Perhaps the Catholic Church is finally getting around to taking child sexual abuse seriously. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez announced that he was relieving his predecessor, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, of all public duties over his handling of the child sex abuse scandal. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Curry has also resigned his post as regional bishop in Santa Barbara.
This comes as the Church published on the net thousands of pages from secret personnel files for some 122 priests accused of molesting children. Gomez wrote in a letter to parishioners that “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil.”
Gomez also wrote “I cannot undo the failings of the past that we find in these pages. Reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused has been the saddest experience I’ve had since becoming your Archbishop in 2011.”
Hopefully, Gomez will take any allegations that surface during his tenure seriously. The censure of a Cardinal for their handling of the scandal is largely unheard of. According to Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese, noted that Mahony’s schedule and duties as a retired priest would largely remain unchanged though he would no longer be able to handle confirmations. He could, if he wished, celebrate Mass, and could vote for a new Pope until he turns 80 in two years.
Mahony and Curry did what they could in order to hide the abuses of various priests, including some who abducted and raped illegal immigrant children. Mahony and Curry have since apologized for their tactic of sending priests off to meet with therapists instead of handing them over to the police. Mahony claimed that he did not understand the damage he was doing to the children.