The calendar year opens today with simultaneous court appearances by two of the largest Roman Catholic Archdioceses: Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
In Philly, jury selection begins in the criminal trials of priests accused of sodomy and child sexual abuse. These cases will continue to expose the “omissions” of Cardinals Anthony Bevilacqua and Justin Rigali.
In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press will argue for the release of unredacted secret personnel documents of priests and bishops accused of sodomy, rape and sexual abuse of minors. These documents expose the “acts of commission” by Cardinals Manning, Mahony and Levada.
This opportunity in L.A. for public accountability does not come twice in a lifetime. The Cardinals’ fingerprints are on these documents. If produced unsanitzed, they peel back the thin, sacred veneer covering the Cardinals’ business practices.
Not since Judge Sweeney ordered Boston’s Cardinal Law to turn over the documents in 2001 have we been at such a crossroads for child protection.
It is a tragic hour in some ways—that hour when the hierarchy is driven to reckon with themselves. When every avenue of procedural distraction has been cut off and when documents are produced that these men penned that prove their acts of omission and commission and how they protected their own reputations over the safety of children.