Bishops Behaving Badly, Joliet Edition

By: Saturday March 23, 2013 10:40 am

Another week, another court-ordered document dump of records that detail the abuses covered up by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. This time, it’s Joliet, Illinois.

While the bishop that comes off worst in these files is retired, another former bishop of Joliet is not only still active, but has been promoted and currently serves in several powerful roles with the USCCB: J. Peter Sartain of Portland.

For victims, this isn’t about simply getting their own abuse to stop anymore. It’s not about money for counseling, treatment, and other things. It’s about making visible the behavior of not only the priests but the bishops who protected them.

 

A Humble Suggestion for the College of Cardinals

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 9:00 am

Father James Martin, SJ, humbly proposed to the college of cardinals that they look beyond their own ranks for a new pope, and offered himself as an obvious choice. (Gotta love those Jesuits and their fine sense of humor!). But I think the good father didn’t go far enough.

Things are in a real tough place for the Roman Catholic church, from the scandal of bishops protecting priests who sexually abused children from the law to the non-transparency of the Vatican Bank that is putting their relationship with major EU banks in jeopardy to liturgical translation battles and other worship wars to . . . well, you get the idea. What is needed is something — someone — really outside the box. Someone that will capture the attention of the world. Someone whose selection will be so out-of-the-blue that it could only be seen as a miracle, an act of God. Someone like . . .

Cardinal Mahony Turns Water Into Whine

By: Saturday February 16, 2013 9:00 am

I’m going to try to be charitable, but Cardinal Roger Mahony makes that very tough with his blog post Thursday about what he’s experienced since the 12,000 pages of documents related to his handling of clergy child sexual abusers became public. Apparently, he has found it difficult to be the target of angry people who speak insultingly of his work to hide rapists and neglect their victims. But don’t cry for Mahony, because he’s doing all right with it: “Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.”

The water of baptism may be at the heart of the Christian church, but Mahony has turned that water into whine.

A Little Fundraising Advice for LA Archbishop Gomez

By: Friday February 8, 2013 6:42 am

According to the Los Angeles Times, Roman Catholic Archbishop José H. Gomez is worried about money. Says the paper, “The archdiocese has hired a New York company, Guidance In Giving Inc., to study the feasibility of a large-scale fundraiser that would shore up a bottom line hit hard by costly abuse litigation.” How large is large-scale? The Times puts the size of the proposed campaign at $200 million.

Cardinal Mahony Confirms That Archbishop Gomez Knew of Mahony’s Actions

By: Saturday February 2, 2013 9:00 am

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the Roman Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of LA, seems to agree with at least part of what I said yesterday about the actions of current LA Archbishop José H. Gomez. Mahony certainly confirmed that Gomez didn’t suddenly learn of how Mahony handled things in the last few weeks, and that as the two of them collaborated closely on the transition from one to the other, “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.”

Reading Mahony’s letter today only reinforces my suspicions that Gomez’s recent actions against Mahony were not driven by any sense of outrage, but rather are aimed at deflecting criticism of the archdiocese onto his predecessor. But insofar as Gomez kept silence until the courts forced disclosure — as Mahony says that Gomez has done — Gomez is as complicit as Mahony, and the actions to restrict Mahony’s public ministry are more window dressing for the public and less the product of disgust at Mahony’s conduct.

I look forward to hearing Archbishop Gomez’s reply.

Better Late Than Never for Archbishop Gomez on Handling Cardinal Mahony

By: Friday February 1, 2013 7:48 am

Roman Catholic Archbishop José H. Gomez shook the Catholic world yesterday by imposing unheard-of sanctions against his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony for Mahony’s actions to shield predatory priests from accountability during his years as the head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In most of the coverage, this was rightly hailed as a strong action to advance the cause of justice, and to provided at least a measure of accountability even though criminal liability is probably not possible because the statute of limitations has probably expired. The coverage misses one very negative aspect of Gomez’ actions, however.

Priorities

By: Tuesday January 22, 2013 1:30 am

The now Cardinal Mahony didn’t let a little obstruction of justice in regard to pedophilia get in the way or his making important moral pronouncements about stuff he feels more outrageous than child abuse — providing birth control to consenting adults.

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