Letter Could Lead to Legal Showdown in 10 Days

Celebrity Justice [Los Angeles CA]
February 16, 2004

83-year-old Pope John Paul II is one of the most famous men on the planet. Loved and revered by millions, his holiness draws enormous crowds wherever he goes. But now a group called Catholics For Truth and Transparency is issuing a list of legal demands against the Pope and Los Angeles Archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahoney.

At issue are allegations of conspiracies within the church to cover up incidents of alleged sexual abuse at the hand of priests and other clergymen.

"CJ" has obtained a copy of a letter addressed to both the Pope and Cardinal Mahoney, accusing church of using "settlement payments," "confidentiality agreements," and the tactic of moving priests from one location to another in order to make the problem disappear.

The letter also claims that, among other things, "The archdiocese has wrongly placed the law of the Vatican above the law of California."

The group behind the letter is demanding that the Pope and the Cardinal put a stop to the secrecy by disclosing names of suspect priests and other documents involved in the scandal.

Sources connected to the case tell "CJ" that it's no accident the letter has gone out just days before Mel Gibson's controversial film, "The Passion of the Christ," hits theaters. In fact, our sources tell us that the group behind the letter hopes their fight can spark just as much international attention and debate as the film.

The letter ends with an ultimatum: if the demands are not met in ten days the matter will be taken to court. We were unable to reach the Archdiocese of Los Angeles or the Vatican for comment.


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