Mahony Relieved Of 'Public Duties'

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony will “no longer have any administrative or public duties” as retired archbishop of Los Angeles because of past diocesan failures to protect children from clergy sex abuse, Archbishop José H. Gomez announced on Jan. 31. The archbishop’s statement came the same day the archdiocese published the files of clergy who were the subject of a 2007 global abuse settlement. Archbishop Gomez also accepted Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Curry’s request to be relieved as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara. Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Curry, however, remain bishops in good standing, with full rights to celebrate the sacraments and minister to the faithful without restriction.

Cardinal Mahony, now 76, headed the archdiocese from 1985 until his retirement in March 2011. Bishop Curry, 70, was the archdiocese’s vicar for clergy and chief adviser on sexual abuse cases in the mid-1980s. “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading,” Archbishop Gomez said on Jan. 31. “The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil,” he said. “There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed. We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today.”

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James Bukowski
5 years 10 months ago
I studied in the seminary where most of the clergymen (who are the subject of these files) came from. I am shocked about this scandal and the online files one can read at: To me, this scandal highlights major problems with the Catholic church's structure today, including: 1. Transparency - lack of it. We Catholics never know what goes on inside the church administration; e.g why priests are transferred, what are their backgrounds, who is promoted or demoted, etc. The online personnel files now tell us. 2. Conspiracy - plenty of it. It's obvious the cardinal and his aides tried for years to keep facts hidden and move priests away from the civil authorities. 3. Clerical elitism. Bishops, priests and seminarians are trained to think they are a superior order above the "laity" (lay women especially). They even communicate among themselves in a special way, signing letters "yours in Christ," etc. 4. Fortress mentality. Clerics see the outside world as "secular" and the church as "the body of Christ" to be protected from its influences. Celibacy reinforces that view. 5. Canon law. The church keeps its own "canon law" with its own attorneys and courts, with jurisdiction over all its personnel. A typical sex abuse case is a "graviora delicta." The offending priest is transferred or suspended and sent for a few months treatment to an out-state rehabilitation center. At worst, the priest's "faculties" are suspended and he is directed to request laicization.
Carolyn Disco
5 years 10 months ago
Thank you for your comment. After more than a decade of studying secret church archives released by court order, I am however far beyond 'shocked' at this point. Please continue to read files on of attorney general, district attorney and grand jury investigations of numerous dioceses. One justice department official commented to me on the similarity of hierarchical responses across the country; the playbook was well-trod. Mahony is in a very long line of prelates with like records. Though I do think his legal hardball to keep the truth hidden is perhaps more creative, expensive and hard line obstructionist than average. Still he managed to drag things out long enough to retire before files were released. Thanks to survivor attorneys and advocates, we know some documents were held back this week, but the archdiocesan attorney has no idea how that happened. I highly recommend a column of Eugene Kennedy's on the Gomez record --- wherein his 'shocked' response in LA mimics that of Captain Renault of Casablanca fame. The facts are very enlightening. The beat goes on.
Vincent Gaitley
5 years 10 months ago
The Cardinal should remove his Red Hat and not participate in the coming Conclave. It would be an act of humility and penance that would demonstrate that bishops whose nonfeasance and malfeasance have no business electing a Pope. Sadly, Mahony is not the only Cardinal who should avoid this solemn duty. And isn't this election, while behind closed doors, a public act? A ministry of election? Stay home Cardinal.


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