Bravo, Abp Gomez

Bravo, Abp Gomez February 1, 2013

Former LA Abp Mahony is relieved of duties and Bp. Curry is out.

Rocco Palmo, who really knows what’s going on, gives you the details and what it all means (In brief: this is a biiiiig deal).

Joanne McPortland, Frank Weathers and Deacon Greg Kandra have more.

I don’t have much to add beyond, “Appalling–and a relief to see Abp. Gomez do the right thing.  It will be interesting to see if the state prosecutes.”  As George Neumayr details, it will be far beyond Mahony’s desserts if he dodges that bullet.  He should go to prison for a loooooong time.

Let the Great Enema continue until all this filth is finally washed away.

"Oh look. Incoherence from the MOST of Those. Contribution to thread asymptoticalky approaches zero."

“Why Call It Progress?”
"Excellent. Looking forward to the book. One question:How did the good Rabbi know what those ..."

“Why Call It Progress?”

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chris S

    My hope is that someday, this whole thing will present pious Catholics with the chance to perform a corporal work of mercy: visiting Cardinal Mahoney in prison.

  • Bob

    From the Times: “beyond cancelling his confirmation schedule, Mahony’s day-to-day life as a retired priest would be largely unchanged. …. Tamberg said he would remain a “priest in good standing” and continue to celebrate Mass there.”
    Why, that really IS a biiiiig deal!
    Bishop Gomez has known all along exactly what was in those documents. They’re church documents. He had access to them from the moment he became bishop of the diocese. The diocese, under Gomez’s leadership, fought tooth and nail to keep them private, then fought tooth and nail to redact the names of the bad actors within them.
    Are we supposed to believe that Bishop Gomez found out what was in the records he fought to keep secret by reading about it on Monday the Los Angeles Times?
    Indeed, according to Rocco Palmo’s post yesterday: “Within the last 24 hours, church lawyers laid aside a last attempt to have the names of officials redacted from the documents.”
    Within the last 24 hours.
    So, to recap. Bishop Gomez continued every legal avenue to pursue a coverup of what took place under Mahony for as long as he could. Only when his cover was blown in public did he take any action at all. Those actions were to accept the resignation of one underling, to relieve the retired Mahony of his almost non-existent “duties,” and to finally — on Wednesday! — give up on preventing the release of still more documents.
    Yes, Bravo, Bishop Gomez. Bravo!

  • Thomas Tucker

    Bob assumes a lot that he really is in no position to know.
    I will say, though, that I think it would be admirable if the Holy Father stripped Mahony of his title of Cardinal.

    • Does anyone know if that is actually possible, i.e. does Canon Law allow for it?

      • Will

        The Catholic-baiters would complain it still was not enough because Mahony was not summarily executed.

      • john

        well taking up office as a cardinal does not require the taking of holy orders it,s even possible as far as i know to have women cardinals , so yeah i think he could be stripped of the title of cardinal if thats what the holy father saw fit to do

    • Bob

      The only thing I’m assuming is that Bishop Gomez was not surprised by what was in the documents released Monday. He certainly should NOT have been surprised. One must assume either that he knew, or that he chose not to review the documents until their public release. Are there other possibilities?
      Everything else is drawn directly from the news reports and blogs cited by Mark.
      My point is simply this: You can’t have real accountability if the organizational culture is oriented to cover things up. The right way for an incoming Bishop to handle a situation such as this is to tell the truth, to tell it all, and to tell it immediately.

      • Thomas Tucker

        No, Bob, doing things “immediately” is not always the wisest course of action although you might think so if you are young and brash.
        What this tells me is that Abp. Gomez has been working towards this over the past two years, since he took the reins of the archdiocese, amidst all of his other duties and obligations.

        • Bob

          As Mark says, I find your ideas intriguing and want to subscribe to your newsletter. If telling the truth immediately about child sexual abuse is the action of someone who is young and brash, then thank goodness the church leadership is so old and morally lost. Otherwise imagine all those poor parents who would have been burdened with the knowledge that the church they trusted was actually victimizing their kids. Better to spare them.
          When you can look at how Gomez spent two years furthering this coverup and come away with the conclusion that he’s been “working towards” anything other than limiting the diocese’s legal liability, then please know that you are part of the problem.
          Everyone, this is important: The problem of sex abuse in the church was not JUST a problem with bad priests and feckless leaders. It was also a problem of a too-trusting laity. Giving these morally bankrupt crooks the benefit of EVERY doubt is part of the problem. Refusing to see evil for what it is, even when it sits on your lap, tickles your chin, and says “Hi, I’m Evil,” is part of the problem.
          Wake up, Catholics. Start seeing things as they are. No more wishful thinking. No more assuming everything is fine. That’s got to stop.

