"Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion." John Adams

Featured Posts

Creative Minority Reader

Cdl. Mahony Fires Back

Uh-oh. This is getting ugly folks. Cardinal Mahony posted a letter to Abp. Gomez on his own personal blog. In the letter he says two things that jump out at me.

1) Nobody ever told him how to deal with sexual abuse and all the experts of the time appear to be very wrong.

And I totally understand that. I even sympathize with it a little. But on the other hand his defense that this is the way everyone dealt with it back then and we didn't know any better doesn't really cut it. Did he think that everyone in the Church who was raked over the coals for this in recent years was somehow evil whereas he is only misunderstood? Does he believe he should be exempt from the public scorn that has been heaped on many Church officials in recent years? Here's the thing, whether there was a misunderstanding or not, those children who were being victimized needed a hero. Someone to step up and protect them. Cardinal Mahony didn't do it. Yes, he may have followed the "best practices" of the time that so many others did but what we as Catholics are called to do is more. We must protect the defenseless, not merely take a defensible position.

2) Cdl. Mahony takea a shot at Abp Gomez. And he does it in a way that's pretty icky. He directs his ire at Abp. Gomez in the letter by saying he'd never once raised a question about the policies in the past so why now hmmmm? But he begins by saying, "I have been encouraged by others to publish it, so I am do so on my personal Blog. I hope you find it useful." Oh, so it's not his fault he's publishing this attack on Abp. Gomez. He's just doing it because soooooooo many have encouraged him to do so.

I think Cardinal Mahony has grown very accustomed to being adored. I believe he's fighting for his reputation. I don't believe this letter helped.

I've got the letter below in full. The Anchoress does a wonderful job criticizing the letter so you should check that out as well.

Here's the letter:

Dear Archbishop Gomez:

In this letter I wish to outline briefly how the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and I responded to the evolving scandal of clergy sexual misconduct, especially involving minors.

Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem. In two years [1962—1964] spent in graduate school earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work, no textbook and no lecture ever referred to the sexual abuse of children. While there was some information dealing with child neglect, sexual abuse was never discussed.

Shortly after I was installed on September 5, 1985 I took steps to create an Office of the Vicar for the Clergy so that all our efforts in helping our priests could be located in one place. In the summer of 1986 I invited an attorney-friend from Stockton to address our priests during our annual retreat at St. John’s Seminary on the topic of the sexual abuse of minors. Towards the end of 1986 work began with the Council of Priests to develop policies and procedures to guide all of us in dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct. Those underwent much review across the Archdiocese, and were adopted in 1989.

During these intervening years a small number of cases did arise. I sought advice from several other Bishops across the country, including Cardinal John O’Connor of New York, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, and then Bishop Adam Maida of Green Bay. I consulted with our Episcopal Conference frequently. All the advice was to remove priests from active ministry if there was reasonable suspicion that abuse had occurred, and then refer them to one of the several residential treatment centers across the country for evaluation and recommendation.

This procedure was standard across the country for all Arch/Dioceses, for School Districts, for other Churches, and for all Youth Organizations that dealt with minors. We were never told that, in fact, following these procedures was not effective, and that perpetrators were incapable of being treated in such a way that they could safely pursue priestly ministry.

During the 1990s our own policies and procedures evolved and became more stringent. We had learned from the mistakes of the 1980s and the new procedures reflected this change. In 1994 we became one of the first Archdioceses in the world to institute a Sexual Abuse Advisory Board [SAAB] which gave helpful insights and recommendations to the Vicar for the Clergy on how to deal with these cases. Through the help of this Board, we moved towards a “zero tolerance” policy for clergy who had allegations against them which had proven true.

In 2002 we greatly expanded the SAAB group into the new Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board. They were instrumental in implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth and served as an invaluable body for me and our Archdiocese. They dealt with every case with great care, justice, and concern for our youth.

From 2003 to 2012 the Archdiocese underwent several Compliance Audits by professional firms retained for this purpose. Most Auditors were retired FBI agents, and extremely competent. Every single Audit concluded that the Archdiocese was in full compliance with the Charter.

