Yes, Mahony is right. He is also so very, very wrong.

Regular readers know that, outside of expressing shame, horror, disgust, sorrow and a sense of repentance for the scandals that have been roiling the church since 2002, I don’t discuss the subject much. It is a difficult subject, and sometimes I am a coward, and avoid what is too hard. With the exception of Bishop Finn and his epic fail, I don’t think I’ve written about any of the individual bishops or cardinals enmeshed in this awful heartstrain.

But it’s hard not to write about Cardinal Roger Mahony and his response to Archibishop Jose Gomez’s unprecedented disciplining of him, which was reported last night.

Gomez released this letter (pdf), in which, regarding the recently released files and letters pertaining to a diocesan cover-up of priestly abuse, he writes:

I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. 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. [. . .] My predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care. Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties.

This is pretty unprecedented, but also fairly toothless. Mahony is already retired, so his administrative duties to the diocese are almost nil, and his public duties were at this point largely ceremonial. Some people were too fast to interpret Gomez to mean that Mahony would no longer engage in public ministry, which Grant Gallicho at dotcommonweal was prompt in correcting. As Rocco Palmo, Deacon Greg, Lisa Hendey and Joanne McPortland more than amply covered it yesterday’s story, I figured once again, I didn’t need to write about it.

But today, Mahony has released on his personal blog (at the behest of his friends, apparently) a letter he sent to Gomez.

I wish he hadn’t. I understand why Mahony might write it; when you’ve been loved and celebrated it has to sting beyond bearing, to be publicly chastised in such a way. But like Joanne, I want to say, Cardinal, please stop.”

For one thing, if Mahony had remained silent, he would have seen his headlines disappear quickly; they usually do, anyway, because the mainstream press tends to like him, but today Gomez’ move was already being overshadowed, by the death of Ed Koch, the apparent implosion of two of the president’s nominees and the administration’s move on the HHS Mandate. Had Mahony simply taken his licks like a man and shut up, his own story would have quickly been buried under the shifting sands of busy news day.

For another thing, Mahony’s letter is so disturbing — even though I will defend him on one point — that I have to respond. There is a “poor me, you don’t know what I’ve suffered” note to the whole thing that is just repellent. Truthfully, I also found his disclosure the other day, that he keeps the names of abuse victims “on 3×5 cards” so he can pray for them in his little chapel — to be weirdly off-putting and dainty. It smacked of “women in binders” but perhaps because the press likes him, no one said as much.

Here is what Mahony wrote:

Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem. In two years [1962—1964] spent in graduate school earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work, no textbook and no lecture ever referred to the sexual abuse of children. While there was some information dealing with child neglect, sexual abuse was never discussed…All the advice was to remove priests from active ministry if there was reasonable suspicion that abuse had occurred, and then refer them to one of the several residential treatment centers across the country for evaluation and recommendation.

I thought he had a degree in social work, but let’s stipulate that even if nothing in one’s educational background equipped one to deal with the sexual abuse of minors, a religious (or even secular) understanding of justice and own’s own common sense should shout into one’s conscience the right thing to do.

Still, Mahony is telling the truth. As I noted in this episode of In the Arena, at the time most of these abuses were taking place, there weren’t even child-specific laws on the books to deal with the abuse of children. The mentality that these were criminal acts simply wasn’t there, and so — as with incest in the family — silence ruled the day. Back in the late 1970′s and throughout the 1980′s recommendations from mental-health professionals was essentially, “give them therapy, and they’ll be good to go” and our church relied on that worldly wisdom and treated the sex abuse problem with “treatment and transfer” and of course, cover-up.

The problem, in a nutshell, is in that last sentence. The church took the advice of the world; she relied on the “experts” of the world to guide her in these issues instead of relying on everything she knew and understood about sin, and justice and “the least of these.”

The church should have preceded the world in recognizing and addressing such depravity, not followed along with the broom and shovel.

I would like to think this was a subconscious mistake, but the truth is this: the worldly way gave the bishops some cover and “room to move.” The Way of Heaven would have insisted on admission of guilt, accountability, restitution, reparation and penance, penance, penance–which we will not escape in any case.

