California bishops respond to recent scandals

Bishop Vann and Archbishop Gomez call for purification of Church

Bishop Kevin Vann (image from OC Catholic)

Editor’s Note: The following reflection from Bishop Kevin Vann was written and submitted to OC Catholic newspaper on Wednesday, August 15, the feast day of the Assumption of Our Lady. 

My dear sisters and brothers in the Lord,

It is with the utmost sorrow that I write to you in this time of great scandal and tribulation in our Church. Many people in leadership, particularly among the episcopacy, have failed the people of God. There can be no ambiguity about this.

The release of the Pennsylvania’s Grand Jury report yesterday confirms that we who lead the Church have a great responsibility to take action against a predation that can only be called satanic.

In light of the revelations surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, not to mention the situations in Honduras and Chile, I now know that the review process needs to be expanded to include claims from seminarians and priests so that they, too, are protected from sexual abuse by those in power. Additionally, I will review our process with my leadership team to confirm that it is as robust as possible.

A competent independent national investigative body comprised of qualified professionals needs to be created so that if we have systemic issues within our Church, they can be thoroughly reviewed and addressed. I pledge my support to this and will allocate diocesan funds for this purpose.

In this difficult time, please join with me to pray that our Church be purified, that all the people who have been wounded by abuse on the part of the clergy experience healing, and that I, along with the rest of Church leadership, act with wisdom, courage, and humility to fulfill the office that the Lord has entrusted to us.

Bishop Kevin W. Vann

Full text of letter at OC Catholic.

Los Angeles archbishop acknowledges “this is a sad and confusing time for the Church in this country”:

Archbishop José H. Gomez preaches at the Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15. (image: Victor Aleman)

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez urged the faithful to turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary to “purify the Church” amid recent revelations of sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church during a Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary.

“This is a time now for prayer and repentance and a time for examining our conscience, especially for those of us who are bishops and priests,” he said in his homily Wednesday afternoon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

“As we gather to pray today, we are aware that this is a sad and confusing time for the Church in this country. In recent days and weeks, we have heard new revelations about sin and abuse in the Church.

“All of us need to pray for every person who has been hurt by the Church, and we need to work to help them heal,” said the archbishop.

Full story at Angelus News.

More statements from California bishops:


  1. All statements carefully vetted by lawyers and H.R. directors.

  2. This is a good start. I would suggest, however, that the priest be defrocked the first time he violates his vow of celibacy. Sacramental forgiveness of his sin should depend upon his volunteering to be defrocked. That is a hard standard, I know, but priests are called to a hard standard. We, the lay faithful, have a right to holy priests. The crux of the matter is that priests (and bishops and cardinals) have not been holy. That is how they have betrayed us and why we are indignant. And yet, ironically, they are what we deserve. Our righteousness is false because we ourselves, the laity, have left the Church’s teachings. God’s justice has given us over now to shepherds befitting our birth control, fornication, and pornography.


    JUST REPORTED ELSEWHERE—-Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has invited the Vatican to send an Apostolic Visitation team to dig into clerical sexual abuse in the entire USA. THREE CHEERS! Put NO American hierarchs on the visitation team. And I’d advise everyone to keep their mind open until we see how honest the visitation is, and what it finds. Don’t fire just yet; but, dammit, keep the weapons handy and your powder dry!

    • Steve Seitz says

      I have two comments:

      We also need a lay panel to investigate the integrity of the apostolic visitation team.

      We need another team that will perform a similar investigation of the Vatican.

    • Mary McCurry says

      Vatican visitation? Who should visit the Vatican? We should not delude ourselves or anyone else that this scandal in American. It is the WORLD WIDE Institutional church!! Sad, yes but there is no reliable body in place now to trust. Certainly not from the Vatican and not anyone appointed by Pope Francis. It is too soon now anyway. We need more time to allow more findings to come to light. We need to focus on the path to truth to get closer to TRUTH Himself. We must walk the talk and becomes beacons of Christ as lay men and women as well as clergy and religious. Resist the overly simple solutions that will only backfire and feed the bottomless stomach of Satan. Prudence, caution, fervor in holiness must guide our responses. By…

  4. Really!!! This is so ho hum. There should be anger from the Bishops about what has happened in the Church.
    There should be calls for reparation prayers for the victims and to Jesus. There should be ashes and falling down before the Eucharist. There should be special masses and rosaries and carrying of crosses for penance. The mind boggling harm done to altar servers, seminarians and the young is astounding. There is no private sin. Why aren’t the cries from heaven being heard and the incensed parishioners acknowledged.

  5. They can take a very concrete, public and decisive act right now without any committees or focus groups or anything. The California bishops can follow the lead of Cardinal O’Malley and immediately announce a no holds barred, transparent and independent investigation of all seminaries in the state for activities contrary to the faith/priesthood. They can start with Menlo Park and Berkeley.
    Enough of the public statements of sorrow, shame and anger. We know. We are too. Now do something.

    • Mary McCurry says

      St Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park is already well underway in its reform. Solid leadership has quietly replaced the rocky past thanks to the holy and faithful Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. Let us not in our anger and fervor to drain the swamp the baby out with the bathwater!!

