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Catholic archbishop stripped of Los Angeles duties over abuse revelations

By | Last updated: Feb 8, 2013 - 11:59:57 AM

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LOS ANGELES - A clergy abuse victim group is not satisfied with actions taken by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles against Cardinal Roger Mahony after the release of files showing his role in trying to protect the church from molestation scandals.

Archbishop Jose Gomez late Jan. 31 announced that his predecessor, Cardinal Mahony, will no longer have any administrative or public duties.

Standing Feb. 1 in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a regional director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called that “window dressing.”

Joelle Casteix says the move is only symbolic, and Cardinal Mahony is still a powerful man in Rome and Los Angeles.

Cardinal Mahony has repeatedly publicly apologized for mistakes he made in dealing with priests who molested children. He retired in 2011.

Cardinal Mahony, who retired with a tainted career after dodging criminal charges over how he handled pedophile priests, was stripped of his archdiocese duties in an unprecedented move by his successor, who described the actions by abusive priests in the files as evil.

It wasn’t clear whether the Vatican supported Archbishop Gomez’s decision to publicly criticize a fellow priest and colleague. The announcement was seen as long overdue by victims and surprising to church experts who said it was unusual for an archbishop to take action against a higher up.

The move came as the church was legally forced to release thousands of confidential files on pedophile priests—and two weeks after other long-secret priest personnel records showed Cardinal Mahony worked with top aides to protect the church from the engulfing scandal.

It didn’t appear that Cardinal Gomez’s actions would affect Mahony’s position in Rome, where he can remain for another four years on a counsel that selects the Pope.

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