Posts Tagged jose gomez

The California Catholic Bishops Fight Access to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims / Marci Hamilton

At the end of July, Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez sent the following letter to the editor of California Catholic, Bob McPhail, asking him to publish Gomez’s letter encouraging parishioners to contact their state elected representatives urging them to vote against statute-of-limitations (SOL) reform for child-sex- abuse victims, by voting against Bill SB131.  The primary target of the Catholic bishops, and bishops nationwide, is this statute-of-limitations window which would open a one-year period during which those victims of clergy child sex abuse whose statutes of limitations had expired (which is the vast majority) could still file lawsuits against their abusers and those who covered up the abuse.” By Marci Hamilton, in Verdict.Justia.com

Read all of Marci Hamilton’s article by clicking here.

Marci A. Hamilton is a professor of law at Cardozo School of Law, and the author of “Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children.”

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Voice of the Faithful Urges Pope Francis to “Act Decisively” Regarding Bishops, Clergy Sexual Abuse & His Message to Vatican Congregation

Pope Francis has recommended that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse prosecutorial arm, “act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse.” Currently, three cases in the U.S. provide an opportunity to see whether decisive action also will include holding accountable bishops who fail to act when sex abuse is revealed:

  1. Newark Archbishop John Myers has allowed a priest who had admitted groping a boy to continue working with children in violation of an agreement that barred the priest from ministering to children or holding any position involving children.
  2. Retired Los Angeles archbishop Cardinal Roger Mahony, implicated in covering up clergy sexual abuse based on formerly secret archdiocesan documents, ignored a directive from present Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and has continued to preside at Confirmation and other public ceremonies.
  3. Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn remains in office despite his conviction for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Each of these bishops apparently has violated the Essential Norms of USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which have the force of canon law. In the most recent of these, although several lower-level diocesan employees have “resigned,” Bishop Myers, who several months ago had erroneously described the abusing priest in the case as having been acquitted, has not resigned.

If Pope Francis wishes to demonstrate that the Church will, at last, “act decisively” in matters of child sexual abuse, these are clear instances where he can hold accountable the bishops who fail to act in such cases. Voice of the Faithful® urges Pope Francis to call for investigations under canon law or to censure these bishops directly. He is the only person in the Church who can do so.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of concerned Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church. More information about Voice of the Faithful is available on its website by clicking here.

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Some Justice in Cardinal Mahony’s Removal from Public Ministry

Voice of the Faithful® sees some slight, long overdue justice in the recent removal of retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony from public ministry for abetting clergy sexual abuse, a first in the decades-long scandal. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez announced Mahony’s censure in a letter Jan. 31 in which he stated that, effective immediately, Mahony “would no longer have any administrative or public duties.”

Gomez also stated in his letter that he had accepted the resignation of Santa Barbara Bishop Thomas J. Curry, who as a monsignor under Mahony had discussed with him how to hide molestation of children by priests from parishioners, police and the public.

VOTF has long stressed that Church discipline of hierarchy involved in the clergy sexual scandal is absolutely necessary to show that the Church will not tolerate child sex abuse. Holding bishops accountable also is a crucial step towards renewal and healing. Although Gomez’s action appears little more than a slap on the wrist for Mahony, the move, which is likely unprecedented in Church history, does signal a move in the right direction.

But more is needed. “All secret files must be released,” said Mark Mullaney, VOTF president, “and made public before we gain closure on this deplorable piece of our Catholic fabric, which not only was stained repeatedly by abusive priests, but also—and worse—was covered up by a complicit hierarchy.”

Bishop Gomez’s action follows the release of thousands of pages of confidential Church documents on clergy sexual abuse in the Los Angeles Archdiocese containing the names of Church leaders who had covered up clergy sexual abuse of children. These names formerly had been blacked out of the documents, but the un-redacted documents were released after a judge’s order to do so.

In a letter to parishioners, Gomez calls the behavior described in the documents “terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children.” VOTF agrees.

The formerly secret documents now are being assessed for possible actions by state authorities, but many of the crimes that have come to light so far are likely to fall outside California’s statute of limitation on child sex abuse. This underscores the necessity of reforming such statutes, which VOTF and other organizations have stated repeatedly is necessary to protect children adequately from predators and bring some measure of justice to survivors.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of concerned mainstream Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at http://www.votf.org.

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