Quid est veritas?

Please allow me to introduce myself 
I’m a man of wealth and taste 
I’ve been around for a long, long year 
Stole many a man’s soul and faith 
And I was round when Jesus Christ 
Had his moment of doubt and pain 
Made damn sure that Pilate 
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Undoubtedly most of you are aware that Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angles has stripped Roger Cardinal Mahony of all public duties. If not, here is the story.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez announced Thursday that Cardinal Roger Mahony would have a reduced role in the church and that Santa Barbara Bishop Thomas J. Curry has stepped down from that job amid recent revelations over their handling of the priest abuse scandal in the 1980s.

“Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara,” Gomez wrote in a letter.

Cardinal Mahony published this private letter to Archbishop Gomez on his blog:

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 theCharter 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

Charity prevents me from editorializing further on the Cardinal’s appeals. I merely repeat this line:

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.

But I said I was sorry. Isn’t that enough?



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  1. Exactly what I thought. Personally, I wish prelates like this would get deposed for all the unorthodox crap they pull, ahem, like the “religious education” whathaveyous Cardinal Mahoney presided over all those years.

  2. “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.”
    Mahony was a rotten Cardinal and is obviously a poor excuse for a human being, but based upon that last sentence he may have a future in stand up comedy.

  3. How pathetic and self-serving Mahoney’s letter is! “We were never taught in sociology classes about child abuse”–it should have been woefully evident to him as a human person and a man of God that sexual abuse of children merited the famous mill stone around the neck of the guilty one and a fling into the deepest sea. But he wasn’t taught about it…how lame is that! And he goes on to defend himself by describing lectures priests were given about this offense (as if an offender was going to heed a lecture) and boards and tribunals. Given the information that was released that so appalled Gomez, Mahoney and his bishop pal found their own ways around the boards and tribunals to hide and, effectively, protect guilty priests. This letter shows exactly what the problem is and was–Mahoney was weak and self-serving and blind to the damage these outrageous behaviors did to children. It is the least that can be done to him to forbid him public activities in which he would be honored as a prince of the Church. He is a disgraced prince who “doth protest too much.”

  4. It seems to me that they “washed their hands and sealed the childrens’ fate”, when hiding information. Well, it is no “sympathy” for Christ, for sure.

    May God help the children and have mercy on all of us.

  5. Yes, I am most bothered that he would choose to begin a letter with a deflection of blame … “not prepared” by the church, shools, family …

    Few are. But it is character that leads, not experience in those moments.

  6. May I only say, Mundabor, that being for or against the TLM does not make one a better or worse Catholic. Both are entirely legitimate methods of worshipping, and attending or preferring the Novus Ordo does not make one “less Catholic” and attending or preferring the TLM does not make one a “better” or “more authentic” Catholic.

    Other than that, I sincerely hope that Mahony loses his red hat and vote at the next papal conclave. If you or I did what he did, we would be in jail.

  7. Quid est veritas? Rather WHO is TRUTH. Jesus Christ is TRUTH. Jesus Christ is a virgin.
    Will Cardinal Mahoney still be eligible to vote for a new Pope? I hope not. Cardl Mahoney’s red hat needs to be removed permanently, in retribution.

  8. Dave W. said it well: It is character that leads not experience in those moments. Mahoney’s overriding consideration was to cut the children loose and to hide the offenders. He probably dreaded the publicity exposure would bring to him. As I said before, incredibly self-serving. He keeps insisting that all should be okay because he said he was sorry. That’s cheap. A public apology was the least and easiest thing he could do. When I think of what he knew all along–how disgusting. He participated in the evil of the men who did the abusing, and he did this deliberately with plenty of scheming, forethought and full consent of his will. That qualifies as mortally sinful. But I don’t think he thinks it was all that bad–just bad enough to force that apology out of him.

  9. Roger Mahony’s term as Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is one of the worst of any diocese of any part of the Catholic Church for the past few centuries, although Cardinal Weakland’s performace was nearly as bad. Mahony is still full of himself.

    Mundabor is entirely correct in his view of Mahony and Mahony’s disdain for the Extraordinary Form. I have little trust in bishops who oppose the EF. The Pope has spoken, yet many disobey. Gee, I wonder why?

  10. “Mahony was a rotten Cardinal and is obviously a poor excuse for a human being, but based upon that last sentence he may have a future in stand up comedy.”

    Probably very much true!

    I lived in his archdiocese for 25 years, and was all too happy for his retirement in 2011. The letter came as absolutely zero surprise to me…and that he published it even less of a surprise.

    This move has been 3 years in the making by Abp Gomez. During the latter half of 2011, The publishing of this letter will not sit well with Abp Gomez at all. He (Abp Gomez) tends to like to keep things that are “in house” “in house” from what I’ve seen from his operations and speaking with him on several occasions. I foresee a situation where Cardinal Mahony will be evicted from the Archdiocese of LA for non-obedience…He’s hardly obedient to the Liturgy, I don’t expect him to listen to Abp Gomez or the Pope.

  11. Can Cardinal Mahony be denied burial in a Catholic cemetery? If not, why not?
    The V.A. can deny burial to a veteran at a National cemetery for capital crimes and subversion.

    IMHO, why doesn’t the American Catholic church have a national burial system so it may compete in the secular culture in honoring the service(baptism) of its members? I know many vets who have the resources to be buried in “private cemeteries”,but prefer to be buried at a National Cemetery. The military doesn’t forget its long ago G.I., who served but a short time of his life in the military, and honor his service with the words; “This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service”

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