Mahony Continues to Make a Spectacle of Himself

Now he’s the Suffering Servant, identifying himself with Jesus as he was prophecied in Isaiah 53.  He humbly writes of himself:

The poem of the Suffering Servant is important for all of us who are disciples of Jesus Christ since we are called to imitate his words, actions, and life.  Part of that journey will always entail suffering from time to time.  But what makes Jesus’ suffering so different, and so important for us, is that he lived out Isaiah’s prophecy fully:  “…he did not open his mouth…”

That means never rationalizing what is happening in our lives, never protesting misunderstandings, and never getting angry because of false accusations.  And that is so difficult for us human beings.  It is certainly difficult for me on my journey.

This could have something to do with the fact that the accusations against the Cardinal–that he protected people who sexually abused children from prosecution and ran a cosa nostra devoted to the twin tasks of hiding this and aggrandizing his sociopathic narcissistic self–are not false accusations, but true ones.  And now the guy is running a vendetta against his successor and using his blog to stage a last stand of disgusting self-pity.  I wish the LA prosecutor would press charges and jail him before the conclave.  He belongs behind bars. What a repellent spectacle.

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  • Michael

    I’ll just copy my comment from Rod Dreher’s post on this:

    Jesus was silent. Just like me! It’s so hard to be silent, but I am! I’m not saying anything at all! It’d be so easy to draw attention to how much I’m suffering and the unfairness of it all but I’m not! Yayy me, I’m like Jesus!

    He couldn’t be more pleased with himself if he were masturbating.

  • Chris

    Is Mahony getting PR advice from Kim Jong-un?

  • Scotty

    Mark, please stop feeding Cardinal Troll. Let him hold his pathetic blog pity-party and stare at his navel all he wants. There must be more worthy topics competing for your attention.

  • Always the contrarian, I just want to point out that when Christ stood before Pilate, he took on Cardinal Mohony’s sins as well as our own. If the Cardinal senses some comformity to Christ in his own downfall, it could well be a sign of his genuine repentance and contrition.

    • Scotty

      “He was assigned a grave with the wicked… though he had done no wrong, nor spoken any falsehood.”

      It’s not a stretch to think Cardinal Mahoney wishes to identity himself with *only* that phrase of the Suffering Servant passage. This so closely mirrors the whole spin the Legion of Christ put on Marcial Maciel’s downfall it’s sickening.

    • Mark Shea

      I wish I could believe that. It reads to me like a sociopathic narcissist pitying himself and doing whatever he can to undermine his successor and get back at those who are calling him to show contrition. He’d sound more contrite if he showed contrition. All he does is protest his martyred innocence.

    • Kenneth

      I sense some conformity with Paul Erdos because I also drink coffee by the pot. That could be a sign that I’m one of history’s most brilliant and prolific mathematicians. But I wouldn’t bet my pocket lint on that, if I were you.

      I’ll say this: If I’m ever in the dock for a serious crime, I want you on my jury!

  • Kenneth

    I think anyone who wants to wear the Christ label ought to put up or shut up by walking the taking the full ride of that experience. Since he’s spinning himself as the Persecuted Christ, by my reckoning, that puts him about due for a good flogging and kangaroo court hearing. Mossad, or whoever handled “Prisoner X” could probably loan a Sanhedrin crew. As for the imperial legal infrastructure for extrajudicial execution, well, we’ve already got that covered, as per the White House.

    Personally, if I were casting director, I’d say Mahony would make a better portrayal of Nero than Jesus, but it’s his production….

  • Barb Nicolosi

    What I don’t understand is why we are even hearing from this sorry soul at this point. My friend told me Mahoney was preaching at a Mass in North Hollywood last week. I thought he was “removed from public ministry” in the Archdiocese!?!? Makes me want to retch.

    • Chris

      He’s been out in Pomona, as well, from what I understand.

