A California pro-family group hopes a ruling that allows the
release of the names of abusive Catholic priests will not turn into
a "witch hunt" against the church as a whole.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias ruled on Monday that personnel files
identifying Roman Catholic priests who have been accused of child
molestation be released. The ruling conflicts with a previous
decision giving the Archdiocese of Los Angeles permission to redact
the names of the church hierarchy.
It is uncertain how long it will take to comply with
the new ruling, but Ron Prentice of the California Family Council expects an
"Of course we want the rule of law to stand, and we want the
consequences to fall appropriately and justly, but I expect that
even [this] ruling by this judge will be appealed," he
Attorneys for the church plan to release the files mid-January
with the names of church leaders blacked out. But the Los
Angeles Times and Associated Press stepped in and
argued that the redactions would keep the public from knowing how
the church found out about the abusive priests and how those
priests were disciplined.
Prentice hopes the ruling will not generate a "witch hunt."
"The issue [is] those priests in particular who acted unlawfully
-- that should be the direction of the court's case," he contends.
"I do get concerned that this becomes a witch hunt, and I agree
that this would negatively impact the church as a whole. And I'm
not sure that the purposes behind seeking all of the names to be
made public are truly for the purposes of justice being done."
Archdiocese attorneys are concerned about going through the
30,000 pages of information.