Opinion

Letters | Abuse scandal hangs over pope’s exit

Pope’s apologies to abuse victims ring hollow

Retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony took a seat on St. Peter’s Square ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s last weekly audience on Feb. 27 at the Vatican.
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Retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony took a seat on St. Peter’s Square ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s last weekly audience on Feb. 27 at the Vatican.

appreciated Joan Vennochi’s column about Cardinal Roger Mahony (“A vote for pope, an insult to abuse victims,” Feb. 17, 2013). She captured well my sentiments; I am one of the victims to which the headline refers. However, Mahony’s role in choosing the next pope is not just an insult to victims. It is an insult to all who value accountability and justice and who cannot tolerate blatant hypocrisy.   

We hear many, including Cardinal Sean O’Malley and President Obama, praising the current pope. Many mention his apologies to abuse victims. But actions speak louder than words. The apologies ring hollow as men like Mahony and Bernard Law, men who knowingly covered up abuse by priests, hold their positions within the church. Unless and until all these men are removed and held accountable, it remains clear that the pope and church leaders do not understand the immense damage done, that they value preserving their power above all else, and that they are stunningly lacking in conscience. Or, as Vennochi suggested, they just don’t care.         

Christine M. Hickey

Everett

The writer, a clergy abuse victim, was a plaintiff in a 2003 settlement with the Boston Archdiocese.