Victims like prime rib, too

or Unfair Command Influence, Part 2: The Bully Pulpit, Exclusive Access and a Conviction

If you had any questions as to why California’s child sex abuse victims desperately need a civil window, today’s news should close the deal.

The Bully Pulpit

California Catholic News published a July 31 email from Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, urging parishioners to write their representatives and tell them to vote “no” on SB 131.  In fact, the Archbishop has even put together a website to make the letter-writing process easier.

Canon Law says that the Archbishop holds the keys to the salvation of his flock. So when he asks Catholics to write letters, he really isn’t asking … if you know what I mean.

It’s the Bully Pulpit at its most powerful.

One would think that Gomez, after all of the apologies he made in January, would be first in line to demand transparency and justice for victims and accountability for wrong-doers.

Aren’t atoning for the sins of priests, etc., and making amends the cornerstone of Archbishop Gomez’ faith in action? If you are going to be a moral authority, Archbishop, shouldn’t you take the moral route?

Unfair Access

Today’s OC Register Magazine published “A Day in the Life” profile of Orange Bishop Kevin Vann. It was the entry for 6 p.m. that struck me:

Coming to the mayor’s Anaheim Hills home for a home-cooked meal sets the tone for a different kind of bridge-building. Tonight Mayor Tait and his wife have prepared a prime rib dinner for the bishop and pastors from all Anaheim’s parishes.

The article says that the focus of the conversation was the anniversary of the Anaheim riots. But with that kind of access, I’d bet good money that there was some serious influence peddling going on. The article is not online, but here is a photo of the entry in question.

It’s too bad that Anaheim’s victims and advocates don’t get that kind of face-time with the mayor. I’m sure they would love a prime rib dinner and the opportunity to talk about sex abuse and cover up at St. Boniface, San Antonio, St. Anthony Claret, St. Justin Martyr, Servite High School, and Mater Dei High School. In fact, a letter on behalf of victims signed by the mayor of Anaheim would go a long way with lawmakers.

Too bad that victims are never allowed that kind of access. If it looks like the deck is stacked, that’s because it is.


Redding priest Fr. Uriel Ojeda was sentenced to 8 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a Woodland (CA) child. At the hearing, he told the judge, “My actions were of a weak and sinful man.”

I wonder if the hundreds of Ojeda supporters have decided to release balloons in honor of the brave young victim. Doubtful, since many of them wore T-shirts supporting Ojeda at the sentencing.

At the hearing, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto issued a statement supporting the verdict and the victim:

The courage of a young woman and her family has stopped the violence from happening to others

Just like SB 131. Don’t them him tell you any differently.

Note: If you’re wondering where the California bishops were this weekend, they were hanging out in Napa, listening to presentations on how to protect themselves from civil liability in sex abuse cases … presented by the Busch Law Firm. Doesn’t sound too pastoral to me.

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