So Mahony, in his letter, is blaming the world and its experts and the church who listened to the experts for his failings. To a point, that’s an argument he can make. But then, Mahony moves to spite and sniveling:

When you were formally received as our Archbishop on May 26, 2010, you began to become aware of all that had been done here over the years for the protection of children and youth. You became our official Archbishop on March 1, 2011 and you were personally involved with the Compliance Audit of 2012—again, in which we were deemed to be in full compliance.

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.

I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s. I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone.

The spite comes, of course, with the sly suggestion that Gomez knew the whole of everything since 2010 and is therefore enacting a Claude Rainsian “I’m shocked, shocked…” in his discipline of Mahony, but hey it’s possible that Gomez did not know the extent of Mahony’s efforts to hide these abuses until he really perused the documents.

Or, perhaps Gomez was simply waiting to make his move — a move which quite possibly might not have been undertaken without some measure of Roman approval — at a time when the whole of the story was finally being made plain to the public.

The sniveling comes with the rest of it. “Mistakes were made” didn’t cut it for Nixon. It doesn’t cut it for most of us. As Joanne writes:

Stop inciting God’s people to take sides. This cannot be Team Gomez vs Team Mahony. This has to be, can only be, Team Jesus Christ.

Stop talking about mistakes. We all make mistakes, because we’re human, and even our best intentions are subject to the realities of a fallen world. But there is a clear difference between mistakes and sin, a difference that was covered in your seminary textbooks, in the Baltimore Catechism, in even the most flawed catechetical texts of the 1970s and 1980s . . .Stop whining. It’s indecent. It will not earn you sympathy, because there is no room to feel sorry for a person who feels so sorry for himself. Believe me. I know.

Stop, for God’s sake and the sake of the children and young people whose lives were destroyed by representatives of Christ and of his Church, trying to tell us you had no idea abuse could be so harmful, or that abusers couldn’t just give it up and move on. The documents signed off by you, the marginal notes in your handwriting, prove you a liar—and that’s if you truly had, initially, such a paucity of imagination and compassion that you did not intuit the damage rape, kidnapping, drugging, and death threats could do to a child—or to the soul of a predator.

In that “In the Arena” episode, I talk about how what happened in the church, the abuse, the cover-ups, the neglectful mentality, was like a macrocosm of sexual abuse within the family, where authority, shame and very confused love all work to keep things hidden. Once upon a time, a kid being touched improperly or more seriously abused was almost just “a thing that happens in life.” The world didn’t know what to do with it.

Thank God for enlightenment, though. Mahony tells the truth when he says the world and its experts supported some of his responses. But Heaven never could have. And he should have known that.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Maggie Goff

    “Thank God for enlightenment, though. Mahony tells the truth when he says the world and its experts supported some of his responses. But Heaven never could have. And he should have known that.” Yes, yes, yes. He should have known that. That’s the part with which I have such a hard time. This is a most enlightening article. Thank you.

    His Facebook page is gone, but his Twitter is still up. I’ve tweeted to him a few times to please, please take down his blog.

  • Robert

    At long last, having been at the center for decades of the unforgivable betrayal and coverup of such widespread *pedophilia*, for god’s sake, I wish Mahoney would just shut up and go away. He needs to spend the rest of his life kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament (if he can find where he’s hidden the Tabernacle in that monstrous new cathedral he’s saddled us with), begging for forgiveness.

  • GP

    I don’t think that we should all be surprised at Cardinal Mahoney’s response. What could we expect from someone who has not taken full, right and just responsibility for the sins of those under his care? What has happened under his watch is beyond shame and embarrassment!! Instead of truly tending to the needs of his flock, he proudly announced daily traffic reports!!! Enough is enough is enough!! The suffering is beyond words.

  • http://www.dymphnaswell.blogspot.com Dymphna

    I don’t think this toothless discipline is enough–and Cardinal Mahony has proven it with his response. I really wish Rome itself would step in and do something to discipline him.

