews are actually not one large group with a single opinion on The Passion of the Christ. Several Jewish leaders have come out in support of the film. For the record, I’m Jewish and I thought the film was a powerful work and not anti-Semitic, although I was puzzled by the way Pilate’s responsibility was soft-pedaled.