When you were formally received as our Archbishop on May 26, 2010, you began to become aware of all that had been done here over the years for the protection of children and youth. You became our official Archbishop on March 1, 2011 and you were personally involved with the Compliance Audit of 2012—again, in which we were deemed to be in full compliance.

Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors.

I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s. I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone.

Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then. But when I retired as the active Archbishop, I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth.

With every best wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

His Eminence
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles

Your Ad Here


Pomeranian Catholic said...

Icky icky icky. Why, Cardinal, just why?

Estase said...

I like the part about consulting with Joseph Cardinal Bernadin. There's your mistake right there, Mahoney. www.francoisdecharette.blogspot.com

Anneg said...

Reminds me of Bill Clinton, "it's not my fault." I expect better. Now, I see why St Jerome said what he did about the floor of hell and skulls of unfaithful bishops.

love the girls said...

"he'd never once raised a question about the policies in the past so why now hmmmm?"

It's a consideration that crossed my mind as well. But not quite in the same way. I find it more than damning that Gomez let Cardinal Mahoney remain in the diocese even though he knew the cardinal was a wolf is sheep's clothing allowing children to be molested.

Saying he didn't know how to handle it is pure nonsense, many things can be said a Mahoney, but incompetent fool is not one of them. Mahoney let those children be preyed upon and all Gomez as opposed to being a pastor defended the institution until forced by the courts to act decently.

Liz said...

The thing that has always bothered me is that these bishops followed worldly advice instead of Catholic teaching. What happened here is sin, it is grave sin of one of the most terrible types. When we make an act of contrition we promise to avoid the near occasion of sin. Someone should have removed these priests from any contact with children, ever. They should have been put in a monastery somewhere away from any temptation, and away from any opportunity to do further harm. Their victims should have received help from the Church. There are those who would simply have turned them over to the state for punishment, but doing so would have only meant that eventually they would be around children again. If the Church had exercised her own discipline, each and every time and put these priests where they would never, ever be able to offend, yet would be doing penance, and working towards their own spiritual healing we would not have this sort of scandal now. Of course, the problem was in part the purple mafia. So many of the victims were not little children, but teenaged boys, and as such simply attractions for homosexual men. Given that we had bishops like Weakland who were practicing homosexuals themselves (I'm mentioning him specifically because he is candid about his orientation), there was an atmosphere of covering up that kind of activity. There was an atmosphere of acceptance of homosexual behavior that went completely counter to vows of celibacy. Sin was tolerated and in some cases engaged in by even bishops themselves. Yes, this was a crime, but it was a sin and as Christian bishops they should have known that and not simply seen it as a matter of psychological problems to be handled with therapy.

Cardinal Mahoney may be correct about the way that the secular experts he consulted encouraged him to proceed. That, however, is the problem, he consulted secular experts instead of behaving like the shepherd he was supposed to be.

ProudHillbilly said...

That's a very helpful commentary. As a convert who grew up in a family where sexual abuse spanned 2 generations, I've had mixed feelings about how the bishops handled the problem. They sought the same solution as our family did - make the offender get counseling - without the understanding that all that does is make the perp more careful the next time. And a church is a family, so I well understand the confused and misdirected love that led to bad decisions.

One thing, though, that has to be kept in mind is that bishops are also faced with the knowledge of the devistating effect that a false allegation has on a priest. Loss of ministry, loss of income, loss of residence, the ruination of reputation, and about 2 years in limbo on average to resolve the case.

Bishops are often caught between a rock and a hard place when there is an allegation. I've seen the innocent punished and the guilty go free and nobody I know wants to contribute to either evil end.

love the girls said...


You give Mahoney far more credit than he deserves. He knew perfectly well the course he chose to follow was in contradiction to Church teaching. He was not a fool, he knew what he was doing.

ProudHillbilly writes : "Bishops are often caught between a rock and a hard place when there is an allegation. I've seen the innocent punished and the guilty go free and nobody I know wants to contribute to either evil end."

