Cardinal Mahony Featured

Check this devastating report on Cardinal Roger Mahony.

The man has largely disappeared from public view since the conclave. But in retirement he still blogs, mainly in immigration policy advocacy.

The report seems thorough and balanced–more than fair to a man who is universally disliked. He might have done more than some bishops in steering predators away from new assignments in the early days. But the deception thrown at him seems to have been passed on to the rest of us. The secrecy of it all blew up in his face.

One thing about the affinity for influence and power struck me: it made the man most vulnerable to his own appetites, to grooming by predators, to manipulation by sycophants. He reminds me of a pastor I once worked for. Very charismatic man, friendly, fundraiser, good with all sorts of people. But a dark side that I saw a select number of people able to manipulate with ease. And the man believed in keeping secrets. Just like the retired archbishop.

I had not realized Roger Mahony was so young when Pope John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Los Angeles. Forty-nine–wow.

The one bit in the feature that described him as insisting on washing dishes for his friends on vacation because he could do it quicker and better? Another wow. But somehow, not surprising. The point of being relaxed with friends is not in the performance of chores, but in enjoying good company.

Would that the man had similar ambition to find the best way of healing a diocese from the abuse of predator clergy. It struck me that God had placed him in Los Angeles to do just that. But he was stuck on the wattage of light fixtures in service elevators.

I have to turn this story and shine that wattage on my own spiritual life. God presents opportunities for me. Sometimes I do not want them. But to what am I being invited by engaging and embracing them directly? What schooling is in store for me? Why am I so quick to want to escape and deal with the peripherals, the more fun and enjoyable things? Those things I can easily do: empty labor, because of my comfort and because I’ve done them a thousand times before.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Ministry, sex abuse, spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cardinal Mahony Featured

  1. Leo says:

    A fascinating glimpse into the mind of a modern narcissist. I wondered if that blog of his mentioned near the end, where he talks about bearing the cross of humiliation, might be signs of the beginning of a flourishing of interior repentance and conversion, via accepting his sufferings as punishment for his transgressions a la St. Dismas — but on the contrary he writes that he responds to the rage directed toward him by asking God to forgive *them*. Them! As if they are doing wrong! As if their anger is unjustified! I can only hope the humiliation he is now experiencing will begin to draw him out of himself.

  2. Jane says:

    I’m just going to leave this link here.
    “Vatican impeded Mahony attempts to remove priests, files show”

    • Todd says:

      Thanks, Jane. This is a sad story repeated by many bishops. Under John Paul II, there was not support for the efforts to suspend priests, remove them from ministry, or deal with the most heinous repeat offenders–the ones who showed no mercy. I suppose one need not be a careful administrator to be a saint.

      • Jane says:

        Sadly, Todd, it wasn’t just the bishops. The milieu of the times made for the “perfect storm” with many silent bystanders, as this LA Times article linked below shows. As for John Paul II, to his credit, he, with the help of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, helped streamline the process to deal with the offending priests. Pope Francis will undoubtedly continue the work through the commission he just established.

        ‘Clergy Abuse Case Filled with Silent Bystanders: Long before Father Donald Patrick Roemer was charged with molesting a young boy, his behavior had been observed by churchgoers, fellow priests, school officials and police authorities. Yet none of them did anything.’,0,2590497.htmlstory#axzz2md3H24xc

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