New York Times Editorial
January 27, 2013
The Cardinal and the Truth

No member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy fought longer and more energetically than Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles to conceal the decades-long scandal involving the rape and intimidation of children by rogue priests. For years, the cardinal withheld seamy church records from parents, victims and the public, brandishing endless litigation and fatuous claims of confidentiality.

The breadth of Cardinal Mahony’s cover-up became shockingly clear last week with the release in court of archdiocese records detailing how he and a top aide concocted cynical strategies to keep police authorities in the dark and habitual offenders beyond the reach of criminal prosecution.

“Sounds good — please proceed!” the cardinal, now retired, instructed in 1987 after the aide, Msgr. Thomas Curry, cautioned against therapy for one confessed predator — lest the therapist feel obliged to tell authorities and scandalize the archdiocese. The two discussed another priest, Msgr. Peter Garcia, who admitted specializing in the rape of Latino immigrant children and threatened at least one boy with deportation if he complained. Cardinal Mahony ordered that he stay out of California after his release from a New Mexico treatment center out of fear that “we might very well have some type of legal action filed in both the criminal and civil sectors.” Monsignor Curry worried that there might be 20 young people able to identify the priest in “first-degree felony” cases.

It was the cardinal’s obligation under the primacy of secular law to instantly notify authorities of any priest’s criminal behavior. Instead, he invoked a nonexistent church privilege to hide miscreant clergy and shield the church and his own reputation. Cardinal Mahony has repeatedly apologized in recent years and insisted that the archdiocese was mending its ways. A lawyer for the archdiocese insisted that the scandal and the cardinal’s cover-up were “part of the past.” Not really. While statutes of limitations on possible criminal charges may have run out, Cardinal Mahony and his former aide could be deposed in civil suits. Monsignor Curry also managed to advance up the hierarchical ladder and would seem to merit instant removal from his current post as auxiliary bishop for Santa Barbara.


2 thoughts on “New York Times on Cardinal Mahony

  1. Further evidence of criminal activity by yet another American Bishop, this time a Cardinal. How many Bishops and Cardinals have to be revealed as criminals before one must conclude that the entire Episcopacy has been following a universal policy of covering up crimes against children throughout the world? Anyone who studies the massive evidence must conclude that there was a universal pattern of cover-up because Rome expected these cases to be kept secret as a matter of obedience to the Vatican.

    I ask “What Bishop in what diocese has turned accused pedophile priests over to civilian police authorities before 2002?” The answer is none!
    This can be no accident. The universal pattern of secret intimidation of victims can be no accident. I for one see the error in the Episcopacy as absolute obedience to Rome with underlying secret procedures and consutations within the Episcopacy. The diplomatic immunity of the papal nucio certainly allows for confidential communication to bishops on how to handle scandals. Exposure and transparency is the only way to redemption.

    Bishops are still free to keep whatever secrets they want under wraps.
    None are punished for their crimes. All continue in office. They only suffer temporary public humiliation. They retain their power and priviledges. They still have a loyal group of followers who pay them homage and deference.
    They still exercise authority in the church. The still parade in their vestments as the Catholic representatives to all of society. They still speak at public functions about morality.

    Defenders of the Episcopacy think that the bishop’s expressions of sorrow and apology should be sufficient, for forgiveness and reconciliation. I might be more sympathetic to this, if this was an isolated case of one bishop in one diocese. In spite of evidence to the contrary, the problem is that no bishop has admitted under oath that their was consutation or collusion with higher church authorities. Nor has any bishop admitted he was following church policies and procedures when covering up the scandals. The fact that bishops have escaped prosecution has kept the true universal nature of the scandal hidden.

    The priests’ scandal has been fully exposed. The Episcopacy’s scandal has not been fully exposed. Furthermore I submit the fact that each and every bishop still has the unresteained power to return to the policy of covering up scandals anytime he pleases. Nothing has really changed except temporary public awareness. When it fades from memory our children’s children will be subject to these same evils. And that is why the universal nature of the Episcopacy’s scandal must be fully exposed all the way to Rome.

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