As leaders of Voice of the Faithful Santa Barbara, a Catholic reform group, we express both sadness and outrage at the recently released Los Angeles Diocesan documents. Sadness, because the two leaders named, Cardinal Roger Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry, have accomplished much good in their time of service. But to read about the devious methods by which they kept pedophile priests from the law, thus endangering countless children not only in our diocese but in New Mexico, Mexico, the Philippines and elsewhere, is infuriating. It is true that these leaders have now put in place good mechanisms to prevent clergy sexual abuse, and it is true that they have apologized more than once for their egregious behavior.
But their apologies ring hollow. Against the claim of “naiveté,” we have documents indicating that they knew pedophiles could be repeat offenders. They knew that sexual abuse was a serious criminal offense. The calculated shuffling of offending priests to other dioceses was not a “mistake.” It was a deliberate refusal to deal with these sickening crimes.
There must be honest admissions of the truth. In Luke 17, Jesus says “Scandals will inevitably arise, but woe to him through whom they come. He would be better off thrown into the sea…than giving scandal to one of these little ones.” There is no question what Jesus felt about those who abuse children and those who allow children to be abused.
For the good of all the people of the Church, we call for the resignation of Bishop Curry. And we further call for lay participation in the management of every diocese and in the selection of bishops and pastors.