After rebuke by archbishop, Cardinal Mahony takes higher profile
Posted by victimsofrapebythercc
After rebuke by archbishop, Cardinal Mahony takes higher profile
Stripped of public duties by Archbishop Jose Gomez over mishandling of clergy sex abuse cases, Mahony has begun what some call a rehabilitation tour.
May 9, 2013, 5:55 p.m.
When Archbishop Jose Gomez stripped his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of public duties for mishandling clergy sex abuse cases, a church spokesman said the retired prelate’s life would remain largely the same with one exception: confirmations.
No longer would Mahony preside at springtime rites in which teenagers receive the sacrament that marks full passage into the Catholic Church, the spokesman said.
But three months later, Mahony is back doing confirmations. Since Easter, he has officiated at eight services, including one last week in which he anointed more than 120 youths at a Wilmington parish.
His presence has caused controversy, with some parents threatening to pull their children from the liturgies and at least one parish priest asking that Mahony not attend. It has also raised questions about why Gomez’s rebuke of Mahony, an unprecedented move that won him praise from victims and their supporters around the world, had so little lasting effect.
Gomez’s January letter to the region’s more than 4 million Catholics seemed to rule out any conspicuous place for Mahony in the archdiocese. Noting that the cardinal had “expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care, ” Gomez told the faithful, “Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties.”
Rather than recede from the spotlight, however, Mahony has become more prominent. The March papal conclave made him an important figure in a major international story, a position he touted with frequent posts on Twitter and his personal blog. Since his return from Rome, he has advocated immigration reform, his signature issue, and embarked upon what some in the church are calling a “rehabilitation tour” to tell his side of the abuse story to fellow priests. The speeches have played to mixed reviews, with some clerics saying he has a right to defend his record and others all but rolling their eyes.
Under canon law, Gomez had no authority to punish Mahony — only the pope can sanction a cardinal — but he does control administrative assignments in his archdiocese, including the confirmation schedule, and his letter signaled a desire to use that power to limit Mahony’s visibility.
“What he said [in the letter] was, ‘I’m no longer going to let him act publicly on behalf of me,'” said Nicholas P. Cafardi, a canon law specialist at Duquesne University. In light of the confirmations, he said, “You can certainly deduce that [Gomez] has changed his mind.”
Gomez declined to comment. A spokeswoman said it was Mahony who had canceled his confirmation schedule in January and Mahony who opted to resume it. The cardinal declined to respond to questions posed through the spokeswoman.
Approached by a reporter after the Wilmington service, Mahony indicated that he was unaware the church had ever said he would stop doing confirmations.
“That’s news to me…. I’ve been doing them every week and I’m going to be doing them every week,” he said, adding, “So go home.”
Bishop Thomas Curry, Mahony’s top aide for abuse cases in the 1980s, canceled his confirmation schedule this spring after parishioners protested. Cathryn Croall said she found it “wildly inappropriate” for Curry to officiate at her daughter’s confirmation at St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Westlake Village.
“He took the side of the pedophile,” Croall said. “To have him stand up before children and give them a sacrament just seemed absolutely absurd.”
The archdiocese did not respond to questions about whether any of Mahony’s scheduled confirmations had been canceled, but one priest said he told the church to let someone else handle the sacrament because Mahony’s presence was not “helpful to students and families.” Parents in other parishes have reached out to the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests for help replacing Mahony at confirmations, a representative of the group said.
At Sts. Peter and Paul in Wilmington, Jerry Zatarain said he and his wife had different reactions to Mahony confirming their son. “My wife didn’t feel too good about it,” said the Los Angeles public safety officer. “She said, ‘Oh no, what is he doing here?’ She wanted someone else.” But Zatarain said he felt Mahony’s mistakes were a product of the era, not the man. “During that time the church was different — it was just the culture,” he said.
Conflicting signals about Mahony’s status began almost immediately after Gomez released his letter on the archdiocese’s website.
It was posted alongside personnel files of abuser priests the church was required to make public under a 2007 settlement with victims. The elaborate presentation — charts, a question and answer section and lengthy preface — suggested a carefully considered public relations strategy by Gomez, who took over in 2011, for dealing with abuse that occurred on his predecessors’ watch.
Church observers assumed Mahony, who as a cardinal outranked Gomez, had consented to the reduced role, but what happened next suggested otherwise.
Within hours, a church’s spokesman was phoning journalists with a clarification: Mahony remained “a priest in good standing” with full rights to celebrate Mass and the sacraments.
Still, he would not preside at confirmations, the spokesman said.
The next day, a church spokesman said Mahony was “reducing his public profile” voluntarily. The cardinal had taken it upon himself to cancel appearances, including confirmations, the spokesman said.
But at the very same hour, Mahony was mounting a high-profile defense. In an extraordinary open letter to Gomez posted on his blog, the cardinal struck an aggrieved tone. “Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures” for abuse cases, he wrote.
Gomez subsequently released a statement he said was designed to clear up “confusion” in the media: “Cardinal Mahony has all the prerogatives and privileges of his standing as a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.”
A high-ranking archdiocese official told a gathering of priests this spring that Mahony contacted the Vatican about Gomez’s reprimand, according to one cleric at the meeting.
A Vatican spokesman declined to comment.
Any expectation that Mahony would assume a lower profile disappeared two weeks later with Pope Benedict XVI‘s resignation. While Gomez remained in Los Angeles, the cardinal headed to Rome to help pick the next leader of the church. Mahony’s chatty blog posts and Tweets from Vatican City irritated some priests.
Several said they found Mahony’s decision to speak about the abuse scandal at each of 20 regional deanery meetings this spring to be inappropriate. “It’s almost as if he doesn’t know he’s retired,” one said.
But Msgr. David O’Connell, a pastor at St. Michael’s in South Los Angeles, said he welcomed the cardinal’s planned presentation in his region later this month. “He feels there’s a wrong perception with how the press is portraying his role,” he said.
About victimsofrapebytherccThe Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.
Posted on May 11, 2013, in Archbishop José Horacio Gomez, Bishop Thomas Curry, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Child Sex Abuse, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Pope Benedict, Pope Benedict XVI, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse and tagged Bishop Thomas Curry, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, Los Angeles Archdiocese, Nicholas P. Cafardi, St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Westlake Village, The Los Angeles Times. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.