When is zero-tolerance and full disclosure not either one?

When is zero-tolerance and full disclosure not either one?

The Los Angeles archdiocese says, “We’ve revealed all cases of sexual abuse by priests and now have a zero-tolerance policy.”

The Los Angeles Times says, “Um, what about these 11 priests?”

The archdiocese gives a Clintonian definition of the meaning of the word “is”.

In a letter accompanying the 2004 People of God report, Mahony said the report provided the “fullest possible disclosure” of how the church responded to allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the decades before he arrived in 1985 and since.

... “What Cardinal Mahony meant at that time by ‘zero tolerance’ was that henceforward any priest with a contemporaneous, proven report of child sexual abuse would be removed,” the archdiocese spokesman said. “In other words, zero tolerance for any new allegations of abuse arising in 1992 or after. This standard did not include boundary violations or decades-old allegations of abuse.”

And so what is a “boundary violation”? It depends on the circumstances, evidently. An attorney for the archdiocese says they are nonsexual, covering such “crimes” as a priest walking with his arm around a child’s shoulders, but in reality it has been used to cover all kinds of behavior and is generally regarded by most people as sexual contact that is either criminal or non-criminal (i.e. with a consenting adult.)

What he have is Cardinal Roger Mahony being caught—once again!—lying to the public and to victims and to the laity about the cover up of abuse by priests under his charge. The coming legal firestorm is going to be very damaging to the Church in southern California, but it is very much needed to make the body healthy again, like the amputation of a gangrenous leg.

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