SAN DIEGO — The second in a series of eight listening sessions hosted by the Catholic Diocese of San Diego was held Wednesday evening and, for the second time this week, the meeting room reached max capacity.
The sessions were designed to allow the public to voice their concerns about a history of sexual abuse within the church, ask questions, and even provide suggestions on how the church can do better.
People were turned away at Monday’s meeting at Our Mother of Confidence in University City and Wednesday, the same happened at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in downtown San Diego.
Dozens remained outside the cathedral auditorium gates waiting to see if they would be let in and some were even asked to leave after already taking their seat.
“I found it interesting that I was asked to leave,” said Nathan Poe.
Poe was at Monday’s session and says he was told there needed to be space for newcomers.
Kevin Kramer is another man who says he was asked to leave Wednesday night.
“I am grateful that the bishop is having these sessions and that we have the opportunity to engage with him in discussion but I do feel like there were a lot of questions that were left unanswered,” said Kramer.
Kramer was also at Monday’s session and says he wanted to stay for Wednesday’s. He told FOX 5 he tried volunteering to leave only if the room reached capacity, but claims he was eventually “forcibly removed” from the auditorium.
Catholic Diocese of San Diego spokesperson Kevin Eckery responded to those allegations saying, “this is a church. We don’t forcibly remove anybody.”
Eckery says there was a reason behind asking certain people to sit out this round.
“They had attended the last one as well and they were mildly disruptive. So that we could actually have a quality discussion, they were asked to leave,” said Eckery.
Eckery told FOX 5 people are indeed allowed to attend more than one listening session.
The next is Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace in El Cajon.