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Archbishop Gomez relieves Cardinal Mahony of duties; Bishop Curry steps down

CWN - February 01, 2013

Immediately complying with a judge’s order, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has released the personnel files of 87 clergy accused of sexual abuse and has posted the files online.

Archbishop José Gomez, who has led the archdiocese since 2011, announced that he has relieved his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of all administrative and public duties, and that Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, at one time Cardinal Mahony’s vicar for clergy, has resigned from his duties as a regional auxiliary bishop.

Cardinal Mahony served as Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011. Until recently, Bishop Curry served as chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education.

“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading,” Archbishop Gomez said in a statement. “The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.”

“We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today,” Archbishop Gomez continued. “We need to pray for everyone who has ever been hurt by members of the Church. And we need to continue to support the long and painful process of healing their wounds and restoring the trust that was broken.”

Twenty or more alleged incidents of abuse took place each year between 1956 and 1988; 30 or more alleged incidents of abuse took place each year between 1967 and 1984; and 40 or more alleged incidents of abuse took place each year between 1973 and 1981.

Archbishop Gomez added:

My predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care. Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara.

To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you.

To every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I want you to know: We will continue, as we have for many years now, to immediately report every credible allegation of abuse to law enforcement authorities and to remove those credibly accused from ministry. We will continue to work, every day, to make sure that our children are safe and loved and cared for in our parishes, schools and in every ministry in the Archdiocese.

In the weeks ahead, I will address all of these matters in greater detail. Today is a time for prayer and reflection and deep compassion for the victims of child sexual abuse. I entrust all of us and our children and families to the tender care and protection of our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of the Angels.

(See Phil Lawler's comment on this news story: “At last an American prelate addresses the real problem in the sex-abuse scandal.”)

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Show 9 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 02, 2013 12:36 PM ET USA

    I will also be interested to see if the Holy Father will further discipline Abp. Mahony and Bishop Curry, within the scope of his authority. I have seen Abp. Mahony for years slipping and sliding around full disclosure. It's time for him to leave and face his accounting with the people of California.

  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Feb. 01, 2013 7:43 PM ET USA

    @ gfdsmith9280 = Abp Gomez's action has not removed Card Mahony from the College of Cardinals - it stopped Mahony's public appearances within LA Diocese. I think that the US Laity is ready to move on by OPEN AND HONEST CLEANSING by hierarchy and rest of Clergy, so we can have a model priest to follow ...

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Feb. 01, 2013 6:26 PM ET USA

    This is a sad thing, but I am very proud of Abp Gomez for doing this.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Feb. 01, 2013 4:08 PM ET USA

    Uh, Archbishop Gomez had access to these files since the time he took over in LA. Is he just now reading them? Or is he just now acknowledging the terribly sad and evil content because they are now seeing the light of day. This does little to ease my scepticism.

  • Posted by: dagbat - Feb. 01, 2013 2:36 PM ET USA

    Finally some honesty, transparency, and disciplinary ACTION. This goes straight to the heart of the trust problem in the American Church. Hopefully this public acknowledgement by Archbishop Gomez and his disciplinary actions will send a strong signal to other American Bishops faced with similar circumstances.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Feb. 01, 2013 1:33 PM ET USA

    Since religion is the last refuge of the scoundrel, what if the scoundrel is already a religious? At a minimum, Cardinal Mahony should have his priestly faculties removed. As far as the rest of it is concerned, God will have the last word and that's a good thing.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Feb. 01, 2013 9:36 AM ET USA

    If only this and not what we saw in Boston and so many other dioceses had been the immediate response to the homosexual abuse crisis, we would be far better off today. Without trying I can think of the names of 5 bishops in my own region who should have suffered the public disgrace now being visited on Mahony and Curry. Instead, nothing was done and many of them retired "honorably."

  • Posted by: gfdsmith9280 - Feb. 01, 2013 9:32 AM ET USA

    Just as long as it is acknowledged that nothing that Archbishop Gomez does to conform to the law and bring this sorrowful episode to a close will satisfy some people. One seriously wonders if the public crucifixion of Cardinal Mahony would give his critics any real satisfaction. To demand his dismissal from the College of Cardinals is a case in point: Gomez does not have the authority to do that.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Feb. 01, 2013 7:40 AM ET USA

    This anguished, compassionate letter ought to be a blueprint for how to deal with all "brutal and painful" sex abuse scandals. "There is no excuse." What a brutal and painful time for the church in Los Angeles. Pray for healing, pray for vocations, and pray for conversion of hearts.

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