The Los Angeles Times ran a great Column One story last week about the few monuments to the survivors of Catholic sex abuse that the church hierarchy have allowed on parish grounds across the country. Of course, the Diocese of Orange has yet to erect one, because Bishop Tod D. Brown would rather spend money on jerk lawyers and high-priced PR spinners. Not only that, but the Orange diocese is so retrograde in its feelings toward the innocents they let suffer that they would rather honor raping priests--or, at least they did.
For years, St. Columban Church allowed to stand a memorial to Father Jack Lord, who was one of the country's first priests to publicly die of AIDS. They allowed it to stand, even though church officials knew Lord had molested kids. It stood even after the diocese publicly admitted Lord molested children. It stood even after Brown settled 87 sex-abuse cases in January of 2005 for $100 million, at the time the largest sex-abuse settlement in the history of American Catholicism (the Los Angeles Archdiocese beat Orange last year--and the rivalry between LA and OC continues...). One of the priests named in the settlement? Lord--his victim got $3,739,842, the largest individual settlement in the bunch of pedo-priests.
That was apparently enough for a good Catholic. In March of 2005, someone anonymously sent me pictures of Lord's monument--or rather, before and after shots. You're seeing the before above; the after showed the rock covered in tar, with a picture of slaughtered lambs that read, "The silence of the Bishops is killing the lambs," "Shame on the Church for building a shrine to a destroyer of children," and also mentioned Matthew 18:6--"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
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Lord's monument no longer stands at St. Columban--I'm not sure if church officials chose not to replaced the tarred rock, finally came to their senses, or just hid it away somewhere where I couldn't find it the day I visited. Instead, a tree stands in Garden Grove, still growing in memory of a monster.