In what is apparently a response to Archbishop Jose Gomez’s letter to the faithful, Cardinal Roger Mahony today posted on his blog a letter he sent to Gomez concerning the “historical evolution of dealing with the sexual abuse of minors.” Gomez’s letter, published yesterday, acknowledged failures on the part of the archdiocesan leadership in the handling of clergy sex abuse, and announced that Cardinal Mahony, who led the diocese from 1985 to 2011 and is currently archbishop emeritus, would “no longer have any administrative or public duties.”
Mahony’s letter makes no mention of Gomez’s letter or of the archbishop’s decision regarding Mahony’s responsibilities within the archdiocese. Starting with the admission, “Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem,” Mahony gives an account of the measures taken by the archdiocese regarding clergy abuse from the 1980s to the end of his tenure as archbishop. He also states that Gomez, after being apprised of the way in which abuse had been handled, did not “raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors” when he took over as head of the archdiocese.
Mahony’s letter concludes:
I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s. I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone.
Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then. But when I retired as the active Archbishop, I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth.
With every best wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles