A Los Angeles cardinal was stripped of his
duties Thursday after the church released documents showing that he
shielded priests who abused children from investigation, a report
Cardinal Roger M Mahony, who was archbishop of Los Angeles until 2011, was relieved of his remaining administrative and public duties, his successor Jose H Gomez was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times.
The church tried for years to suppress documents dating from the 1940s to the present that show it attempted to thwart police investigations into allegations of abuse, the report said.
It was compelled by a court order to release the documents Thursday.
"I find these files to be brutal and painful reading," Gomez said in a statement. "The behaviour described in these files is terribly sad and evil," he said, before apologizing to the victims.
"There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed."
One of the documents was a letter written by a priest in the 1980s on how to stop police investigations of clergy accused of abusing children.
Its author Thomas Curry, who acted as an advisor to Mahony over the allegations, went on to become Bishop of Santa Barbara, and has now resigned from that position, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The released documents were part of a 660-million-dollar settlement with abuse victims reached in 2007. The church tried to keep the names of the top officials secret until this week.
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