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As part of its campaign to persuade Cardinal Roger Mahony to withdraw as a speaker at Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (March 22-24), Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. urged the Cardinal to read the testimony of survivors posted on the Institute’s blog, Tell Ruth the Truth.
“There Cardinal Mahony will read horrifying accounts of those victimized by priests, among other predators. One woman said it’s been close to 20 years since she was repeatedly raped by a parish priest as a teenager. She suffers from PTSD and still has occasional flashbacks,” Morse disclosed.
“Though she remains a loyal Catholic, she relates that ‘to this day, looking at the white collar that priests wear sometimes causes anxiety.’ How much more so when Cardinal Mahony (head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011) speaks at a Catholic educational conference where he will interact with young people,” Morse explained.
Dr. Morse emphasized: “Even if the perpetrator was not a priest, the seeming indifference of Church leaders triggers painful memories for childhood sex abuse survivors. These people should be able to attend a religious education gathering without being triggered by the insensitivity of the Church, exemplified by Cardinal Mahony’s presence at the podium.”
Despite an online petition and other appeals, Cardinal Mahony still seems determined to speak at the Congress. A statement released by the L.A. archdiocesan communications director says the Cardinal has “apologized for mistakes of the past.”
Morse responded, “Cardinal Mahony is not acting like a man who is sorry. To call what these victims of clerical sex abuse endured ‘mistakes of the past,’ is insulting to the point of being borderline obscene.”
Another victim whose testimony is posted on the Ruth blog writes: “To Cardinal Mahony, I’d like to say, humble yourself, be honest about the past, and repent, both publicly and privately. Don’t make things worse by speaking from a place of authority because you’ve lost the credibility necessary.”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit, inter-faith organization dedicated to fighting the Sexual Revolution and helping survivors to heal. It defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same.
To sign the petition asking that Cardinal Mahony withdraw from the L.A. Congress, go here.