Though they’ve been available for a while, I just got around to skimming over the sex abuse files the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was ordered to make public last year. There’s quite a lot of redacted gibberish and illegible handwriting, but what’s clear and intelligible is nothing short of infuriating.
Here’s a gem I stumbled across this morning:
Your Eminence, whatever motive the accuser might have, should we not be equally concerned for the reputation and the peace of mind of the accused, and so lay the whole matter to rest? After all, if the accuser “wants to place this matter behind him,” and if all he wants is to let church officials know of this relationship so that the accused “will not harm any other young men in similar fashion,” there is nothing more the accuser has to worry about. The accused is doing splendidly in the Priesthood. His behavior towards boys and young men is above reproach. He has a good public image. He performs his other duties to the admiration of many.
I honestly do not see any benefit to anybody if this matter is brought to court. Both litigants will be subjected to verbal abuse by the opposing lawyers. The media will have a field day. Whatever will be the outcome at the end, the same and the humiliation to both litigants will leave them badly scarred the rest of their lives.
The scandal-mongering media have done a lot of damage to the Church lately. I would not want us play right into their hands or give them a free ride at our expense.
Thus wrote the Most Rev. Jesus Y. Varela, then-Bishop of Sorsogon, when then-Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Roger Mahony suggested he consider forcing a Filipino priest accused of molestation in the United States to return to Los Angeles to accept his punishment should be formally charged.
Couldn’t have that, though. Wouldn’t want to give the media a free ride. Priorities, priorities…