Catholic sex scandal addressed during mass; parishioners respond


A letter from Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, which was made public Thursday, was read during services at all L.A. churches. In the letter, Gomez expressed his sadness and disappointment about the scandal and the sex abuse files released this past week.

"These files document abuses that happened decades ago. But that does not make them less serious," Gomez says in the letter. "I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed."

In the letter, the archbishop announced that retired Cardinal Roger Mahony no longer had any administrative or public duties.

For some congregation members, Sunday's address was too little, too late.

"The damage is done, so as much as he talks about it, I don't think that it's going to do any good anymore," said churchgoer Esther Cysneros.

More than 12,000 pages of documents concerning 124 priests were released on Thursday, and another 14 cases were released earlier.

In response, Mahony says he wasn't equipped to handle the sex abuse cases that confronted him when he took over as head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 1985.

Mahony said in a letter posted on his personal blog, "Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem."

The documents showed that in the 1980s, Mahony and others tried to hide some of the sexual abuse cases. Mahony says he dealt with priests accused of molesting children by removing them from parishes and shipping them off to treatment centers. He said that's what diocese across the country did back then.

To see the clergy files, visit

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