Roger Mahony in Rome

06 March 2013 |permalink | email article

The Los Angeles Cardinal, in the Vatican for talks ahead of a conclave to elect a new pope to succeed Pope Benedict, has defended his record on sexual abuse in the church. But he has refused interviews in recent months with the Los Angeles Times. Instead, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, “that after 20 years. people are talking about abuse as if we have done nothing,“he told the Italian newspaper. “However, since 2002, we have had our program Protecting the Children, in which we illustrate procedures and guidelines of our zero-tolerance program of our zero-tolerance program policy that allows no possibility, for example, of anyone found guilty of abuse of minors working for the diocese.”

Mahony described his approach to abuse in earlier years, saying: “I did not understand the real nature of the problem, that abuse who commit abuse—not only in the church—continue to commit their crimes. These things were not so well understood then as they are now.” He went on to say “My rather painful mistake was not to apply the work of the Sexual Abuse Advisory Board of Los Angeles, established in 1994 , to previous cases. I was more focused on new cases. “It was an error I completely rectified in 2002.”

The cardinal made a point of saying that he would seek to share his experience of tackling abuse with fellow cardinals attending the conclave. It is unlikely he will get any hearing based on new information about prelates hiding the misdeeds of pedophile priests which has taken a toll. A new New York Times/ CBS News poll reports a higher persentage of Catholics said the pope and the Vatican had done a poor job of handling past sexual abuse recently. During Mahony’s long tenure the Los Angeles County district attorney’s never made any serious effort to call him before a special grand jury. It was a major blunder.




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