Church’s hush money

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Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Catholic Church recently announced that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will pay $660 million to settle lawsuits against members of his clergy. They are accused of sexually abusing children in their parishes, often repeatedly, and always in secret.

Catholics may want to remember that on Sunday. Should money put in the collection plate be spent to cover up allegations of wrongdoing within the church?

The clergy accused of abusing children continue to work in their positions within the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Mahony and his cronies clearly thought they could throw “hush money” at the serious allegations against them and make it all go away. I think this will prove to be a very expensive mistake.

Survivors of child sexual abuse are speaking up, telling their stories – difficult stories to hear, but true.

The reality is that priests, family members and other trusted adults sometimes take advantage of innocent children in the worst way possible. Those crimes are real. Victims of sexual abuse are scarred and impaired, just as surely as if they had been viciously attacked on the streets or maimed by a drunken driver. The only way to stop the abuse is to get it out in the open and believe what these survivors are telling us.

Cardinal Mahony should be ashamed for trying to silence people who have suffered at the hands of the clergy. That is no way to serve God and the people.

Mary Karren-Landry, Poland

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