  • CJ

    I have one word for you young man: millstones.

  • Subsistent

    Seems to me, the purpose of jail and prison should be to keep the public safe from violence (or intimidating threats of violence) against person or property. Since this no longer applies as a reason to keep an aging person in forced confinement for a long time, that confinement should NOT be “for a loooooong time”, but just for something like a week, to get the criminal’s shame, and his fellow countrymen’s outrage, firmly in his mind and on the public record. Leave retributive justice to the Deity; just work toward keeping people safe.

    • I’ll agree that our current prison system is a bad means of punishing and correcting criminals. We need ground-up systemic reform in that area – as well as so many other areas of our government and society.

      However, the sentiment of “lock him up for a long time” essentially means, give him a punishment that fits the magnitude of the crime. In our current system, time served is the way punishment is increased.

      My point is, the problem lies with the system, not with the sentiment.

      • Subsistent

        Well, without resorting to the questionable idea of retributive justice meted out by our government, one could, for the sake of distributive and/or commutative justice, garnish the aging offender’s retirement pensions down to a bare subsistence level, applying the garnishment to efforts for aiding victims. And/or, why couldn’t a Diocese itself sue a convicted-but-not-in-jail offender for at least partial compensation for the money he has (by hypothesis) caused that diocese to pay out in lawsuits brought by victims?

        • Matthew

          Sorry Subsistent, I’ll side with St. Thomas Aquinas and the other saints who have written on law that retributive justice IS a part of human law.

        • Subsistent

          As I see it, retributive justice would be served *in actu exercito*, without its having to be expressly pursued *in actu signato*, by the very fact of forcing the convicted aging offender to incarceration of even a couple of days, together with the offender’s shame, and society’s outrage, being permanently in the public record; also by forcing that offender, thru garnishment of his pensions and of any other income, to poverty level for the rest of his life.

  • JimPV

    I gotta say: on the face of it, I think Bob has a point. Several, actually.

    • “joe”

      yes he does.
      (that’s all i want to say but when i try to post i get a message that my comment was a bit too short. so, let’s see now.)

      • Yes, he appears to have a point, which is why I asked what I asked. At least something good might come of it if something actually happens.

  • I have a question. Reading through the above links, esp. Rocco Palmo’s, it seems that nothing really happens right now until the powers that be step in and make it happen. It’s sort of a symbolic smack-down, but the actual meat of it doesn’t happen until the Holy See steps in. Is that right? Did I read that correctly? Or does this hit really do something substantial to those parties involved? Just trying to work it out.

    • I am no expert, but Archbishop Gomez can’t do anything on his own authority that is contrary to Canon Law, e.g.:

      Code of Canon Law 357.2: “In those matters which pertain to their own person, cardinals living outside of Rome and outside their own diocese are exempt from the power of governance of the bishop of the diocese in which they are residing.”

      As for auxiliary bishops, generally speaking “a diocesan bishop is to appoint his auxiliary or auxiliaries as vicars general or at least as episcopal vicars” (406.2), and “an auxiliary bishop [is] obliged to reside in the diocese” (410).

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Is Cardinal Mahoney living outside his own diocese? If not, it appears he is not exempt from Gomez’s authority. I don’t know.

        • I take “his own diocese” to apply to cardinals who are Ordinaries of dioceses. Since Cardinal Mahony isn’t the Ordinary, Los Angeles isn’t his own diocese.

          • Matthew

            It is within Gomez’s purview to remove Mahony from all publicly scheduled liturgies and to remove him from all diocesan administrative boards of the dioces on which he may sit. This is what Gomez has done. Beyond that it would take Rome to act.

  • Blog Goliard

    Is it fair to explore the question of whether Mahony’s solicitousness towards and duplicity in aid of child rapists, and his solicitousness towards and duplicity in aid of dissent and heterodoxy had any connection? Or would that just be a case of traditionalists grasping blindly at any possible weapon to wield against the other tribe?

    • Dale Price

      I doubt it’s dispositive. Bernard Cardinal Law was, in general, conservative (though it is overstated to a considerable extent–he tried to ramrod through a defective English translation of the Catechism). It seems rather to have been a widespread problem with clerical culture. One that isn’t exactly cured.

      • Blog Goliard

        Yes, that fits with my initial impressions.

        Now of course some bishops have been personally corrupt in sexual matters–and that’s certainly relevant to their tolerance of other sexual corruption. But when that’s not the case, surely it is as unfair to crudely equate loosey-goosey theological dissent with endorsement of child rape as it is to crudely equate “repressed conservative” orthodoxy with a predilection towards child rape. (Both these allegations being, of course, far too commonly employed.)

