Cardinal Mahoney’s Humiliation

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, the former archbishop of Los Angeles who, like so many of his colleagues, went to great lengths to conceal priests who raped children in his diocese, has a blog. And after the release of thousands of documents that proved his complicity in those crimes, that poor man is feeling humiliated. But that’s okay, because he’s bearing it all for Jesus.

But as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are actually called to the fullness of humility: humiliation, and publicly.

Today’s Gospel gives us the stark reality and immediate challenge: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” {Luke 9:23] Daily means each and every day, not now and then on our faith journeys, and on our terms.

That desire flows from our lips so easily, but we seldom mean it fully and internally. It’s almost a spiritual throw-away for us. But Jesus means it so deeply.

Given all of the storms that have surrounded me and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently, God’s grace finally helped me to understand: I am not being called to serve Jesus in humility. Rather, I am being called to something deeper–to be humiliated, disgraced, and rebuffed by many.

I was not ready for this challenge. Ash Wednesday changed all of that, and I see Lent 2013 as a special time to reflect deeply upon this special call by Jesus.

To be honest with you, I have not reached the point where I can actually pray for more humiliation. I’m only at the stage of asking for the grace to endure the level of humiliation at the moment.

In the past several days, I have experienced many examples of being humiliated. In recent days, I have been confronted in various places by very unhappy people. I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage–at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us.

Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.

Yes, Cardinal, it’s all about you. It’s not about the children who were raped and had their lives destroyed because you deliberately chose to protect the criminals that victimized them. It’s all about you and how terribly humiliated you feel by having your own crimes made public. But you shouldn’t be thanking God, you should be thanking the local prosecutor, who has not indicted you even though your crimes of aiding and abetting and engaging in a conspiracy to cover up the most heinous crimes imaginable have been made clear by documents from within your own office. You should feel damn lucky that the only thing you’re getting is hostile comments from people in a grocery store. You should be in prison, you sick bastard.

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  • Synfandel

    …I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.

    Them? Forgive THEM?!

    1. If anyone should be begging for forgiveness, it’s the Cardinal.

    2. The people he has to beg forgiveness from is not God, but his victims.

  • As a (part time) mediaevalist I feel sorry for them, all they were doing was trying to maintain the old Privilegium Clericale, and suddenly a few hundred years pass without them really noticing (how time flies) and everyone starts getting at them.

    Poor dears.

  • tbp1

    Yes, as you point out, the astonishing thing about this is he manages to make it all about him, and to paint himself as the victim. And it’s clear he’s feeling terribly sorry for himself.

  • erichoug

    I am truly baffled by the church’s response to the child rape scandal. I mean how fucking difficult is it.

    “Oh, you had sex with a 12 year old boy in your parish? Well sit right there…”

    “Yes, hello LAPD, I need you to come and pick someone up.”

    “Dear Congregation, father so and so confessed to raping a boy in this church, if any other children in this church have had any sort of inappropriate contact with father so and so, please come and see me after the service. An LAPD sex crimes detective will be present. Remember, YOU have done absolutely nothing wrong and you should not be ashamed or feel bad in any way about coming forward. Also, I will immediately absolve you of anything you feel you need absolution for regarding this matter.”

    Seriously, how did that NOT happen?

  • dingojack

    “I have not reached the point where I can actually pray for more humiliation…..”

    So is that your best shot at mitigation for this series of crimes, is it?

    You weren’t ready to admit complicticity so you covered up it up.

    Accessory, before, during and after the the fact of child molestation, pedophilia, rape, sexual assault and indecent assault of a minor – and that just for starters…


  • teawithbertrand

    Wow. Just…wow. Mahoney is a world class asshole on every conceivable level, isn’t he?

  • Draken

    Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.

    The outrageous smugness, the pig-headed denial, the constant whining makes me want to kick something soft and living. A priest perhaps.

  • Draken

    Comments on his blog are turned off. Surprise, surprise.

  • People, please! It must be awful being him, under the dirty glare of public opinion like that. You’re lucky that he’s a big enough man to forgive you. If anything, you should be apologizing to him. He feels like he’s been raped.

  • erichoug

    I mean FUCKING seriously. Let’s say you worked for a large corporation that ran daycare centers. You are the district manager and you find out that one of your employees has raped one of the kids the daycare. You are not only bound by law to immediately report this to the police, you are morally obligated to do so.

    What kind of sick fuck not only would tell you that you don’t need to report child rape to the cops but that you are likely to be fired oh, and also to suffer torment for all eternity for doing so? Seriously? What kind of a completely fucked up human being do you have to be just to go along with something like that?

  • Draken
  • Trebuchet

    @erichoug, #4

    Seriously, how did that NOT happen?

    Well, he was under orders from some guy named Ratzinger to keep it covered up, on pain of excommunication. And in the end, it comes down to that famous root of all evil, money. Doing the right thing had the potential of costing the RCC millions in lawsuits and billions in contributions.

  • tubi

    What a douche. And as noted above, no way to comment on his douchery.

