Worshippers coming to Mass in Catholic churches throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Sunday are hearing extraordinary words of apology for decades of child sexual abuse.
At every church, priests are reading a letter from Archbishop José H. Gomez that denounces the abuse as “evil” and apologized for both the molestation and for the church’s failure to expunge pedophile priests from its ranks.
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“There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children,” Gomez wrote in the letter, which was originally released Jan. 31. “The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.”
The letter that priests are reading is the same one in which Gomez late Thursday announced that he had removed his predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, from all administrative and public duties. Gomez also relieved Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry from his position as Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara.
“To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing,” Gomez wrote. “I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you.”