Bishop Speaks to 4,000 Teens about Church Abuse Scandal

Mercury News [Anaheim CA]
January 25, 2004

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown addressed the sexual abuse scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church in a speech before 4,000 teens gathered for a weekend youth event.

Brown, whose diocese faces about 50 molestation lawsuits, played a three-minute video featuring local Catholic high school students discussing the importance of speaking out against sex abuse. He then urged the teens to continue the discussion in their home parishes.

"The subject of sexual abuse of minors in our churches and in society needs to be confronted by all of us - by you and by me," Brown said Saturday at the Relying On Christ youth event. "I'm sure you are aware a number of priests and lay leaders in our church have betrayed their positions of trust and have caused a lot of pain."

An estimated 800 lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic dioceses statewide.

Victoria Baker, a 17-year-old Mater Dei High School senior, said the bishop's words were welcome.

"You hear it in the news, but we don't talk about it," she said.

The presentation came less than a week after Brown nailed a "Covenant With the Faithful" to the front door of Holy Family Cathedral in Orange. The covenant calls for greater public honesty in dealing with sex crimes committed by church leaders.


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