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Dear Cardinal Mahony

Feb 17, 2011 — Categories: , ,

I realize that you are soon to retire as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I can only assume that you are exhausted from dealing with sexual abuse by priests in your diocese for so many years and from all of the subsequent scandals. I hope that you will have time to reflect on your role in addressing this longstanding problem of betrayal by your priests.

I realize that you are soon to retire as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I can only assume that you are exhausted from dealing with sexual abuse by priests in your diocese for so many years and from all of the subsequent scandals. I hope that you will have time to reflect on your role in addressing this longstanding problem of betrayal by your priests.

As you prepare to depart, perhaps the case of Fr. O’Loghlen will be the last case on your watch. Finally he has been removed from parish ministry after a complaint was filed by the woman he abused thirty years ago when she was a minor.

The priest, the Rev. Martin P. O’Loghlen, was once a leader in his religious order and was appointed to an archdiocesan sexual abuse advisory board, although officials at both the order and the archdiocese knew at the time about his admission of sexual abuse and addiction. He served on the board, which was meant to review accusations of abuse by priests, for at least two years in the late 1990s, according to church and legal documents.

But I have to ask, what were you thinking by appointing him to the Advisory Board? While it is perhaps commendable that Fr. O’Loghlen did disclose his sexual abuse of a minor thirty years ago, the fact that he was then put on the Advisory Board boggles the mind.

Let me suggest just one basic aspect of this action upon which you might want to reflect. What do you think was the impact on victims and survivors in your diocese of knowing that an acknowledged sexual abuser (who was still ministry) was now serving on the Advisory Board that would hear their complaints? Why should they trust you or your minions to take their complaints seriously? Victims and survivors of sexual abuse by priests have already been betrayed once by the church. Why should they come before a church board with a self-acknowledged abusive priest to lodge their complaint? I don’t want to sound cynical, but was it your intent to discourage victims and survivors from coming forward?

Call me. I would be happy to further discuss the concept of “trust” as it relates to institutions like the church.

As you pass the mantel of your office to the new Archbishop, I wonder what you have learned and what advice you will give him in dealing with priests who sexually abuse. I hope he will learn from your mistakes.

Your sister in Christ,

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

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