It didn't take too long for Friday's front-page story that Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez had relieved his predecessor, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, of his public duties for readers to start filling up the morning mailbag. And it wasn't with letters praising Gomez for taking decisive action; to the contrary, the reaction has varied between "it's about time" and "too little, too late."
Letters written in response to the article will likely run in Sunday's paper, and they can also be viewed at latimes.com/letters. Here's what we have so far (and some of these submissions may make it onto Sunday's page).
Charles Fox of Huntington Beach says Gomez shares some guilt:
"Let me see if I've got this right: Gomez became L.A.'s coadjutor archbishop on April 6, 2010. Until last week, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles did everything it could to prevent access to its records of child abuse. After years, the church exhausted all legal procedures and released the records. Thursday evening, Gomez striped Mahony of his remaining public duties and issued a public apology. Does he expect our praise?
"Gomez is just another one who tried to cover up child abuse."La Habra resident Bobby Florentz is similarly unimpressed, and draws a historical parallel:
"Stripping away Mahony's public duties after his retirement that followed years of shielding pedophiles from law enforcement is like taking away Nazi doctor Josef Mengele's prescription pad after doing human experiments in Germany's death camps and fleeing to South America.
"Hopefully, judgment in the afterlife awaits such people, since clearly there will be no justice for them in this life."
Vickie Casas of West Los Angeles said merely relieving Mahony of his duties as a retired archbishop doesn't go far enough:
"There is only one thing the Roman Catholic Church can do to rectify these actions by Mahony and the recently resigned auxiliary archbishop of Santa Barbara who has served as the cardinal's advisor on priest sex abuse, Thomas J. Curry: kick them out of the Catholic Church completely. The deserve no retirement and no support.
"Anything less is only placating all of us who have been faithful to the Catholic Church. I personally will not contribute one more dime to the institution until this is done and will ask all my Catholic friends and family to do the same."
Mary Leah Plante of Los Angeles looks at the big picture:
"There is a lesson for us all in the tragedy of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. These offenses are not isolated from society as a whole.
"Can we understand that we foster this abuse by allowing the devastation of our environment, supporting the depiction of violence in entertainment, accepting endless war, permitting the proliferation of weapons on our streets, sustaining poverty in designated areas of our cities and silently accepting the idea that some children are more important than other children? Will we learn to believe that the signs of our times require each of us to reflect on what is really occurring and participate as we can to inspire change?"Mary Sue Maurer, a teacher and the mayor of Calabasas, sends a note of thanks -- but not to Gomez:
"As a government teacher, I tell my students that the fourth branch of American government is our media and their role in exposing the wrongdoing of those in power. The Times' relentless pursuit of the truth in the Catholic Church abuse scandal is an example of the media's important role in democracy, and I will use it as an example in my classes."