Relieved of Duty

My wife got me the news before the blogosphere did: Cardinal Mahony relieved of duty in light of his mishandling of sex predators in the 80′s and 90′s. A retired bishop? What duties? Is the Frequently Misspelled One still on Vatican committees, and boards of directors stateside? Is pulling himself off the confirmation docket his own idea?

Thomas Reese, SJ:

This is very unusual and shows really how seriously they’re taking this. To tell a cardinal he can’t do confirmations, can’t do things in public, that’s extraordinary.

It’s a big change from 2002, that’s for darn sure.

The Frequently Misspelled One responds on his own blog. The man got bad advice from friends who thought he should speak his piece. He may well have cause to feel pounded by his successor. But there’s a prudent time and place for a talkback. I think this was a time for the cardinal to take one for the team. Talk to Archbishop Gomez over a beer–don’t air this dirty laundry out in the blogosphere.

Readers here know I’ve never been a fan of Cardinal Mahony. He’s too much of a JP2 bishop in the worst sense of that term. Still … it doesn’t seem terribly fair for some bishops to skip off to plum assignments in Rome, to continue sitting at the kingmaking table and all. It doesn’t seem very fair for one bishop to accept conviction for a serious crime and remain “in good standing.” What drives that? The money behind the throne cathedra?

Nobody ever said it was going to be easy for the US bishops to regain their shredded reputations. This is one small step for Archbishop Gomez. But it won’t be the last needed one. Others will need to come from other bishops. Some will need to come from Rome. And not veiled through the actions of a local bishop. And some bishops will need to man up and take their own initiative. Delegate confirmations to their parish clergy for a few years. Decline a red hat if offered. Recommend another bishop from a smaller see who has a good reputation.

I will comment that Archbishop Gomez, with or without the approval of Rome, has upped the ante considerably on the cover-upu scandal. Other bishops will be judged by his yardstick. I wonder if it’s a time of soul searching on the banks of the Missouri River tonight. Or maybe time for a lot of soul-searching at bishops’ residences around the world. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Relieved of Duty

  1. Jen says:

    You mean like extradition and trial for Law?

  2. John McGrath says:

    Could this really be a PR move, the new archbishop realizing the need to distance himself from the former archbishop/cardinal since the files were to go public. Suspicious; the files go public, the cardinal is rebuked. No rebuke before the files going public., In other words, is this a continuation of the first and foremost priority being to protect the reputation of the church, not to do justice?

  3. Mahony’s blog post. What a mistake, only adding to the horror. And I’m someone who liked him…

    This is such a watershed moment, for the USCCB and the Church leaders at large to stand in humility, poised for repentance as we begin Lent. Will this happen? I, for one, am doubtful..

  4. FrMichael says:

    I have a minor disagreement with your post: this is a LARGE step for Archbishop Gomez. To publicly rebuke his cardinal predecessor, to force his lead auxiliary to resign, these are not little things. I never thought I would see the day when the California episcopal mafia– Mahony, Levada, and their progency– would receive a public comeuppance.

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