Still angry at the church
Re “Church to settle with 45 accusers,” Dec. 2
Thank you for placing in large, bold print L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony’s words: “We anticipate there will be further pain down the road for us.” His use of the word “pain” to refer to the financial settlement of sexual abuse cases reveals how far he is from any understanding of what the victims suffered. Pain is what a 7-year-old girl feels when raped by a priest. Pain is what she and other children feel every day for the rest of their lives, trying to understand how an adult -- in fact, a priest -- could do this, how God could permit this, whether God exists and whether faith is possible in light of this terrible experience. Mahony’s use of the word “pain” to describe his discomfort with having to make financial settlements 50 and 60 years later is despicable.
I am not a Catholic, nor a religious person. I do respect people of good faith who follow their beliefs. I feel sorry for the victims of the abuse and the many good and devout Catholics who have seen what a few evil men have done to the Catholic Church. I do not feel sorry for Mahony. It is apparent he has enabled, covered up and then defended the vile molesters who used their positions of trust to abuse children.
Now Mahony casts himself as a reformer and shares the pain of the victims; does the word “hypocrite” come to mind? Why good Catholics don’t cast him out baffles me. Perhaps the institutional power of the church that so long protected molesters and crushed victims is still at work -- protecting those in power from the consequences of their actions. I hope The Times continues the reporting that keeps this horrendous story from being buried into history -- along with the victims.
Mahony, in responding to the settlements, said: “We set aside last year $40 million for this settlement. While it is painful, no parishes are affected.” Am I the only one who finds the church’s ability to drop $40 million without blinking in stark contrast to its understood mission: to be nonprofit, aiding the poor and needy?
Re “Mahony’s speaking, but he’s still silent,” column, Dec. 2
Steve Lopez’s suggestion that Mahony speak at each church where the abusive priests worked is an excellent one. I would add that he also instruct each parish priest to address his parishioners about the various commandments that the abusing priests broke. This would teach the priesthood and parishioners that priests are human and not above the law. It would teach potential victims that a degree of skepticism is justified when asked by priests for personal favors.
Mahony should review the Ten Commandments and ask his priests to do the same and get back to the basics of love and respect that their God teaches.