To the editor: Accountability for sex abuse is what this all comes down to.
When the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal was exposed in 2002, I, a practicing Catholic, waited to see what the church leaders would do. They set up panels to ensure this would never happen again and paid hundreds of millions to the victims, but they never addressed what really bothered me: the cover-up.
I continued to practice my faith, but now I am torn. It appears as if the church has, once again, tried to protect the men who covered up these abuses. It is these men who need to be exposed and face consequences.
One of the only things keeping me from walking away from my lifelong religion are priests like Father Mark Menegatti of Los Feliz and my own pastor, who work to protect the their parishoners before the institution. Priests like these keep me hanging on by a thread. Every priest across this country should speak to their flock about this crisis, and the Vatican should open all its files so the men who perpetuated the cover-up face the consequences.
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez said church leaders are committed to reform. The reform needed is very simple: Deal with the people who covered up abuse.
Lindsay Soderlund, Glendale
To the editor: I’ve never been a Roman Catholic, but Pope Francis always impressed me — until now. Revelations about enduring child abuse by priests and systemic cover-ups by church officials have made me reconsider.
The pontiff offers no comment to the accusation that he abided those cover-ups. True, this accusation is not proven true, but at best Francis seems to have remained willfully uninformed and not diligently investigated the clerical culture that yielded many claims of abuse and expensive payoffs to victims.
For all the evident good that Francis has done, he bears the ineradicable taint of papal malfeasance. He should resign and pray that his successor will find divine inspiration to guide the church back to respectability.
Edward Alston, Santa Maria, Calif.
To the editor: The spectacle of Archbishop Gomez appearing humbly penitent and expressing concern for sexual abuse victims of predator priests and bishops is a little too much to take for this still-practicing Catholic. Apparently he thinks we all have short memories.
This is the same Gomez who continued his predecessor Cardinal Roger Mahony’s cover-up for the first two years he was in Los Angeles. This is the same Gomez who colluded with other California bishops to block legislation that would have changed the statute of limitations so sexual abuse victims could have their day in court.
Perhaps a major reason (among many) why so many are leaving the church is the crass hypocrisy of the American hierarchy.
Michael Briley, Ojai