  • http://www.lewiscrusade.org John C. Hathaway, OCDS

    The “apologetic” part might have sounded more sincere 10 years ago, when he was first identified as one of the most offending bishops in this crisis. The rest is typical Roger Mahony, and if you substitute “Mother Angelica” for “Gomez,” I’ve heard it all before.
    While certainly there have been and continue to be “conservative” bishops who’ve screwed up in handling these cases (e.g., Finn), and “conservative” priests have been abusers, but by and large this scandal has involved clerics who were known for a certain attitude of confusing toleration or permissiveness with forgiveness, following worldly notions about psychology and legality above Catholic morality and then calling it “acting like Jesus,” etc. Even in the VIRTUS training video, they say that the molester is the kind of person who will ingratiate himself to both the child and the parents by appearing “friendly” and “good natured,” as in “Shh, don’t tell mom I gave you that candy: it will be our little secret.” Then they give one example of a family saying, “He was such a *nice* priest,” yet not making the connection. I’ve said since 2002 that so many of these problems might have been averted if the Church had been more diligent about disciplining the priests who’ve stood at the pulpit, or sat at the dinner table, saying things like, “I can’t wait for the Pope to die so we can get a new pope who will get rid of Canon Law, let priests marry, . . . ” (And I have heard that from *several* priests over the years) or “Traditionalists are just old people who don’t like change, and once they’re all dead, we can stop listening to all their complaining” (and I’ve heard *that* in several “homilies”) .

  • Vinie Thompson

    I thought may be the punishment was too light but given his response, I find myself satisfied. His self-pitying party shines a bright light on his hubris nature. We should all take note, because I have at times been unable to accept blame for my actions and wondered why others were offended.

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  • Sir Louis

    The Holy Father would be well advised to demand Cardinal Mahony’s resignation from the Sacred College. This might not have been necessary if Cardinal Mahony had not responded so intemperately to Archbishop Gomez. If His Eminence is allowed to go on denying responsibility for, at the least, gross insensitivity and moral obtuseness, people will conclude that the Church is still not really serious about clerical molestation of minors. Only the Pope can stop this and the only way to do it is to depose Cardinal Mahony if he will not resign.

  • bill bannon

    I think educated clergy in those years were always more suspicious of psychology than say of physics or chemistry. Freud was the founder of modern psychology and his heavy emphasis on sexuality vis a vis oedipal syndromes was a warning signal for those decades for many educated Catholics. Wiki’s entry notes: ” In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975.” They did not proceed to describe it in the Vatican language. Much of the abuse was not pedaphilia but gays with mid teens.
    Did Bishops have blind faith in that profession in those years or does their asserting it coverup the coverup? Oddly in one Boston case, the psychologist stated that he warned Boston
    diocese that a certain priest was a continued danger and they ignored him and put the priest
    near children again. I think some “better than Boston” Bishops elsewhere hoped….hoped that psychologists were correctly advising them but they had a feeling they were throwing pasta against the wall and seeing if it stuck. Such Bishops seemed to have been following procedures of some sort rather than making a whip as Christ did and driving these men out of ministry. How hard up were we for priestly bodies? There were no heroes out of the hierarchy who called a TV press conference and announced that the Church must revamp in this area because it was a spreading problem. None of us can name a Pope, Cardinal or Bishop who stood out like Christ with the whip in the temple….a Christ who was overriding procedure that day and risking isolation by everyone. The Church should be paying a think tank right now to analyse why it’s system makes it impossible for a hero to appear within crises…specifically in the hierarchy who have access to the great power of the media…which media got our Bishops to meet on this problem finally after forty years.

  • http://yorkshireshepherd.blogspot.com Fr. John Abberton

    The Church needs good psychology and mental health professionals, but what happened during the late 60s through the 70s was that too many in the hierarchy trusted styles of psychology and psycho-therapy that were not reliable and some that were quite dangerous. I was at seminary in the 70s and, as a seminarian, I was, myself, too taken up with this kind of thing. I have read that in the U.S. some seminaries and religious orders were ruined through following the wrong “gurus”. In a recent book (from a American writer) I read that the American Psychiatric Association had been quite accepting of adult-child sexual activity for a time, and certainly homosexuality came to be considered “normal”. The Church needs to learn important lessons from both its failure and the failure of some schools of psychology and therapy. Even now, some professionals are issuing profiles of abusers. Common sense, however, points out that such profiles are useless because no one is profiled until AFTER abuse has taken place, and the effect of both the abuse and the revelation and possible arrest also need to be taken into account.
    So many people abuse children…parents, doctors, teachers etc, etc. I spoke to a retired seminary rector who told me that he had asked professionals what to look for in candidates. He was told that there were no “indications” to speak of! Abuse and the neglect of children that often goes with it are SINS. Pope John Paul 11 was clear about this…we are dealing with SIN, not a “syndrome” . Abuse, however it may be encouraged by emotional disturbances, is a choice, and this needs to be said loudly and clearly.

