October 16, 2005

To begin healing, archdiocese must hold back nothing

Daily Bulletin

In the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation, three conditions must be met for a confession to be valid: The penitent must be truly sorry, must hold back nothing and must be willing to do penance to rectify the situation.

These three conditions would seem to be a good standard by which to evaluate Cardinal Roger Mahony’s latest ‘‘confession” – his release of records documenting the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ handling of priestly sexual-abuse cases over the course of decades.

And by these standards, Mahony falls far short of what’s needed to reconcile with the people wronged by the archdiocese’s shameful protection of predator priests.

Mahony says he is truly sorry, and charity says we should take him at his word. But he’s done a poor job of expressing his contrition.

This month the cardinal sent a letter to 1,200 archdiocesan priests apologizing for his handling of defrocked priest Michael Baker, who for years preyed on children while he was shuffled from parish to parish. But why apologize merely to priests and not directly to the families and other faithful scandalized and harmed by these actions?

Posted by kshaw at October 16, 2005 10:04 AM