LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony says in a blog post that he wasn't equipped to handle the clergy sex abuse cases that confronted him when he took over as head of the Los Angeles archdiocese in 1985.
Mahony said Friday he worked quickly to develop policies for dealing with sexually abusive priests and sought the advice of other bishops around the country.
Mahony's successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez, on Thursday stripped the cardinal of his public and administrative duties as the archdiocese released thousands of pages of personnel files for priests accused of abuse.
Mahony says he left the archdiocese a much safer place when he retired in 2011 and says Gomez became well aware of those efforts when he arrived two years ago.
A judge has ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to turn over 30,000 pages from the confidential files of priests accused of sex abuse without blacking out the names of top church officials who were responsible for handling their cases.
Judge Emilie Elias on Thursday ordered the nation's largest archdiocese to release the files by Feb. 22.
A record-breaking $660 million settlement with more than 500 victims in 2007 set the stage for the release of the files, but the archdiocese and individual priests fought for five years to keep them secret.
The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times went to court in January because the church had blacked out the names of church leaders who made key decisions about sexually abusive priests.
My brothers and sisters in Christ,
This week we are releasing the files of priests who sexually abused children while they were serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
These files document abuses that happened decades ago. But that does not make them less serious.
I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.
We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today. We need to pray for everyone who has ever been hurt by members of the Church. And we need to continue to support the long and painful process of healing their wounds and restoring the trust that was broken.
I cannot undo the failings of the past that we find in these pages. Reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused, has been the saddest experience I've had since becoming your Archbishop in 2011.
My predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care. Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the 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. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you.
To every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I want you to know: We will continue, as we have for many years now, to immediately report every credible allegation of abuse to law enforcement authorities and to remove those credibly accused from ministry. We will continue to work, every day, to make sure that our children are safe and loved and cared for in our parishes, schools and in every ministry in the Archdiocese.
In the weeks ahead, I will address all of these matters in greater detail. Today is a time for prayer and reflection and deep compassion for the victims of child sexual abuse.
I entrust all of us and our children and families to the tender care and protection of our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of the Angels.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
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