  • Romulus

    “Arrested development” is the phrase that keeps coming to mind. It’s a condition Mahony shares with the covert mafia he enabled and protected. My belief is that he’s so deeply immersed in guilt, and for so long, that nothing short of divine intervention can pull him back from an eternal ruin.

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  • http://attheturnofthetide.blogspot.com Caspar

    Given the behavior revealed in the files, though, isn’t there a real chance he’ll be arrested?

  • John

    If Cardinal Mahony had wondered what to do, (if one believes him), all he had to do was read Matthew 18:6. As to experts, Mahony knows that psychology is an atheistic discipline, it does not recognize the soul, nor does it recognize God. Is it possible that a cardinal does not know what is sin?

    You know, some of these pederasts actually think sodomy is the equivalent to sodomy. So depraved is their conscience. The sinful and depraved act has become their god.

    Please, lets not give these people who look to blame the psychologists a pass. Psychologists do not recognize sin nor did Mahony.

    It is time to repent, if we, the faithful, do not involve ourselves in the Church, and call ourselves to personal sanctity, then we deserve what we get, leaders who have no faith and do not recognize sin.

  • Fiestamom

    Unfortunately, Cardinal Mahony has a lot in common with the former bishop of Phoenix,Thomas O’Brien. O’Brien knowingly shuffled child molesters in the diocese for years. He even scolded families who came forward. Maricopa County prosecutors were ready to indict him, and he cut a deal. He admitted his wrongdoing to avoid prosecution. The Arizona Republic had a huge story on the front page. For whatever reason, (pride?), this incensed O’Brien, and the next day!!! he gave an interview to the Republic denying all wrongdoing. He continued to serve as Bishop until he killed a jaywalking pedestrian walking at night. He left the scene of the accident w/o stopping to offer assistance or calling police. With the help of eyewitnesses, police traced the car to him days later. I think Mahony and O’Brien operated to to protect themselves for so long, they neglected their pastoral duty to the victims.

    An old National Review article gives a good rundown of Bishop O’Brien’s sad tale, he and Mahony are very similar.
    http://old.nationalreview.com/comment/thomas200402230853.asp

  • Fiestamom

    BTW, the title of the old National Review article is “When Moral Relativism Becomes Theology” sounds familiar….:(

  • Theresa

    I am not familiar with this Cardinal. In fact the first I read of him was two days ago ; however what I read told me this man does not get it. His claime to have names on a 3×5 index card on his private altar smak sof arragance, as though these lowly victims would be so grateful and honored to have their names on the altar of a cardinal.

    Another point, that I don”t think any one has touched on yet, is the proof, in his own writing, that he knew these acts were serious enough to warrant criminal charges. Therefore on some level he most certainly knew the behaviors of the priests were serious.

    Very sad indeed, I can now see how the elite of the church can be so endowed with power and privilege they can lose a sense of reality about who exactly they are. Like other famous people he seems to believe he is above and beyond the least of us.

    In a sense prayers for the cardinal are more urgent. As someone else here posted he may be so far deep that he may not come back to true repentance. As sickening as his reaction is, we are obligated to pray for him.

  • Theresa

    My apologies somehow I submitted before editing. oops

  • adele young

    The hierarchy has been getting away for the duration of this scandal with the old excise about how they relied upon the science of psychology whereby they assumed rehabilitation of these
    renegades rather than with the certain knowledge of recidivism, in most, if not all cases. They relied upon psychiatry? Hmmm…I thought they relied all this time upon Jesus Christ but appears not always. It seems rather like the good old boys relied upon any port in a storm to take the heat off what was clearly a failure to act responsibly and with the integrity we all assumed was .there.
    Now since that shibboleth won’t wash ( reliance on advice of the psychologists)we have the excuse that their background or education did not prepare them for dealing with this particular sin. No? If they are not the experts on sin where do we in the pews turn for counseling? Are we
    not seeing here perhaps the real reason the lines at confession have shrunk in recent times to
    almost nothing? Maybe, just maybe, the laity figured out long before the hierarchy that they
    really knew and could do nothing meaningful about sin…except to point the finger. Good heavens, if our Confessors are so ignorant about the nature and remedies for sin how in
    Heaven’s name is the average Joe in the pews supposed to know. The blind leading the blind is what we are being asked to believe….and follow? God have mercy on this horror that is
    called the Body of Christ.

