Abuse Victims Protest at Annual Mass
Demonstrators Stage Action at Downtown Cathedral during Ceremony in Which Priests Renew Their Vows

By Larry B. Stammer
Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles CA]
Downloaded April 6, 2004

More than a dozen victims of sexual abuse and their supporters staged a silent protest Monday night during an annual Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels during which priests in the Los Angeles archdiocese renew their vows.

The protesters sat unnoticed throughout most of the Chrism Mass until the congregation rose for the Eucharist. Then they quietly removed coats and sweaters to reveal matching black T-shirts with the message: "Survivors of Silence."

The protesters joined an estimated 2,000 worshipers and walked forward to receive the Sacraments or to be blessed.

The demonstration came at a time when the Los Angeles archdiocese, the nation's largest, continues to argue with law enforcement authorities over the release of church documents that could shed additional light on how the church handled the sexual abuse of minors by priests over the years - and what actions, if any, it took to remove offending priests.

Molly Clark of Burbank, who said the protest was her idea, said: "I believe we were respectful.... We did give witness through our courage."

Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the archdiocese, said the priests renewing their vows represented the majority of untainted priests. "The priests who offended have been removed - and we haven't been silent about that," Tamberg said.


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