    • A Random Friar

      There had been a clarification sent through the diocese, that he and Bishop Curry (who resigned his auxiliary post) are “bishops in good standing,” and may celebrate the Sacraments publicly.

      The cardinal is removed from administrative and diocesan duties. I think concretely this means he will not represent the archbishop or diocese in things like ordinations, confirmations, etc. He still resides at the same parish in North Hollywood.

  • Chris

    Conformity? Jesus was innocent. (Details, I know.)

    The Cardinal might do better with sackcloth and ashes and turning himself in.

  • Jonathan Carpenter

    Mr. Shea a good topic for a future post is why haven’t the Prosecutors ever tried to make cases against Mahony, Law Based on Dreher’s posts there is all this evidence of misconduct and illegality by Cardinals , Bishops etc. you have to wonder why these people aren’t doing their jobs?

    • Mark Shea

      Beats me. I’m not a lawyer.

    • Kenneth

      There are several reasons. One is that the bishops have often proven themselves to be sophisticated criminals, keeping things under wraps until statutes of limitations run out. They took full advantage of the fact that it takes decades for abused men to come to terms with that and to seek justice. Abusive priests were shuffled around the country. In the case of Bernard Law, he was essentially given asylum in the Vatican itself, which, as far as I know, has no extradition arrangements and it gave Law the cover of “diplomatic immunity.”

      Part of the failure stems from our own legal and cultural shortcomings. Laws about mandatory reporting for bishops were not always existent, or clear. We also have a bad habit of giving our oligarchs a huge benefit of the doubt and a hands-off treatment that lets them skate on most things most of the time. Make no mistake about it, archbishops in major cities are, or have been, oligarchs of a sort. They carry a lot of weight and status, and until recently, prosecutors and lawmakers had nothing to gain by going after them.

      Fortunately, that shield is beginning to crack ala the Finn case. I hope Mahony’s case is aggressively reviewed and prosecuted if possible. Even with hazy reporting laws and statutes of limitations, obstruction of justice remains a crime, and one that continues long after the original crime is untouchable in law.

  • Subsistent

    It seems that, besides the you-know-who “conservative” folk heroes, we have a “liberal” folk hero not only in Gary Wills but also in Cdl. Mahony. Watch one or more of his fans come onto this thread and quite politely accuse Mr. Shea of being “SINFUL!” for either the substance or the manner of his denunciation of the cardinal.

    • Claude

      Excuse me, but what? Just how do you justify characterizing His Eminence as a “liberal folk hero”? This I’ve got to hear.

      • Bill

        Well, he always has been.

        • Claude

          How so? Please keep in mind that Cdl. Mahony was off my radar until the scandal.

          • A Random Friar

            Cardinal Mahony had always been a strong supporter of immigrant and migrant workers. The LA Times used to absolutely love him for it, and for his style. He was one of the “pioneers” in using lay administrators in place of pastors. His “L.A. Religious Congress”es always had a heavy tilt toward what could be called liberal presenters.

            • Claude

              Thank you for the backstory. Yes, as a liberal I would have been sympathetic to such an orientation, so I concede.

              But I cannot stomach another word of Cdl. Mahony’s chronicle of martyrdom. Others here have been eloquent on the subject, so I will only add: gross.

  • Fr. Frank

    Mahony is scheduled for a 4-hour deposition this Saturday. I wonder if it could result in his arrest? The article below states there will be no questions that are off-limits this time. That will be a first.

  • Jonathan Carpenter

    I know you are not a lawyer. I think the reason they do not want to open that can of worms is because they are afraid of adding more people who are guilty. Case in point, in England their Parliament had this inquiry into Media misconduct called the Leveson Inquiry. Initially everyone thought the Illegal Acts where done strictly by Rupert Murdoch’s Journalists. While a great many of these acts were done by them; it was further revealed that quite a few Journalists and others where involved in these affairs. They reached across all Ideologies and professions. It is for this reason I think the Prosecutors do not want to open that can of worms with Mahony et al. Your thoughts?

