May 26, 2005

More Than Acts of Contrition

Los Angeles Times

Sometimes, saying "I'm sorry" isn't nearly enough. The release last week of papers revealing that church leaders in Orange County concealed, denied and enabled sexual molestation by priests for decades neither brings the matter to psychological closure nor speeds healing. Instead, it should spur some church leaders to step down, while forcing others most notably, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony to finally disclose the church's complicity in the scandal.

Bishop Michael P. Driscoll, formerly a diocesan official in Orange County and now the bishop of Boise, Idaho, posted a preemptive apology on his website before the release of the papers. As The Times reported Wednesday, disagreement about whether he is redeemed or should resign has given Catholics one more thing to be divided about. In either case, church officials will have to do much more to help heal the community and they should start by releasing all documents related to the abuse cases.

The 10,000 pages of documents released by the diocese confirmed critics' worst suspicions. Bishop of Orange Tod D. Brown has been more forthright about the scandal than many of his colleagues (although it should be pointed out that these papers were released to comply with a court settlement). Mahony, in contrast, has waged an unseemly struggle to keep key personnel records from the grand jury and plaintiffs' lawyers.

Posted by kshaw at May 26, 2005 07:38 AM