Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart played a brief clip of Mahony's apology, in which he said he was sorry to "anyone who might have been offended ... " Offended, as Stewart noted, hardly seems the right word to use when you are supposedly apologizing to people who were sexually molested as children by priests under your charge. I emailed Berg this morning about the payout, her film's impact on the case, and Mahony's apology, and this is what she had to say (Berg's response in its entirety is after the jump ... ):
Response from Amy Berg, director of Deliver Us From Evil, to the announcement of a $660 million payout by the Catholic Church to sexual abuse victms:
Last night, I received an email from an individual who has a history of sexual abuse by a clergy member. He shared his feelings with me about Cardinal Mahony and offered to share them with readers.
" Even when he feigns well-meaning, he fails miserably. He has no idea what "cures" this problem his pedophile priests have created, as most people don't, and so he gives in to the fantasy, as most people have, that this cannot be "cured." In this manner, he binds himself once again to the countless people who have renounced church, faith and God and still find no reprieve from the guilt of their actions. I find this to be especially profound:
'Cardinal Mahony said to the victims that he wished he could restore their lives to where they were before the abuse occurred. "Your life, I wish, were like a VHS tape" that could be rewound.'
His wish offers nothing of a solution. The solution does not involve a rewinding of a tape; it involves a reconnecting of present experience to the memory of experience; it is the undoing of dissociation through recognizing that the memory of dissociation is forever a part of the experience. It is in seeing how we transfer our history to every relationship we engage, how we forever will have moments of disintegration with the ones we love and/or trust most, and that our greatest hope in life is for the joy in outlasting these disconnects to be able to reconnect to our loved ones and feel whole and integrated once again. I recommend Mahony read The Inquisitor very closely, and that he imagine what it might mean for he himself to be forgiven of all
Twenty-three years ago, Cardinal Mahony was given a police report stating that the pedophile priest Oliver O'Grady must be kept away from children. Instead he promoted him to lead two small churches. The then-Bishop Mahony became Cardinal Mahony within months. At least ten more children were abused as a result of that decision. This pattern from Stockton of ignoring the law and moving priests did not end when he arrived in Los Angeles. If the true number of perpetrators in the current claim is correct, 241 more priests had the same type of treatment in LA.
Five years ago the state extended the reporting period for these types of claims and the District Attorney was told he needed to throw out most of his very compelling criminal cases due to a ruling that stated the cases were too old to prosecute.
For the same five years the victims he refers to have been screened and left on the outside as the church used PR companies and high priced attorneys to try to get these cases to go away, instead of opening their doors and hearts to these people.
We take it for granted that the Catholic Church is a corporation, nothing too spiritual about their business plan as these cases continue to settle. And now, two days before he was going to be called on to the stand to see what he knew in all of these pending cases...an apology from the Cardinal. Many observers and survivors think he settled so he didn't have to give up what he knew. It wasn't his money and he really didn't need these excess properties. He made his point clearly that nothing would change in the spiritual institution. More than 500 parishioners abuse is being acknowledged through a 770 million dollar settlement (plus legal fees). The parishioners are paying the tab and nothing is going to change? If I was a member of your church, I would want to hear the exact opposite.
"Your life, I wish, were like a VHS tape" that could be rewound, he said.
In the entire speech, he never accepts responsibility. He only says he is sorry that those priests offended you. He is still passing the buck.
Why is Cardinal Mahony a free man? A hugely powerful figure has come forward and admitted he did not report the priests to the police or take them away from children. Wasn't he harboring criminals and breaking the law? Even Paris Hilton had to spend a month behind bars. Her crime seems minute when we look at the vastness of this.
Further, if all 241 priests are not in jail, where are they? Who is watching these priests and protecting the innocent children of today from having the same thing happen? We know the recidivism rate is close to 100% in these crimes and even the Cardinal admits now that they are not curable.
In the case of Oliver O'Grady, he was not being watched when we began to make Deliver Us From Evil and he was living within yards of a playground just 6 months ago.
As a television journalist at CNN, less than three years ago, I found three priests living in residential neighborhoods of Los Angeles amongst children. One of them had a patio overlooking a cul-de-sac with children riding bicycles unsupervised.
I would imagine parents all over the world would like to know where the hundreds of other molesters are living. For our children's sake.