Dear Catholic Volunteer,

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your devotion to protecting children. We share your view that nothing is more important than safeguarding precious youngsters.

As concerned Catholics and a support group of men and women victimized by clergy, we are deeply concerned about the protection of children. Like you, we don’t want to see one more child suffer the horror of being sexually abuse by trusted authority figures.

But while you have taken admirable action to prevent abuse, Cardinal Roger Mahony has taken shameful steps to cover up abuse.

While you have opted for openness, Mahony has opted for secrecy.

While you are focusing on preventing future crimes, Mahony is focusing on hiding past crimes.

While your abuse efforts have been done willingly, Mahony's "baby" steps, paltry though they are, have been done begrudging and belatedly, only after considerable pressure from victims, police and prosecutors.

And those steps have been dwarfed by his preoccupation with legal and pubic relations maneuvers, designed to minimize the extent of the problem and his role in its cover up.

On the back of this, you can see some of the specific steps, helpful steps, we have repeatedly asked Mahony to take, so that the vulnerable can be safeguarded and the wounded can be healed. Time and time again, he has ignored our requests.

We hope you will join us in urging him to take practical, not symbolic action that will make the church safer for everyone. He is your archbishop. Please help us prod him to do what's right.

Again, thank you for all you do to protect the vulnerable.

P.S. A word of warning: Please don't be surprised, and try not to feel betrayed, when Mahony's lawyers try to use this event in months to come to try minimize the effects of their complicity (most molesters in the church are still free to abuse kids because church officials’ repeatedly chose not to report their crimes) and reduce jury verdicts for clergy sex abuse victims. That's exactly what Oakland's Catholic bishop did in recent weeks, leaving some Catholics and victims there feeling deceived and upset.

Mahony's lawyers may claim in court that today's mass is evidence that the Cardinal has "reformed" when it comes to sexual abuse. Such a cynical move, if taken, may trouble you later, and we just wanted you to be aware of this possibility.

Thank you!

SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

VOTF, Voice of the Faithful

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In the spirit of public safety, we ask that you urge Mahony to choose practical actions over symbolic events, and to truly use his immense power to make this Sunday's event truly beneficial by:

- publicly announcing the names of the at least 33 accused molesters you admitted to keeping secret in your “Report to the People of God” over two years ago. We strongly suspect that there are now more than 33 accused on that list. We urge you to disclose their names as well.

- posting and keeping the names and assignment histories of all known and suspected abusers on his archdiocesan website.

-requiring all parish priests to make known the admitted, proven, and suspected abusers who worked at their churches (through verbal pulpit announcements, parish bulletins and parish/school websites) urging victims to come forward, get help and contact law enforcement.

-posting contact information for independent self-help support groups like SNAP as well as local law enforcement contacts in all parish bulletins.

-inviting SNAP members and victims of sex abuse by clergy to speak to parishioners from the pulpit this Sunday at the cathedral and future Sundays at parishes around the archdiocese.

Carefully-crafted words, vague promises and well-planned rituals don't keep kids safe. Victims and witnesses speaking up keeps kids safe.

Great care must be taken to enable victims to find the strength, courage and hope they need to report crimes against them, despite decades of church officials’ silence and cover-ups.

If you or someone you know is a victim of clergy abuse, please know that you are not alone and that help is available.

Contact the LAPD clergy abuse hotline @ 213-847-5358

-and-

SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
(We have a confidential self-help support group of people who have been victimized by clergy)

(626) 419-2930 or mgrantsnap@earthlink.net - SNAPnetwork.org

If you are a concerned Catholic, Contact VOTF, Voice of the Faithful

We are a group of lay Catholics who want to: 1) support the abused, 2) support priests of integrity 3) shape structural change in the church.

818-917-3555 or Anchorhold@aol.com - votf.org

www.snapnetwork.org