Re “Naming names at the church,” Editorial, Dec. 26
Kudos to The Times for advocating the public’s right to know the names of Catholic Church officials who enabled the church’s pedophiles to avoid exposure and prosecution.
The referee who ruled against public disclosure apparently didn’t understand and appreciate how naming names might protect future potential victims.
If church officials knew their coverup endeavors would be made public, they surely would be deterred from shielding pedophiles who otherwise might continue to abuse children.
When released, the files will reflect instances in which the Archdiocese of Los Angeles focused more on the needs of the abuser than the victims themselves. Many of these and other serious mistakes that were made by officials in handling reports of sex abuse by priests were detailed in the Report to the People of God, released in 2004.
However, the files will also reflect fundamental growth and change in the manner in which these serious problems came to be addressed and were dealt with by the archdiocese.
Today, background checks are made on every adult who supervises children in the archdiocese. Each is fingerprinted. Each receives training in the detection and prevention of sex abuse. Every child who participates in a church program or school receives training every year on what to expect from adults and what to do about inappropriate behavior.
Although ashamed and saddened by the past, the archdiocese is justifiably proud of the present.
J. Michael Hennigan
The writer is attorney for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.