    • Mark Shea

      Again, beats me. I have no idea how this stuff works. My responses are pretty elemental: “Put bad man who protected child molestors in jail. Make him suffer for crime till he repents. Ugh.”

      • James

        And you know he has not repented how?
        Mark, I agree that Mahony puts himself in a bad light–even confuses the faithful and makes it hard for the rest of us with these posts of his and there clearly seems to be much to answer for. But you have not covered yourself in glory either in the way you have handled either your posts about him or the commentators (the comment about masturbating, for instance–no place on a blog like this; sheer, vulgar, meanness.). If Mahony is guilty, he should face charges. If he is convicted, he should serve time. If there is a canonical basis for his removal or laicization or any other punishment, it should be applied. If he is repentant (something you don’t and can’t know) he will be forgiven. This continued discussion by those who can do nothing but pray for the victims, the abusers AND Mahony seems very out of place, especially in Lent. Why do you feel compelled to stir the pot? If you want him to shut up and go away (your words) why not consider that course of action for yourself on this particular topic? Perhaps the occasional thought of yours should be unpublished….

  • It is so sad that he can’t just humbly repent and go into seclusion. This public battle is hurting him, the victims and the Church. For the life of me, even considering the times, culture & society, I will never understand why they hid those who violated the law and harmed minors? Jail is the appropriate place when you harm minors in such a vile fashion. God help us all.

  • Will

    I sincerely mean no offense when I say that this type of thing makes me wonder why anyone in our modern world considers the Catholic Church to be a moral authority. The Pope hides in his fortress to keep his victims’ lawsuits at bay, his former Cardinals write homilies singing their own praises when they aren’t covering further abuses.

    You yourself describe this man as a sociopathic narcissist. Why in the world would anyone believe that yours is the one true church, if these men are chosen by your god to run it? You’re “Catholic and Enjoying It?” HOW?!

    • Mark Shea

      Because the Faith is Jesus Christ, not these guys and not, thank God, me. I didn’t become Catholic because bishops held some sort of “moral authority”. The Church lost its “moral authority” when Judas betrayed, Peter denied, and the disciples abandoned Jesus. It is Jesus’ Holy Spirit that makes the Church holy, not us fallen members.

      And, by the way, you are being unfair to Benedict. You are also overlooking the fact that sin is not the only or the most fundamental fact about the Church. Jesus is. The problem with the Church is not that it is especially sinful, but that it is boringly and ordinarily sinful when it is given the grace to be so much more. Jesus has only a pool of sinners to choose from to run the joint.

    • kara

      First of all, we in no way believe that God chooses modern bishops to lead the Church. I don’t know where that train of thought comes from. Christ, when he was alive, handpicked twelve men. That was the last time He had a direct hand in the process. And of those twelve? One betrayed Him to His deat and another denied Him publically in His hour of need. We aren’t Catholic because our leaders are perfect. We’re Catholic because our Church in her doctrines contains the fullness of truth.

      • Jeremy Dobbs

        Actually, apostolic succession is a sign of the true Church of Christ “Wherefore we must obey the priests of the Church who have succession from the Apostles, as we have shown, who, together with succession in the episcopate, have received the mark of truth according to the will of the Father; all others, however, are to be suspected, who separated themselves from the principal succession.” St. Irenaeus Adversus Haeresus IV:26

        • kara

          I understood Apostolic Successsion meant that there was an unbroken line from Peter to the presnent Pope, and I agree with you. However, it doesn’t mean that God directly intervenes in the choosing of the Pope (which, as BXVI poiunted out, would have resulted in some very bad Popes). All men are imperfect and therefore we don’t rely on broken men for our faith in the Catholic church.

      • Subsistent

        Without disagreeing with “kara”, I recall that one of Pope Benedict’s aphorisms has been: “We don’t possess the truth; the truth possesses us.”

        • kara

          I love that! I hadn’t heard it before.

    • S. Murphy

      Will, the Faith has never rested on the purity of any of the sinners who practice it. Christ suffered, died, and rose for all our sins, including those of his Apostles, and their successors. As a reader named Ghosty said in these comboxes the other day, we expect one bishop in every dozen to betray the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. And the other 11 ran away, too. So, while it’s disappointing when our shepherds demonstrate their sinfulness in spectacular and even criminal style, it’s no reason to walk away from Jesus Christ, and his sacraments. Or, for that matter, from the majority of priests, and probably even a good number of bishops, who aren’t criminals in any respect. We also don’t exectly blame God for picking the bishops – that’s a responsibility he’s left, basically, to other bishops. We believe he protects the Pope, and the bishops in communion with the Pope, from teaching false doctrine. We don’t particularly expect him to protect them from choosing, of their own free will, to sin, either in private or in the execution of their office.

      • Doug Sirman

        One stayed put. One out of twelve stayed.

  • john noodle

    The short answer, Will: Judas.

  • Marty Helgesen

    Judas was personally chosen by God incarnate, Jesus Christ. These scandals are just what Jesus referred to: “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” Luke 17:1 (King James translation) The Catholic Douay-Rheims translation gives, “And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come.”

    Bishops are not chosen directly by God. They are chosen by the leaders of the Church under the Pope. God gives priestly and episcopal authority to men whom Church leaders ordain and consecrate. The sins by God’s Chosen People that are recorded in the Old Testament are additional evidence that we don’t know enough to be able to say what God, or His chosen representatives, will do.
    There are numerous books of apologetics which show from scriptural and other evidence that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ, with the Apostles as the first bishops and St. Peter the first Pope.

  • Jamie R

    I know this is beside the point, but it’s a psalm, not a poem. A cardinal should the difference between a poem and a psalm.

    • What’s the difference between a psalm and a poem?

      • Andy, Bad Person

        One is Scripture, the other is not necessarily Scripture.

        I would say that all Psalms are poems, but not all poems are Psalms. Furthermore, as a musician I would point out that Psalms are not only poems, but songs.

  • Selah

    Kara ,
    I must , in all due respect , disagree with your statement that the doctrines of the RCC ” contain the fullness of truth “.The RC system has devised a priesthood and has built in every church an altar and around that altar continues to sacrifice tens of thousands of times every day, reinventing the Levitical priesthood.Kara , if you were to read Hebrews 7 : 26-28 , you will notice it says ” once for all “. Hebrews 9 : 24-28 repeats the thought. Jesus does not need to offer Himself often– He doesn’t need to suffer repeatedly. There is a word ” Ephapax ” meaning ” once for all time “. Jesus’s redeeming act on the Cross was so ” decisive ” and accomplished so much that it need never be repeated. You wonder why you always see a crucifix in the RCC and not an empty cross ?
    J.C. Ryle , a protestant said : ‘ Romanism is a gigantic system of church worship, sacrament worship, relic worship , Mary worship , saint worship and Pope worship. The RCC system is a pompous display of wealth , lavish indulgence in robes , a man wearing a gold crown triple decked with jewels worth millons.A system of man-made rules that can change at the drop of a hat.Unbiblical doctrine such ” baptism sprinkling ” guranteeing salvation instead of biblical ” immersion “. ( Jesus was immersed in water and not sprinkled ) . A system that does not obey the words of the Bible but takes it marching orders from the Vatican and has had a history of ” secrecy” and cover up thru out it’s history.Kara , fullness of truth? I don’t think so !

    • kara

      Wow. Just… Wow. Tell you what, when I have a few hours, I’ll come back and deal with this, but until then, I remain convinced that the religion I have studied for many, many years, teach to the next generation, and personally adhere to, contains the fullness of truth. I don’t now who you are or what (if any) religion you profess, but I’ll pray for you. I hope you don’t find that offensive.

      • Anson

        Hard to pinpoint exactly, but it would appear to be some manifestation of Evangelicalism. The hang up on the mode of baptism (immersion is only legitimate form) would suggest this is from the more conservative branch. Sounds suspiciously like Church of Christ, but could be some element of Baptist or Pentecostal background. The taunting about Catholic Churches having a crucified Jesus on the cross rather than an open cross sounds like typical populist/kitsch that I remember hearing growing up.

    • kara

      Also, Selah, since I don’t know anything about your personal form of worship, I’m not going to make assumptions about it, or you, or quote people who have a ridiculous ax to grind against your church. Maybe in the future you could afford everyone else the same courtesy.

      • Anson

        You’re right. I should not have made assumptions either.

    • Margaret

      I have all of three seconds to reply to this, so I’ll just take a nibble at the first assertion. Dude (or Dudette?) please start by getting Catholic theology correct before you attempt to show its errors.

      We have also read Hebrews, thank you, and know full well that Christ died once for all. Hence we don’t teach that every Mass is a new sacrifice (or re-sacrifice) of Christ on Calvary.

      Hopefully this has whet your appetite enough to want to go learn what the Catholic church actually does teach about the sacrificial nature of the Mass. One last hint: go read directly from a few Catholic sources, not Protestant glosses on “what the Catholic Church *really* teaches.”

      • Selah, before you attempt to explain to Catholics what our own beliefs are, at least take a look at the proper sources:

        “The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:
        [Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.” (187) (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 1366. Footnote 187 cites: Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740; cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 11:23; ⇒ Heb 7:24, ⇒ 27).

        So: The official catechism of the Catholic Church agrees totally with you about Christ being sacrificed once for all, and cites Hebrews 7:24-27 to prove it as you do. Read the rest and you will get the whole picture.

        You can find the Catechism online at

        You now have no further excuse in this world to spout the kind of nonsense you just did.

    • enness

      We do NOT believe that Jesus suffers repeatedly. We are following his specific instructions, “Do this in memory of me.” There’s also “Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
      Who is this “J.C. Ryle, a protestant” and why is he (or she?) considered a credible source on anything Catholic?

      • enness

        Aha: John Charles Ryle, 1816-1900, first Anglican bishop of Liverpool (the internet can be a marvelous thing).
        Yeah…really impartial, I’m sure.

  • The tone here is one of self-righteousness and maybe self-comforting judgement. The Cardinal will be judged by God and perhaps by the secular authorities. This Church has had enough grief out of these scandals without indulging itself in a moral tar and feather party.

    The Church’s moral authority is desperately needed now and it has been degraded, and disgraced. Let’s not make things worse.

    We could do worse than say: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner.

  • Less self-righteousness.

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner.

  • Selah,
    The whole ‘pompous display of wealth , lavish indulgence in robes , a man wearing a gold crown triple decked with jewels worth millons (sic)’ etc. thang was gracefully and humanely euthanised by G. K. Chesterton when he pointed out that while St. Thomas Becket was wearing jewel-encrusted vestments on the altar he wore a hair-shirt underneath; it was instead the sober-suited Victorian evangelical magnate, mutton-chops neatly trimmed and stovepipe hat at a respectable angle, who kept his gold where it really mattered to him – in his wallet, close to his heart.

  • Many of you make it seem as if the Cardinal is a member of some other Church. It is rank and obvious displacement: “It is he, not us.”

    No, it is our Church and it happened in our Church.

    • S. Murphy

      thanks, Pavel. You’re right, adn it needed to be said.

  • James

    I’m not sure we ought to be too hard on Selah, or for that matter, on anyone on the outside looking in who doesn’t fully comprehend what he or she is looking at. I’m a lifelong Catholic and I’ll be the first to admit that it all must look pretty bizarre to somebody observing the Church from the outside. If non-Catholics look at all of our externals and see something horrifying, they probably won’t be inclined to imagine that they have misjudged matters at all if the reactions they read from Catholics to their concerns are indignant, scolding, and self-righteous, as opposed to loving and compassionate.

    The truth is that, while Selah, we understand through catechesis, is mistaken about the fundamentals, Selah isn’t necessarily mistaken about everything Selah sees . Let’s face it, there is an apparent disconnect between the way the First Eucharist was celebrated and the way today’s Eucharist is celebrated (especially in more ‘high church’ environments, if I may borrow an Anglican term). On the surface, it does rather look as if we’ve abandoned the Lord’s Table in favor of returning to the Temple. Let’s be frank…when the Lord said do THIS in memory of me, THIS didn’t include a host of cassocked inferior ministers and ‘altar boys’, swinging thuribles, polyphonic choirs, elaborate vestments, rood screens and iconostases, golden vessels and brass metalware, statuary, pipe organs, and complex Byzantine ceremonial.

    I think it’s fair to say that any of the Apostles at that First Eucharist would be every bit as bewildered by today’s presentation of the Lord’s Supper as Selah is. I think one could very safely imagine, in fact, that if Saint Peter were to have somehow been mystically transported to 1950, he would have been utterly appalled and horrified to see his successor crowned, jewel-bedecked, elaborately robed, and born aloft on a gilded portable throne carried by liveried servants amidst all the pomp of the Pharaonic Court to the applause and cheers of the masses. It wouldn’t have made any more sense to Peter than it makes to Selah or to others like Selah.

    The fact of the matter is that our Church…Christ’s Church…has taken on attributes of worldy pomp and magnificence that do tend to disguise the essence of what the Church is, at heart. I, myself, often wonder about the need for it all. The Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI attempted to rectify alot of that, I think. If our own pastors recognized excess in the area of the Church’s worldly pomp and at one point determined to banish a good deal of it, I’m sure we shouldn’t be too harsh on an outsider for recognizing the same. It probably wouldn’t damage our Church is she were to further divest herself of the glories of this world in exchange for the splendours of the beatitudes. Perhaps a New Evangelization will bring a rather new style of ecclesiastical adornment about.

    Selah: please remember me in your prayers. I will remember you in mine. God bless you.

    • Claude

      That was superb! Thank you for writing it.

  • Ker

    Superb? “Jesus was poor therefore artistry and splendor (or is it excessive artistry and splendor?) are intruders in the liturgy and life of the Church” is a hoary non-sequitur that I am sure most readers found merely tedious and impertinent. I wouldn’t confidently assume that pious Jews in the first century had Methodist sensibilities just because they, while poor, powerless, hunted, and persecuted left no clear evidence either way of their practice, let alone their preferences. We do know we find something elaborate as soon as the historical lights really turn on. And if we want to speculate about what St. Peter would think, it’s just as easy to imagine that he would relish the fact, which the Church’s ritual and possessions once did and to some degree do manifest and symbolize, that his apparent weakness had conquered and renewed and elevated the brilliant civilization that crushed him as an enemy. That is the very movement that characterizes Christianity–movement from low to high, which the medievals (one quite memorably) called a Commedia. Our Lord was crucified, but then he was glorified, and his Church has followed suit. Or, if you prefer, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed.

  • Claude

    That’s right, superb. I’m an aesthete who appreciates the fabulous pageantry of Roman Catholic ritual. But what did Jesus care about such “kingdoms of the world and the glory of them?” Begone, Satan! Furthermore, Jesus transformed the Temple religion. It was no longer local and bureaucratic, but interior, mystical and transcendent. The Kingdom of Heaven has to do with divine justice not the Pope wearing red Prada shoes and the Cardinals sitting in the best seats at St. Peter’s.

    However, that is not the only reason I admired James’s post. Another is style. The writing itself is evocative; its description of theater and regalia, for example, itself has the ornate quality of the event it describes.

    But the best thing about it is its thoughtfulness and spirit of Christian charity. Jesus said the most important thing is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself; in that light what James wrote is exemplary.