Tales of Tragedy Told: Archdiocese of LA Releases Files

The news hit in a big way last night. 

It wasn’t a surprise in any way. We know it’s been brewing for years, and what came out last night in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is simply another chapter in a tragedy that’s been unfolding before our eyes. If you’re one of the few who doesn’t know the details of Archbishop Gomez’ release of documents from the abuse scandals and his personal letter, Rocco’s got the best rundown I’ve seen. I’d encourage you to read the full letter by Archbishop Gomez and to look personally at the files released by the Archdiocese.

Catholic bloggers — and indeed anyone who calls themselves “Catholic” — are left to ponder what we can possibly add to the conversation, but more importantly how we pick up the pieces and serve the victims. For me, this tragedy hits home personally. I grew up in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and was educated in her Catholic schools. Along with reading the official statement, I spent the past hour reading the official file of a pedophile priest who served my family parish, someone who was indeed quite close to our family.

Of course this story is not a surprise to me — I’ve watched it play out over the years and end in multiple tragedies for several of the players involved. But reading the official documents, even with names redacted to protect the innocent and the victims, brought me a feeling of nausea so tangible that I had to finally close them and step away. I simply can’t fathom how the abused — those upon whom such horrible acts were perpetrated — must be feeling today. Surely there is a sense of vindication for them, and yet their tales of tragedy — opened fully for perhaps the first time and set on public display — must undoubtedly reopen terrible wounds that have been festering for such a very long time.

So I ask myself today, how do we move forward without ever forgetting? How do we serve those broken-hearted souls who were so tragically victimized by the very institution they likely most trusted? How do weyou and Iassure restitution, healing and change?

Today, I don’t have any answers, only tears, grief, and prayers.

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com.

  • Oregon Catholic

    Well, I think the first thing Catholics can do to show solidarity with the victims is by rejecting a leadership that fought to keep the names of the hierarchy involved secret and still considers Mahoney to be a priest in “good-standing”.

    I refuse to read the files. I couldn’t take it.

  • http://www.bede.org Stefanie

    Lisa, thanks for this — I was up until 1 a.m. this morning, weeping and praying the rosary. today has been one long prayer and weeping and prayer and weeping. Tomorrow, I make a presentation on the Sacrament of Confession for our 2nd grade parents. The irony has not escaped me and I can’t focus on that presentation..which is basically of Isaac and Essau and the story of the Prodigal Son. I am feeling too much like the elder brother and can’t seem to move past it yet.
    I would wish for Holy Mass to be said in penance every Friday here at the cathedral at the hour of Divine Mercy — at the hour of 3 p.m. As a Catholic, I long for it, really.

  • Pingback: Yes, Mahony is right. He is also so very, very wrong.

  • denise

    I have been sadder today than I was when this first happened. I am glad to know I am not the only one. There are no words, but I feel better knowing I am not alone. Love your closing line, my sentiments exactly.