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PRIEST SEXUAL ABUSE: CATHOLIC CHURCH POINTS THEIR FINGER

It is amazing to me that the Catholic Church, on the heels of a $660 million settlement by the Los Angeles Archdiocese, would attempt to mitigate blame by pointing their finger at others.

According to a Reuters' Report, The Vatican, through its chief spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi said, "Sexual abuse of children is not just a Catholic Church problem and other institutions should take steps to acknowledge and deal with such 'wickedness' within their own ranks."

The Vatican's chief spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, also said the record $660 million settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and victims of sexual abuse was an attempt to "close a painful chapter and look forward".

"The Church is above all clearly pained by the suffering of the victims and their families, by the deep wounds caused by the grave and inexcusable behavior of some of its members," Lombardi said.

"It has decided to commit itself in every way to avoid a repetition of such wickedness," he said, adding that the Church now had a "a policy of prevention and creation of an ever more secure atmosphere for children and young people in all aspects of (its) pastoral programs".

What makes this shocking is that this "attack" posture has been part of the Los Angeles Archdiocese defense for all the years it sought to deny the authorities access to priest's personnel records and other materials which are said to allegedly implicate Cardinal Roger Mahony in a scheme to move abusive priests quietly to different parishes even though the archbishop apparently knew they were abusers of children. Even after they abused again, they were shuffled around without warnings being given to the authorities or the parish members.

This settlement comes on the eve of jury selection for the first trial which would have forced the Cardinal to describe the circumstances under which priests were protected from the law during his service to the Church.

Considering that this is the only Church that is scheduled to pay, with legal costs and other abuse-related expenses approximately $1 billion dollars, it still is shocking that the Church would point their fingers at others. Or as my Mother used to say, two "wrongs" don't make a "right."

Questions remain: Why has this particular Cardinal been treated differently than Boston's archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign in disgrace in December 2002, but later given a position of honor in Rome? Is this single Cardinal worth a billion dollars to protect against having to testify -- or is the Church hiding something much worse? Or is it possible that the fluent-Spanish speaking Cardinal's past efforts fighting for open borders and for the rights of illegal aliens will allow the Church to move Mahony away from further prosecution and depositions to a respected position in Mexico or Latin America?

What can YOU do?

Demand the authorities follow-up and prosecute all instances of child abuse, especially those acting under the color of authority.

Demand that Mahony be charged with "obstruction of justice" to give him a forum to fully and completely testify in his own behalf. Perhaps there are mitigating circumstances which may clear him of any wrongdoing.

Do not hold the actions of a few bad priests against those who are actually doing good work by ministering to those who are troubled and less fortunate than others.

Do not confuse "finger pointing at others" to be a mitigating factor when serious crimes against children have been committed.

Do not re-elect those who shirk their official duties and fail to investigate the privileged, the powerful or those who preach from a pulpit to large audiences.

-- steve

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