Goodbye, Bishop Soto, and Good Riddance
We've always tried really hard to like Jaime Soto, the auxiliary bishop in the Catholic Diocese of Orange who's leaving this weekend to become coadjutor bishop in the Diocese of Sacramento. He's a virtual Aztlanista on immigration, urges compassion for AIDS victims, and always sports a smile. But our admiration for Soto goes the way of church attendance every time we remember Soto's involvement in the Orange diocese sex-abuse scandal.
Soto's role, compared to other heavyweights in Orange, seems small. In 1986, he wrote a letter in support of Andrew Christian Anderson, one of only two Orange County Catholic priests ever convicted of sex-abuse crimes. Soto was also the poor sap in charge of trying to fish back Eleuterio Ramos from Tijuana after a Ramos victim filed a lawsuit against the Orange diocese's most notorious pedophile. Of course, there's always the sin of silence, but we'll put that aside for the meanwhile.
Actually, let's bring it back. Soto is someone so suffocated in the Catholic bubble he can't see the hell it's become for sex-abuse victims and Catholics with any sense of morality. Last week, Soto appeared on Orange County Business Journal editor RIck Reiff's Inside OC KOCE-TV Channel 50 program and fielded Reiff's polite questions. When Reiff broached the unavoidable sex-abuse subject, Soto noticeably became nervous. "It was a difficult, difficult chapter in the church," His Excellency stated. "Mistakes were made that hurt young people."
No shit, padre.
Soto continued. "We've tried our best to turn a page over and make sure that never happens again. It's been a very sad chapter in our history but one where we've learned from." Uh, not really.
Reiff then asked Soto if the Orange diocese had handled the sex-abuse scandal badly. "We've been very proactive on this from the beginning," Soto responded. "We learned as we went along on this." Quoth Moe Szyslak: WHAA??? From the 1976 creation of the Orange diocese until just last month, officials have coddled pedophiles. The only thing they've learned is how to spin--and they've done a terrible job at it.
The most hilarious part of Reiff's interview with Soto, however, was when Rick asked whether the Orange diocese would continue to disclose its role in the rape of innocents. "That is going to be an ongoing issue," Soto said, adding that the Orange diocese was "one of the most transparent organizations with regards to this issue," one that always "was upfront and put the cards on the table."
At that point, my computer screen shattered--it can only spin so much. See the video for yourself. Warning: not recommended for folks with vertigo or disgust with liars.
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