  • Victor

    My apologies Anchoress for having submitted my last comment in your previous post before having taken time to edit “IT”.

    (((Thank God for enlightenment, though. Mahony tells the truth when he says the world and its experts supported some of his responses. But Heaven never could have. And he should have known that.)))

    So true but we’re in The Twenty First Century NOW! Right?

    (((Had Mahony simply taken his licks like a man and shut up, his own story would have quickly been buried under the shifting sands of busy news day.)))

    So true again but maybe he doesn’t know that was a cat lick, I mean catholic mistake! Right?

    (((“I can’t wait for the Pope to die so we can get a new pope who will get rid of Canon Law, let priests marry, . . . ” )))

    Ya! He should know that we’re no longer living in the time of this imaginary so called “Jesus The Christ who “LIVED” some might say backword over about 2013 years or so ago! Don’t ya think?

    I hear ya! Victor did you ever think of becoming a politician cause you start off with a statement and then ask a question?

    Really! You noticed? :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QN6p66AtDc

    Peace

  • Will

    Hoe about Bernard Law? He was treated well by the Vatican. How about Bishop Finn?

  • RWC

    I am a psychologist who has studied the issue of clerical pederasty rather closely since 2002. I also lived as a celibate for several years, and worked around kids, and as such know some of the issues that celibates face in these settings. Let me say first off, that psychologists were a part of the problem, but they were only a small part of the problem. The primary problem rests in defective moral character and integrity of the priests and their supervisors.

    Cdl Mahoney’s statement is extremely revealing. Note that he blames his poor training for his mistakes. He also implicates other men, now dead, in these mistakes. He makes no reference to any of his own weaknesses or spiritual defects, and only enumerates positive features of his behavior. This defensiveness, absent humility, suggests a deeply rooted character defect and limited insight.

    As to professional training, it can compensate for a character defect to some extent, but a man of deep spiritual commitment, or at least a strong masculine sense of protection, does not need special training to show legitimate outrage in response to outrageous behavior. A true man would not try to cover for the sins of his subordinates. Any good father—the term used by Archbishop Gomez– would have been outraged by the predatory actions of his fellow priests; instead, Mahoney and many like him, seemed annoyed or fearful. These are the reactions of character defect. It is the response of a man who is ambitious but not fatherly. It is also the statement of a man with little insight into human nature: any professional who has tried to live a good life knows that his training cannot equip him for all events. He knows that in the final analysis, when the training is absent or defective, you only have your character to rely on.

    Did Our Lord warn us about men like Mahoney? The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, the others are just hired hands, and when the wolf arrives, they run for the tall grass. Mahoney still doesn’t get it. Probably never will. Gomez got this one right. He felt outrage at what he discovered, and he punished the culprits. Gomez acted like a man with character. Refreshing to see. It’s been a long long wait.

  • Oregon Catholic

    “Or, perhaps Gomez was simply waiting to make his move — a move which quite possibly might not have been undertaken without some measure of Roman approval — at a time when the whole of the story was finally being made plain to the public.”

    You may be right but until we Catholics outright reject the rank clericalism and career protecting behavior of our hierarchy this will never change. If Rome (the pope) is wrong by failing to act, then it is wrong and no one in the ranks should be providing cover. Bishops should be more concerned about sin than reputation and church coffers – theirs or Rome’s. This is at the root of all this evil in our Church.

    IMO, if this is what happened to delay Gomez’s action while the lawyers continued to look for every way to stall the release, it is worthy of serious condemnation, his as well as Rome’s.

