Readers React: Is the Vatican’s call to end abuse coverups sincere or just PR?

The Vatican has heard testimony from a man who said he was abused as a child by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, seen above in 2015.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

To the editor: As a lapsed Roman Catholic, I’m saddened but not surprised that my erstwhile religion is facing an existential crisis of its own making. (“Parishioner tells Vatican that McCarrick molested him for years, sometimes during confession,” Dec. 28)

For many decades mounting empirical evidence has steadily chipped away at the church’s theological foundations. The Vatican has responded by doubling down on faith-based deceptions.

So, it denies or downplays enormous environmental threats posed by overpopulating the planet, remaining adamant in its condemnation of contraception, and it acts as if men’s primal urges disappear when they are ordained as priests. Shrouding reality comes naturally to the church’s hierarchy, so it long managed to cover up most clerical child abuses.

The recent spate of belated sex-abuse disclosures moved the pope to call for an end to coverups. Let’s pray that this long overdue edict reflects the church’s sincere repentance more than expedient public relations.

Nancy A. Stone, Santa Monica



To the editor: Each new report of decades-old child abuse by Roman Catholic clergy sets me off.

Their victims’ suffering, often lifelong, must make many of them question their core beliefs. More power to courageous clerical-abuse victims who finally bring themselves to counter the church’s systemic concealment of such unthinkable crimes.

Where ecclesiastical justice has proved to be an oxymoron, the Catholic God doubtless blesses those victims who seek secular redress through criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. Heaven knows what church officials have trouble grasping: Abusive clerics should be held fully accountable without undue delay.

Greg Gilbert, Burney, Calif.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook