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Cardinal Mahony, LA archdiocese sheltered abusive priests, files show

Catholic World News - January 21, 2013

Church leaders in the Los Angeles archdiocese, led by retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, worked for years to protect abusive priests from public exposure and prosecution, newly released archdiocesan records show.

The Los Angeles archdiocese has released files that show the handling of sex-abuse complaints by Church leaders in recent decades. The files were released on January 21, in fulfillment of a court order. The archdiocese had fought for several years to avoid making the files public.

The files—the first of thousands that will eventually be made public under the court order—record exchanges in which Cardinal Mahony and his aides discussed how to shelter abusive priests from law-enforcement officials and ensure that parishioners were not apprised of the priests’ crimes.

In a statement released on January 21 after the files were made public, Cardinal Mahony renewed his apologies for mishandling sex-abuse cases. He explained that he had been “naïve” about the issue, and believed that abusive priests could be rehabilitated. He lost that naivete, he said, when he began meeting with the victims of sexual abuse. The cardinal reported that he had met with dozens of victims between 2006 and 2008.

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  • Posted by: frjohndowney9908 - Jan. 22, 2013 2:08 PM ET USA

    I am a Priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I was ordained in 1981 and served during both Cardinal Manning and Cardinal Mahony's time here. I remember quite well a situation in which a Priest was accused. People convicted him with gossip in his parish, the news went after him and his Priestly reputation was ruined. Cardinal Mahony did everything he could to protect this Priest. When the Priest was found to be innocent everyone was silent. He continues to suffer, though he did nothing wrong.

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