  • Oregon Catholic

    btw Anchoress, out here in Oregon Ed Koch isn’t even a blip on our radar :-)

  • florin

    Feb. 2nd…I find it hard to believe that Card. Mahoney did not realize the gravity of what was happening to young children at the hands of his priests…you don’t need a doctorate in psychology to understand – nor do you need a doctorate in moral theology to understand the sinfulness of sexual acts on children…the question I always ask is: “Would you have sent these child molesting Priests to a place where your young nieces and nephews were? Would you have let any of these Priests alone with a very young family member?” All of those involved in molestation of children or aiding and abetting this evil in any way, should go into a Monastery and do penance for the rest of their lives.

  • Jay McNally

    Elizabeth,

    I appreciate you acknowledgement in this post that you have been a coward on this matter. You wrote: “It is a difficult subject, and sometimes I am a coward, and avoid what is too hard.”

    Our culture screams for people of courage. It’s never too late for you to change.

  • Magdalene

    The civil authorities may be able to accomplish what the Church was unwilling to do: this man belongs behind bars. There are so many things, so many. He is a bad man. But hopefully hecan repent somehow. For the souls he damaged….

  • Victor

    (((“Would you have sent these child molesting Priests to a place where your young nieces and nephews were? )))

    Anchoress! This has been going around for a long long time and I can honestly tell ya that while I was a teenacher during the late fifties, some of my friends who had just gotten out of teen school for young troubled teens told me stories that I just couldn’t believe. Long story short, their stories were pretty convincing but even longer story short, I was later told that “IT” never really happened to them.

    I hear ya! Why didn’t ya help them sinner vic, you own about 92% of my body cells and you are gods. Your “Jesus only owns 7% of your flesh and you know that that little retardo soul of yours only owns about “ONE” per sense and is useless NOW!

    Victor! Victor! Victor! Relax cause “IT” will all be corrected in “Time”. :(

    Go Figure! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zVYU-A8OaA

    Peace

  • Bryant Bushling

    While Mahony was Cardinal, the Church in Los Angeles routinely hid accused priests who were wanted by authorities for questioning. It was not thought that these were simply matters for counselling– they were criminal acts, and the Church protected these molesters.

  • LadyBird

    Indeed, he should be publicly banished to a monks cell for the rest of his life to atone for his role in damaging so many children and as someone already said, the souls of the perpetrators. Rome should create a new rule for these “men of Christ” who lead others into sin by ignoring their sin. They should not be allowed to say Mass nor perform any other sacrament or ministry. Priests should be allowed to choose between celibacy and marriage. This is not a cure, because some married men are pedophiles, but I believe it’s not healthy to represses the strongest drive, other than hunger, sex! Having marriage as an option in the priesthood attracts more men who have a healthier attitude toward sex. While celibacy is a wonderful gift, I’m sure there are many who wish to be priests without having to make that sacrificial gift.

  • Greg

    Cardinal Mahoney always came across (at least to me) as a bully and if I may say so, a carbon-copy Pharisee. I remember one time in the 1980s there was an interview with him in the National Catholic Register where he said that there wasn’t any crisis in the Church! Wow. And then there was the time in the 1990s that he went after Mother Angelica to the point of trying to have her silenced, not only by her own Order, but by the Vatican! What kind of shepherd of the Church does THAT? What kind of man is he to have wanted to crush the work and life of a poor holy nun? Now with the new archbishop in charge, the diocese can move on and hopefully learn from its mistakes, which (I hope) is something Cardinal Mahoney can do himself.

  • Brother Rolf

    Why did not the Cardinal consult with Pope John Paul like he is supposed to do?

  • Julie

    We know the Natural Law is written on our hearts. How can anyone sleep soundly at night who is aware that a priest had molested anyone? I am wondering if this is another case of homosexual priests preying on adolescent boys who were being protected by other homosexuals? In Philadelphia most of the cases involved adolescent boys. I don’t think we should be using the term pedophilia to identify “the problem”. A pedophile is someone who is involved in sexual activity with young children. If the vast majority of cases involved teenage boys we need to consider that the molestation involed homosexual men preying on teenage boys. Young men entering the seminary these days are heterosexual. The Vatican also was explicit in their directives to not permit those with deep-seated homosexual orientations to not being permitted entry to seminaries. It is tragic that any molestation occured at all and that it was allowed to continue by those who are called to be shepards.

  • Xavier Abraham

    What Cardinal Mahony did, to publish his letter, is what any right thinking man would do. Only a man of good conscience would do that.


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