Letters: Cardinal Mahony's sins

Re "A path to upheaval," Dec. 1, and "Into the light," Dec. 2

As a survivor of child sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest in Los Angeles, I have mixed feelings about the articles on Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles who went to great lengths to prevent priests accused of assault from being turned over to police.

On the one hand, I'm grateful that you are revealing Mahony's shameful acts. On the other, I, like other victims, am re-victimized every time these articles appear. The public is slowly being fed the facts that we victims have known since the early 2000s.

I am one of the victims who met with Mahony, and I wouldn't allow him to speak as I made him listen to how he has ruined so many innocent lives. I am angry at my abuser, but even more angry at church leaders such as Mahony who allowed the abuse to continue.

I continue to struggle to put my life together more than 40 years since I was abused, and I would appreciate some acknowledgment of the difficulties we survivors face daily.

Mark Gauer


The Times' incisive series on the Roman Catholic Church's sex-abuse scandal in Southern California doubtless will be deemed overkill by some. Pay them no mind, as they surely haven't witnessed the trial testimony of a traumatized child molestation victim or the post-conviction sentencing statement of anguished parents.

As a career county prosecutor, I repeatedly heard heart-rending testimony telling of the unthinkable, irremediable harm done to young lives by child molesters.

Moving attestation to such harm appears from Mahony's meeting with a man whom then-Father Michael Baker had molested as a child. The man, answering the cardinal's query about how the church might help repair a life utterly ruined, replied that he wanted his childhood back.

If The Times' articles serve to secure the childhood of just one would-be molestation victim — as I'm certain they will — then it's not journalistic overkill. Rather, it's responsible reporting.

Edward Alston

Santa Maria

As a victim of child abuse at age 7 by Father George Neville Rucker in 1947, I am aware of the cover-up and betrayal caused by Mahony.

Many of us may be guilty bystanders, dismissing, protecting, turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the most devastating era and tragedy of the Catholic Church: priest sexual abuse of children and cover-ups.

Even our present Pope Francis, hailed for his love of the poor and preaching the gospel, has said very little to the victims of priest abuse.

In my opinion, as long as Mahony remains a "priest in good standing" and Francis and the community avoid addressing the issue of priest abuse, the church remains in serious trouble.

Mary Dispenza

Bellevue, Wash.

Mahony would have us believe that under him the Los Angeles archdiocese was "second to none" in protecting children and youth.

This from the man who spent years dissuading victims and their parents from going to the police and shielding pedophile priests, who was uncooperative with authorities, lied by omission to his parishioners and the public, and spent millions on lawyers and public relations. Clearly, there's a disconnect here.

Mahony may never face justice in this life, but he will have a lot to answer for when he meets his maker.

Teresa Pietrasanta

Oak Park


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