The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
LA Archbishop Takes Action on Child Abuse

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez has stripped both Cardinal Roger Mahony and his top aide Thomas Curry of their public and administrative responsibilities. The WSJ reports on this long-overdue act of leadership from a senior Catholic official:

Cardinal Mahony was a well-known figure in Los Angeles who had led the diocese as archbishop from 1985 until his retirement in 2011. His removal from public duties came on the heels of a previous document release that showed he and other church officials allegedly attempting to keep priests accused of abuse from prosecution. . . .

“There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.”

Archbishop Gomez addressed an apology directly to victims: “To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you.”

For many Catholics the clergy’s efforts to cover up such terrible crimes made the sex abuse crisis all the more unbearable. The Church leadership has since redoubled efforts to protect children, but this kind of high-profile punishment of senior clergy complicit in the abuse has been rare. The Church still has a ways to go to repair the breach with its faithful, but decisive action like this is an important part of the process.

Published on February 1, 2013 2:33 pm