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Names will be clear in abuse documents - Los Angeles

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 31st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The release of some 30,000 pages of church records related to the abuse of children by priests in the Los Angeles archdiocese will be delayed by days to months as a judge orders those records also show the names of those involved.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Attorneys for the church originally proposed redacting the names of many church officials mentioned in the documents, then backtracked under judicial pressure. "Those names ought to be included," Judge Emilie Elias told lawyers.

Until now, the church planned to submit the documents with many names redacted. However, attorneys requesting the documents as part of an ongoing civil case against the archdiocese want the names to be revealed in the interest of public safety.

Some of the priests named in the documents may still be serving, although many may have been removed or retired, or passed away by now. The documents are specific to abuse cases in the 1980s.

The church has been ordered to release the documents since 2007, but has only now prepared to comply after fighting the decision in court.

An attorney for the archdiocese has now said "the names will be clearly legible, every one of them."

It seems the primary concern for the archdiocese has been to protect those involved in these cases as well as the church itself, from further humiliation and hardship as a result of incidents of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Unfortunately, justice demands the perpetrators be named and although many are beyond criminal justice, civil liability remains. Restitution for the victims must be paid as fair penance for the wrongdoings of church officials.

It is further required to ensure the church takes every measure to protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of the flock.

Presently, both the Holy Father and church officials in the United States have made it clear that such failings will not be repeated. Current church guidelines require immediate reporting to law enforcement any allegations of abuse.

The church has a sacred duty to do all it can to protect, both spiritually and physically, those who come to her in need. It is hoped that the outcome of the current case, although painful, will ensure the church holds faithful to that mission.

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