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Readers React: How a simple church became a global institution that protects abusive priests

Cardinal Roger Mahony at the Charles Borromeo parish in Hollywood on July 3.
Cardinal Roger Mahony at the Charles Borromeo parish in Hollywood on July 3.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The photo with Steve Lopez’s recent column of Cardinal Roger Mahony glowing in the filtered stained glass light brings to mind the ethereal mystery that is the Roman Catholic Church.

Centuries ago it was simple. The church was the disciples, the apostles and the beliefs. It’s simple: If the creed can be said with honesty, you are a Christian.

Later, the church became a global institution. The priest became not just someone who could read, write and pray. Over time this person became larger than life. His professional setting became structures of limestone, carved granite and soaring arches surrounded by art, music, icons and symbols of inescapable grandeur.

Here is the stage. Here is where the spiritual mystery disappears. Here is where the illusion of celibacy is transformed and reality absorbed by the hopeful, faithful, vulnerable, awestruck, immature, soon-to-be Christians.

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Rolf Olson, Palm Desert

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To the editor: I’m so blessed to know that there are many paths leading to heaven. The Roman Catholic Church does not have the only key to open the gate.

As for my new Protestant friends, could you please put on another pot of coffee? Because more of us Catholics are coming.

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We may not know all the songs or various nuances, but we are fast learners. After all, when the flames got higher and nobody had a big enough bucket of water, we knew when to leave.

See you Sunday.

Susan Dalton, Redlands

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To the editor: I am sick to death of entertainers, priests and news pundits who believe a simple “I’m sorry” redeems all their past transgressions.

I didn’t always feel this way. I was raised Catholic and believe in redemption.

It took 72 years of watching people being hurt by creeps who cast the vengeance of God against folks, then apologize, for me to realize their crimes deserve punishment — punishment beyond “two Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.”

Richard A. Steel, Los Angeles

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