Bishop Thomas Curry stepping down is a small, belated step in the right direction, though it's obviously only being done because the horrific extent of his complicity is about to become publicly known. He should have been fired long ago.
Several bishops across the globe have stepped down when their reckless, callous and deceitful actions in clergy sex cases has become known. It should happen far more often. But it would be much more powerful if the Pope and other high ranking church officials would actually force their corrupt colleagues out.
Hand-slapping Mahony is a nearly meaningless gesture. When he had real power, and abused it horribly, he should have been demoted or disciplined by the church hierarchy, in Rome and in the US. But not a single Catholic cleric anywhere had the courage to even denounce him. Shame on them.
The lesson here for Catholic staff is clear: if you successfully conceal your wrongdoing, you can keep your job. If, however, you fail, there's an extraordinarily slim chance you might experience some slight consequences. The bottom line: this will make some LA Catholics feel better for now. But in the big picture, it really won't discourage a single Catholic employee from acting irresponsibly.
Statement by Los Angeles SNAP leader Esther Hatfield of Huntington Beach CA
The posting of this information by LA Catholic officials is a public relations gambit to divert attention from years and years of deception about pedophile priests and children’s safety. They’ll posture as "transparent." But that will be a desperate and laughable ruse.
In truth, LA church officials – including Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Bishop Thomas Curry and others - have relentlessly and expensively and successfully fought for years to keep these horrific secrets secret.
It's ludicrous for Mahony, Gomez and Curry to claim to be "forthcoming" with records they've successfully kept hidden for decades, using millions of dollars from generous parishioners to pay high prices lawyers to obstruct disclosures.
We hope citizens and Catholics will read these records. We especially hope that they will seek out independent, user-friendly sources, like BishopAccountability.org (where the documents will be posted in a user-friendly way, with tabs and the ability to find specific quotations, cases, concerns, etc.)
And we hope we won’t see headlines like “Archdiocese releases records.” That suggests this is a voluntary move. And that’s wrong. Headlines should read, and Catholics and citizens should understand, that “Years late, victims force Catholic hierarchy to disgorge records.”
LA citizens and Catholics should be very grateful to the extraordinarily brave victims whose compassion for the vulnerable and insistence on the truth have made this historic day possible.
When I experienced my flashback in the fall of 2001 I was totally unaware of what was brewing in Boston. While I am a Boston priest, I had served in the USN as a chaplain and had retired in 1997. I chose NOT to return to Boston — I did not know exactly why, but I knew I was not comfortable there. What kept me from returning was the slow realization that I had been raped.
The theology training I had received in the seminary has me “intimately” associated with the hierarchy. Theologically I am an “extension of” the bishop (or apostle.) In essence I am one of them in that I represent all that they say and do. After my flashback I went into counseling. I struggled to remain in ministry but it was becoming harder and harder. Each day that I read about Mahony’s antics in the courtroom trying to evade the release of information or documents pushed me into a corner. I could no longer represent the bishops. I could no longer be a part of their conspiracy, their deception, their cruelty.
In November 2005 I contacted the Archdiocese of Boston and requested “retirement.” I flew to Boston to meet with Bishop Lennon and within fifteen minutes was granted medical leave. I never did hear from O’Malley. I thought, surely, a priest struggling with remaining in active ministry would be worth a few minutes of his time – but that did not happen. I was scheduled to leave my assignment as chaplain at the Washington Hospital Center on 1 June 2006. On Tuesday of Holy Week I made the announcement at noon Mass in the chapel, and I explained “why” I would be leaving. Within hours I was reported to the Diocese of Washington and I was IMMEDIATELY relieved of my faculties, in short, I WAS FIRED for speaking the truth. Emotionally they had me back on that bed in August 1970 as I was being raped.
And so, thanks to the likes of Mahony, George, Todd, Brown and all the others, I languish outside of Ministry that I so enjoyed. As I said earlier, this “banishment” of Mahony is too little, too late. Now, had the vatican stripped him of the title “Cardinal” I MIGHT have a different attitude – but then, what about all the others??