...“Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem,” Mahony wrote. In studying for his master’s degree in social work, he said, no lecture or textbook ever referred to the sexual abuse of children.
There is, of course, some truth to the “we didn’t know” defense. Few knew, years ago, the seriousness of the disease borne by those who molest children. Much of it remains a mystery today.
But the “we didn’t know” defense quickly wears thin against the details contained in the 12,000 pages of documents recently released by the court in Los Angeles . . .The documents put the lie to the “we didn’t know” defense.
. . .They knew enough to understand they had to hide the crimes and the behavior if they didn’t want to besmirch the good name of the clergy culture. Consideration of what was happening to the abused children and their families was incidental, at best.
What Mahony and others. . . really didn’t understand was the degree to which their moral compasses had been distorted by the strong magnetic pull of the clergy culture. In their fierce allegiance to that exclusive club at all costs, in their willingness to preserve the façade of holiness and the faithful’s high notion of ordination, they lost sight of simple human decency and the most fundamental demands of the Gospel.