    Fuck Roger Mahoney. Fuck Joe the Rat. And fuck all Catholics who defend them and the church.

  • unbound

    Just like the high level executives of any corporation, the cardinal is simply out of touch with reality. The customer is really only relevant in terms of how much money can be made from them, and impacts to the customer is judged by cost-benefit analysis. The child rape scandal hasn’t resulted in massive losses of their customers…er, the faithful…so their PR campaign has been successful.

    Just like McDonalds and the coffee lawsuit, the church has pushed their PR hard with their customers to think that the church was actually innocent of the whole matter, things just happen every now and then, and that the people hurt were incompetent / asking for it. Although a few people understand the full scope of the church’s culpability (same goes for the McDonald’s incident), the masses largely accept what the large, well-financed corporation…er, church…has to say on the matter.

    The cardinal’s blog simply continues the PR campaign.

  • It’s only cheating if you get caught, and if you get caught, the people who caught you are the ones at fault.

  • How did that NOT happen?

    I know a devoutly Catholic family, the patriarch of which had been raped by a priest when he was twelve. To make a long story short the family is now in it’s third consecutive generation of child molesting with the latest perp having served time.

    The family’s take on this: “Evil came to the house”. Were any violators personally responsible for their actions? No. It wasn’t them. It was “evil”. And so they continue to pray and go to church. Arg!

  • grumpyoldfart

    I don’t think he’s feeling at all humiliated. He’s still living the good life, still drawing his pension, and he will never have to appear in court, or spend time in jail. I think he does a little victory jig around his lounge room every night and marvels at the authorities who haven’t got the guts to arrest him for his crimes.

  • baal

    Cardinal Mahoney: ” have not reached the point where I can actually pray for more humiliation.”

    My amateur psychologist hat suggests that he could get out from being constantly humiliated by going against the Vatican and denouncing priests while publishing which priests were covered up and where they are today. Honesty and doing what you can to actually fix things helps.

  • grumpyoldfart “I think he does a little victory jig around his lounge room every night and marvels at the authorities who haven’t got the guts to arrest him for his crimes.”

    What a chump. He could’ve been a banker.

  • He says he understands why all those angry people are so angry, he “asks” his God to bless and forgive them (as if THEY’RE the ones who’ve done wrong and need forgiveness?!)…but he doesn’t say jack shit about actually using his power, ever, to make any of it right.

    And he’s not even getting the “humiliation” bit right — I’m pretty sure those kids who got raped by his chums got a good deal more of that wunnerful God-given blessing of humiliation than he ever will. (Is he getting ready to pretend those kids were “blessed” not victimized?)

    I gotta give that disgusting cult credit for one thing: their ability to merge sheer narcissism with self-flagellating humility is a feat worthy of James Burke’s old TV show “Connections.”

  • Oh, and is this CARDINAL going to be voting for the next Pope? ‘Cause if so, that will be a huge spoodge-stain on the papacy, and the entire Church, that will NEVER go away.

    Same question regarding CARDINAL Bernard Law.

  • ArtK

    In my opinion, there isn’t enough humiliation in the world for Cardinal Mahoney. If I believed in karma, I would say that this was payback for his overwhelming hubris. Under his reign, the diocese bilked the poor and faithful raised millions of dollars and built an enormous cathedral. The previous cathedral, St. Vibianas was just too small and old for the cardinal, as well as being in a not-so-nice part of downtown Los Angeles. The new cathedral is right by the freeway where everyone can see it and you don’t have to trip over as many bums to get to it.

    To me, the definition of hypocrisy is a church spending millions and millions on buildings while ignoring the poor, when that church was founded by a guy who told his followers to give away all of their material possessions. It’s claiming the moral high ground while ignoring (at best) the weakest and most vulnerable.

    There is no justification on earth (or in heaven, if there were such a place) that could excuse the damage that these people have done to the world.

  • shouldbeworking

    The humble cardinal has the comments turned off. SOP (standard oppressive patriarchy) rules: we tell you the Truth(tm).

    Useless coward scumbag.

  • A. Noyd

    “Injustices that swirl around us.” They’re just out there like fog or bees or willow fluff.

  • Trebuchet

    @RagingB ee, #21:

    Oh, and is this CARDINAL going to be voting for the next Pope? ‘Cause if so, that will be a huge spoodge-stain on the papacy, and the entire Church, that will NEVER go away.

    According to Wikipedia, he’s only 76 (77 as of next week) so yeah, he’s still eligible. Perhaps after he goes to Rome for the conclave he’ll just hide out in the Vatican to avoid prosecution, like Ratzo.

    Cardinal Law is 81. I think the cutoff for voting is 80 these days.

  • dugglebogey

    How magnanimous for him to forgive people for humiliating him.

    I didn’t see an apology or any indication that he felt he did anything wrong…

    That seems lacking.

  • Cardinal Law is 81. I think the cutoff for voting is 80 these days.

    So he was allowed to vote in the last conclave, the one that elected Ratzinger? Any record of who he voted for?

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