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Dear Archbishop: Please Clarify

Feb 05, 2013 — Categories: ,

Dear Archbishop Gomez: Kudos for doing something. In response to the release of the personnel files on clergy sexual abusers in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, you actually did something about Cardinal Roger Mahoney and Bishop Thomas Curry who oversaw the years of silence, cover-up and non-response to the reports of sexual abuse of children by priests, though of course I wish you had done it earlier.

Dear Archbishop Gomez:

Kudos for doing something. In response to the release of the personnel files on clergy sexual abusers in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, you actually did something about Cardinal Roger Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry who oversaw the years of silence, cover-up and non-response to the reports of sexual abuse of children by priests, though of course I wish you had done it earlier.

In your letter of January 31, you said: “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.”

You are the first bishop to sanction in any way a fellow bishop for his ignorance and incompetence, the first to suggest any consequences for any bishop who knew and did nothing, or worse, protected clergy abusers from criminal charges.

But wait: The next day, you said this: “Questions from the faithful and some members of the news media indicate that it would be helpful for me to clarify the status of Cardinal Roger Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry. Cardinal Mahony, as Archbishop Emeritus, and Bishop Curry, as Auxiliary Bishop, remain bishops in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction.”

So with all due respect, Archbishop Gomez, now I am confused. Did you do something and then someone advised you to back off? Or did you not really do anything in response to Cardinal Mahony? I don’t get how relieving Cardinal Mahony of his public role in the Sacrament of Confirmation squares with ministering “without restriction.”

Please clarify for this confused Protestant.

Your sister in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune 
FaithTrust Institute 
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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my confusion, too

Posted by Pr Dawn Gregg at Feb 12, 2013 09:55 PM
Thank you Dr Fortune for writing this. I, too, am confused about what it means to be defrocked but not.
When I was on leave from call for being an outed partnered lesbian, I was allowed to act as a Pastor in supply situations. However, I was NOT under any discipline or sanctions.

To be a bit snide: Once a Bp, always a Bp. Once a pedophile, always a pedophile. (Not that all are, but gee whiz.)
Thank for the good work you do. In Christ's love, Pr Dawn

Confusion seems to be the norm

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at Feb 12, 2013 09:56 PM
Isn't it ironic that those of us who worked for years to end the collusion find ourselves as confused over and over again? Logic tells us that stronger policies and decisive court actions should have ended this nonsense long ago. Seems to me that Archbishop Gomez is more confused than anyone! All he needs to hear from are the people who are courageous enough to stop supporting the corrupt system that allows this to continue.

Question

Posted by Melanie at Feb 12, 2013 09:56 PM
Will you please send this to Archbishop Gomez and let us know if you get a reply? Thank you, once again, for presenting the situation and clearly asking the questions.

An informed Catholic view

Posted by Tim Diewold at Feb 19, 2013 09:16 PM
I very much respect your opinion and the good work of this organization. I accept your perception of muddled thinking or confusing action. I do not share the confusion; as I read your commentary I see nothing confusing.

There is a marked difference between "administrative and public" functions specifically or apparently as an agent on behalf of a particular Diocese and the personal exercise of sacramental, ministerial and pastoral functions of an ordained priest and Bishop.

There are precise and logical processes and limits on the authority of one Bishop in relation to another and over priests and laity resident in his Diocese. No matter how strong the emotional motivation or the dramatic policy statement desired only a rational and just response is merited and allowed within the existing framework.

Modern American Justice is founded on great principles, including presumption of innocence, due process and equitable compensation and/or just punishment. Should any organization in the USA, even a religious one, not attribute similar principles to its members. Then it may attach further restrictions, etc. as are relevant and unique to itself by its internal rules and authority.

Not all faith traditions are as precisely ordered as Catholic Canon Law provides (current complete 1983 Code is available online) and so I commend John Allen's article to your reading at http://ncronline.org/[…]/gomez-mahony-and-sodano-rule for another perspective.

God Bless you and your work.