  6. I don’t want to see any more statements, studies, committees, and panels. I want to see perp walks. Show me the perp walks!!!!!

  7. Useless. Will these dioceses voluntarily turn over their secret archives to their local district attorneys for review? I am guessing not.

    • Lou Varini says

      Right you are. According to an aryocle in Church Militant, Cdl. Wuerl has already “lawyered-up” by engaging thr Jones Day law firm. More squandering of the Church’s patrimony.

  8. The silence of the Bishops throughout the state makes them complicit in the actions of the 300+ priests in PA. Where is the judgment of the Bishops with secret files? Where is the scorn for the Cardinal who carried on the actions of former Bishops? Where is the… Well, forget about it. We will not see any change in how they protect the institution rather than ask for mercy for the way children were treated by priests and bishops. In the very least, any bishop who knew of any priest who molested children and didn’t report it to the police should resign from office. My suspicion is that all 250 of them should resign. What do you think?

    • You are right on this one Bob One, I can’t believe I agree with you. The entire USCCB should fold completely and half of these creeps put in prison. They have failed Christ, His Church and the Faithful

  9. St. Christopher says

    Yes, “FrMichael,” it is indeed “useless.” Both bishops Vann and Gomez have been disappointments:Gomez for his slavering love of the Liberal in liturgy, the teaching of the Faith, and a focus on trying to show the faithful how to attain Heaven. Vann loves the banal and the Protestant. Don’t look for much Traditional Catholicism here, mostly “Crystal Cathedral” Catholic Lite.

    Only one way works: make the homosexuals self-profess and can them all. Further, stop homosexuals from entering the seminaries. Finally, return to Traditional Catholicism. That is the rub.

  10. Linda Gusch says

    Priest Celibacy needs to end. There is NO reason for it.

    If priests had wives they would have no need to seek out sex from altar boys, children in schols, etc. They have been easy targets to relieve their sexual tensions.

    • Single sexually healthy Straight men do not seek out sex from Children, being married has ZERO to do with it. We need Holy Priests Not Married ones

    • So the purpose of a wife is to be a push button sex machine. What an interesting idea.

    • Most are gay! How do you propose we solve that situation? Have Gay Marriage for Priests!!!

    • St. Christopher says

      “Linda Gusch”: You are completely wrong. The problem is homosexuality, not chastity or celibacy. You suggest throwing sex at the issue, but this will not work. The only and sole answer is for the Church to return to its Traditional roots and to see to it that all seminarians are trained that way. Remaining clergy need to be closely examined to see who is homosexual and then to dismiss them immediately from the clergy. There is no other way.

    • Heidi smithers says

      Linda listen. Listen Linda. Celibacy is not a cause for pedophilia nor a solution. Celibacy is not a cause nor solution for sexual violence. I sincerely hope you are not in a capacity where you are treating anyone or dealing with ethics.

  11. How will Cardinal DiNardo calling for the Vatican to investigate do any bit of good, when Pope Francis appoints a pro-gay priest who does not believe that Jesus left us any rules to be a bishop in the Philippines?
    And it was Pope Francis who appointed Bishop McElroy as Ordinary of San Diego – the same McElroy who wrote a Forward to James Martins’ SJ book?

  12. So priests can rape children, engage in homosexual behavior, procure abortions, use contraception and have affairs with married women (essentially break their vow of celibacy) and even after they are caught they are still allowed to celebrate the Holy Mass! Meanwhile, the laity are not allowed to receive Holy Communion if they have divorced (sometimes through no fault of their own) and remarried and must not practice birth control. The Church no longer has any moral credibility when it comes to human sexuality.

  13. John Patrick says

    On First Thursday Votive Mass of Our Lord Jesus Christ High and Eternal Priest should be celebrated where devotions for sanctification of the clergy are made. Many priests ignore First Thursday.

  14. Maybe the California bishops should read this analysis when speaking:

  15. This current crisis continues to bleed our Lord’s Body of Christ to the point it may die due to self-centered, arrogant clergy, who do not care about God’s people…they only care about their own skin, and their incessant need for power and control. I believe it is now time to call on those bishops who knew, have lied and denied and to call them to resign. It is time to clean the Church and get rid of these inhumane jerks. A good example, is the recent scandal in Chile. The Chilean bishops resigned and it appears the Church is beginning to be cleansed. Until this happens, this crisis will continue for decades to come…do you want your children to be safe in the Lord’s Church??? Then I suggest calling and demanding the USCCB to…

  16. The problem is homosexuality.

  17. The problem is not homosexuality! The problem is a failure of priestly formation and failure to rely on the Lord for strength and guidance. All of us are sinners: heterosexuals! Homosexuals! Bisexuals! Or whatever sexual! All have misused God’s gift of sexuality! I read recently that 50% of married couples in the USA have engaged in infidelity at some point in their marriage. Interestingly, some sources claim 50% of priests break the vow of celibacy at some point in their priestly service. All have sinned and need redemption!

  18. Here is a great pic of Cardinal Burke: His vestments could clothe 10 people.

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