Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Volunteer Western Regional Director
As the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Orange, Bishop Kevin William Vann will preside over a transparent cathedral. It is now time for him to create a transparent church as well.
Bishop Vann steps into a legacy fraught with sex abuse and cover-up. While Catholic leaders will boast about former Bishop Tod Brown’s purchase of the Crystal Cathedral, we must also remember and reflect upon the other “accomplishments” of Brown’s tenure in Orange County.
After he nailed his “Covenant of the Faithful” on the front door of Holy Family Cathedral in 2004, Tod Brown has:
- Posted only a partial list of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics on his website
- Refused to keep the list up permanently or put in in parish bulletins
- Concealed his own sex abuse allegation, saying it was “embarrassing,”
- Sent a high-ranking church official to Canada to avoid a deposition, and
- Was held in contempt of court in 2007.
This is a legacy that must end. Bishop Vann has the opportunity and the mandate to enforce real change to protect children in the Diocese of Orange. In order to restore faith in the diocese’s claims of child safety, Bishop Vann must, immediately:
- Remove all priests accused of abuse, such as Fr. Timothy Raemakers, from positions where they will encounter children,
- Remove all priests who actively enabled sex abusers to remain in ministry and fostered continued abuse, like Msgr. John Urell,
- Immediately re-post the names of all known, admitted, and credibly accused clerics, volunteers and employees on the diocese’s website, and
- Reach out to victims of child sexual abuse, who are the key to implementing real change for child safety.
Brown’s “Covenant of the Faithful” is proof that words without action are worthless. It is up to Bishop Vann to show Catholics, through real action, that child safety and transparency are true priorities of the Diocese of Orange.