A day after retired Cardinal and L.A. Archbishop Emeritus Roger Mahony was stripped of his official church duties by his successor, José Gomez, Mahony fired off a letter to the current archbishop defending his actions in the L.A. Archdiocese sex-abuse scandal.
Documents released by the church as part of a 2007 global settlement over abuse allegations indicate that Mahony went along with a plan to transfer accused priests out of state to keep them away from authorities:
Today Mahony said his actions were "standard across the country for all Arch/Dioceses" and that Gomez never before questioned his record:
Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors.
I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s. I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone.
Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then. But when I retired as the active Archbishop, I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth.
The rebuke of Mahony will surely tarnish his legacy as a champion for immigrants and the cheerleader-in-chief for the construction of downtown's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Despite being stripped of public and administrative duties, Mahony, who lives at a North Hollywood parish, remained "in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction," Gomez said today.
A statement by David Clohessy, director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) said the the rebuke was not enough for Mahony:
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Hand-slapping Mahony is a nearly meaningless gesture. When he had real power, and abused it horribly, he should have been demoted or disciplined by the church hierarchy, in Rome and in the US. But not a single Catholic cleric anywhere had the courage to even denounce him.
SNAP leader Esther Hatfield:
In truth, LA church officials - including Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Bishop Thomas Curry and others - have relentlessly and expensively and successfully fought for years to keep these horrific secrets secret.
It's ludicrous for Mahony, Gomez and Curry to claim to be "forthcoming" with records they've successfully kept hidden for decades, using millions of dollars from generous parishioners to pay high prices lawyers to obstruct disclosures.
We hope citizens and Catholics will read these records.