Urell Supporters Take Out Full-Page Ad in OC Register

We rarely read past Page Four of the Orange County Register's front page, since anything beyond that is usually Macy's ads and rehashed Associated Press or Reuters blurbs. Indeed, we didn't read past page four this morning until an eagle-eyed reader (gracias, amigo) alerted us to a full-page ad taken out by a group calling themselves “Friends of Msgr. John.” The ad in question was an “Open Letter in Support of Msgr. John Urell,” the priest who for years handled sex-abuse complaints in the Catholic Diocese of Orange and is currently in Canada seeking anxiety treatment for his prior responsibilities.

The ad's text can be found on the group's website. In a previous statement, group spokesperson (and Rancho Santiago Community College District board president) John Hanna states, “We are deeply saddened by the cases of sexual misconduct that have come to light over the years and we continue to pray for the healing of all those involved. However, it is fundamental to Catholic teaching that we forgive and minister to those who are suffering and in pain.”

Forgive, forgive, forgive: that's all that Urell's supporters ever talk about. Forgive John Urell for his sins. Hanna was there yesterday in Judge Gail Andler's courtroom when she decided not to dismiss Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown's contempt-of-court charge for allowing Urell to leave for Canada. So were a couple of other Urell supporters (including OC Blogman Matt Cunningham and OC PR queen Meg Waters, although she told me she was in court only as “a friend of Matt.”). Hanna talks about “minister[ing] to those who are suffering and in pain.” However, I saw none of Urell's supporter so much as go up to sex-abuse survivors Christina Ruiz and Sarah Gray and offer condolences (we didn't even see Cunningham at their press conference the previous day–so much for the other side of the story, eh Matt?).

The Orange County Register, by the way, has consistently refused to run ads by John Manly's office asking the county's Catholics to come forward with any information on the sex-abuse scandal (full disclosure: the OC Weekly has run Manly's ads before)

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