Are you kidding me? The bishops in the US don't think twice before crushing priests under their authority.

bill bannon said...

It's just that when you read SOME cases not all, the Bishop good intentions is not present at all. Fr, Shanley from Boston gave a public talk to the "Man Boy Love Association" in which he argued that the child is the seducer...during the 1970's. Someone apparently sent that tape or a similar one to the CDF in Rome in 1979 whereupon the CDF wrote to the Boston Diocese inquiring about Shanley and was Boston doing anything about him. Boston wrote back not about Shanley specifically but that they were watching any such priests carefully. PS....five years later Shanley was promoted to pastor and molested several boys for which he is now in prison. Prior to his arrest, Boston tried to dump him on New York by saying he was ok to work in a hostel for seminarians. New York smelled a dead fish and passed on it. But Boston tricked San Beradino diocese into taking Shanley who then bought a gay motel with another priest. San Bernadino filed suit against Boston Diocese years later but retracted it weeks later probably under orders from a higher authority based on unseemly public brawling between dioceses. A Ms. Gavreau asserted that she twice warned Cardinal Law to his face that Shanley was dangerous to children....the second time, Law brushed her off by saying to contact his auxiliaries because that's why he had them.
Whether it was obnoxious people like Cardinal Law or nicer Bishops....keeping priests rather than defrocking them was the priority. Children and their parents were not the first priority...keeping bodies was.
Shanley was paid in San Bernadino with medical leave stipends from the laity of Boston who didn't know it... and while he was running a gay motel. Catholicism is the true Church but its concept of administration is confused and needs a top notch consultancy driven overhaul.

ProudHillbilly said...

To lump all bishops into the same catagory is as unjust as saying all priests are pedophiles. Having personally known a bishop I can tell you that he anguished over the steps he was required to take if he received just one anonymous accusation against a priest of his diocese. I am not justifying protecting a known predator - I have watched the repercussions of abuse work themselves out in my family for decades. But these are accusations that can and are used for retaliation, and I've seen that happen, too. The Church is focused on but claims and counter claims have been rife throughout all of our society.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

The irony is too delicious to contemplate: Mahony -- a man who used his episcopal authority to intimidate priests in his archdiocese -- "rebels" when censured by his own archbishop!

bill bannon said...


Above link involves 5 year sentence of Catholic pastor for crimes only two years ago. Pray for him besides being angry. Ignore Catholic voices who say we're very safe. We have no idea how many non saintly gays are in the ranks.

William Meyer said...

...and then there is the signature, in which Cdl. Mahoney emphasizes his rank. All the more reason, however, for him not to be bobbing and weaving this way.

August said...

This is indicative of the church in general continuing to march to the secular drum. Mahoney did what the 'experts' told him to do, and he's upset at being kicked at now, but this is exactly what the new 'experts' are telling the Church to do. We are getting nothing but more and more bureaucracy and very little of it actually protects children, but rather has a variety of people jumping through various silly hoops.
Meanwhile, the pedophiles are perfectly happy to jump through all the hoops, and tend to have a lot of time alone with the children, because the rest of us just don't have the time or the inclination to be bothered.

tuleesh said...

Awwww. Le pauvre petit. No one told this college-educated prelate that sch******g a child is wrong. Perhaps instead of consulting with Bernardin, he should've consulted Holy Scripture. You know, where Jesus says that it's better, "that a millstone should be hanged about [the abuser's] neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea" than "scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me [Matt 18:6]."
Boy, those who "encouraged" him to publish his letter must've seriously twisted his princely arm... Uh, riiiight.

It would've been more believable had the Cardinal written something pithy like, "Look. I blew it. I'm deeply sorry. I will spend the time I have left on this earth repairing the damage I have done." "Gee, I didn't know," only demonstrates serious lack of leadership and responsibility.

William Meyer @ 4:27 PM
Indeed, the closing of that letter was weird to say the least. BTW, Mahony's blog has no com box for readers' reactions to his, "Personal Reflections & Experiences."

Post a Comment