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Archbishop letter on sex abuse read at LA churches

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm •  Published: February 3, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Roman Catholic parishioners in the Los Angeles area heard a letter from Archbishop Jose Gomez in which he described newly released files on clergy sex abuse as "terribly sad and evil."

Church leaders read the archbishop's words at Sunday Mass across the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which extends into Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/YuH4rb). The letter, addressed to "My brothers and sisters in Christ," was made public last week.

Gomez said the church needs to acknowledge the "terrible failure" of its handling of abuse cases.

At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, parishioner Eric Nielsen praised Gomez for addressing the issue in such a prominent way.

"I take my hat off to the archbishop," said Nielsen, 52. "He got on the ball and did what needed to be done."

But Nielsen told the Times he would probably stop attending the church, where he's worshipped since 1981, because he was upset by the child abuse scandal.

"It's a shame," he said.

On Thursday, Gomez stripped his predecessor Cardinal Roger Mahony of his administrative duties for failing to take swift action against abusive priests.

In a letter posted on his personal blog Friday, Mahony challenged Gomez for publicly shaming him and said he developed policies to safeguard children after taking over in 1985, despite being unequipped to deal with the molester priests he inherited.

Mahony had apologized two weeks ago after another release of similar files showed he and other top aides worked behind the scenes to protect the church from the growing scandal, keep offending clerics out of state and preventing public disclosure of sex crimes committed by priests.

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