Catholic Diocese of San Diego holds ‘listening session’ on sex-abuse scandal

SAN DIEGO -- The Catholic Diocese of San Diego Monday evening held the first of eight listening sessions designed to let the public speak out about sexual abuse within the church.

The parish hall at Our Mother of Confidence in University City was filled to capacity and private security had to turn latecomers away.

Not only were community members invited to share their thoughts, they were encouraged to ask questions and challenge church leaders to be more accountable.

"We want to hear from the bishop. What’s he going to do to prevent this from happening again?" said parishioner Leslie Eastman.

Others like Sal Demaria expressed their disappointment in the sexual scandals tainting the church.

"I don’t know we’re going to go from here. I mean a lot a lot of people are just disgusted," said Demaria.

Bishop Robert McElroy was at the event, ready to answer questions. He urged people to voice how the church could do better, and those attending had plenty of suggestions.

Demaria suggested the laity having more involvement and knowledge of a priest before they are transferred to a church.

"That we get to know his background, where he’s been, if there’s been any disciplinary action taken against him," said Demaria.

There will be seven more listening sessions between now and November. The next is Wednesday at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral in the auditorium.

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