        I think the problem may be more that dishonest and dishonorable people are apt to do dishonest and dishonorable things…and one can see this at work with both “conservative” and “liberal” bishops of certain types.

        On the orthodox side: it is unfortunately an eternal, frequent problem that when orthodoxy is required (or at least highly useful) for advancement, some men who seek to climb the greasy pole will simulate orthodoxy, even if deep down they can’t be bothered to care whether the Trinity consists of one or three or forty-two Persons. Men motivated more by the will to power than by faith, and who are used to cognitive dissonance and dishonest talk at least about the importance of the Faith to their lives, can sadly be expected to do the sorts of things we’ve seen them do.

        On the heterodox side…well, maybe this is just my lack of understanding of liberal churchmen coming into play, but I simply don’t see how an honest and honorable man, who doesn’t really believe in and is eager to change certain Magisterial teachings and hallowed traditions of the Faith, can in good conscience accept a high leadership post in the Church.

        But then I don’t understand why people with disdain for the liberal arts become professors, or why people with disdain for the rule of law become lawyers and judges, et cetera, either…yet this became a rampant phenomenon starting round about the 1960s, of people dedicating their entire working lives to tearing down or “reforming” (read: “wreckovating”) the professions they joined (voluntarily…and even with malice aforethought).

        • Will

          My thoughts are that there are good and bad on the left, right, and in the middle. People are different. Just because someone’s views are different does not mean they are tearing down.

          • Oregon Catholic

            My view is that perhaps our hierarchical system within the Church, with bishops being more administrators and money men than shepherds of souls, may have too much to do with which men make the cut and what happens to them once they get admitted to the club. Seems to me they are constantly forced to choose between God and Mammon (both personal and Church wealth) and they often choose poorly.

        • You gotcher Bishop Finn on the orthodox side and yer Archbishop Weakland on the heterodox side. Neither one could be made a poster boy for running a diocese.

  • awakaman

    Sounds like you and Mr. Voris are doing high fives today!

  • Kirt Higdon

    I lived in LA for many years and saw the beginning of Cardinal Mahony’s episcopacy, but left before the child abuse cover-up stories really hit the boiling point. My take is that he was a pretty good bishop for his first two years or so, but then got co-opted and corrupted by the LA establishment, including its Hollywood component. For most of his time, he acted more like a Renaissance prince than a pastor of the Catholic Church. I still regularly visit family and friends in LA and I can tell you that Cardinal Mahony is loathed and despised by everyone I talk to on the subject. It would not surprise me at all if many people left the Church because of him, although I don’t personally know of any instances. Archbishop Gomez has a lot of repair work to do to rebuild the Catholic Church in what is still probably, despite everything, a majority Catholic city. He’s made a small start, but has a long way to go.

  • Blog Goliard

    I see it repeatedly emphasized how huge the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has become…has there been any consideration of breaking it up?

    • California and Texas are the only two states in the Union that have more than one Metropolitan Archdioceses in the state. Even my state of Illinois with its six dioceses only has one Archdiocese in Chicago.

      • I don’t see San Diego becoming an Archdiocese. L.A. and San Francisco are more than enough for California until the state becomes more Catholic. Then, you could see an Archdiocese of San Diego forming.

        • Maiki

          it isn’t necessary to make more Archdioceses, but to break up the archdiocese into one archdiocese and small dioceses. LA is a conglomeration of cities, so many of those areas could be their own diocese under the Ecclesial Province of LA, just like San Diego is its own diocese.

  • Sus

    $660M for settlement money because evil people in power allowed children to be sexually abused.

    Yet, a Catholic schoolteacher has consenting sex, gets caught via her expanding belly and is fired.

    Very confusing to me.

    • Kenneth

      It’s simple math. The teacher didn’t have the backing of an international criminal culture with the juice to pay out $660M when the wheels came off their conspiracy to evade justice. Then again, she didn’t need the full range of fugitive aid that they offered. Prosecutors don’t have a problem with her version of “having a child.”

      • Andy, Bad Person

        International criminal culture?

        Obvious troll is obvious.

        • Kenneth

          Read the federal statute books sometime. Give a current or former prosecutor or criminal defense attorney the full rundown of the Church’s actions in the last 60 years. See if they have a nicer term for it. The scope and deliberate nature of the criminality are documented beyond any dispute. There was a coordinated, deliberate and ongoing pattern of actions by an organization to conceal crimes and thwart prosecution by destruction of evidence, bribery and intimidation of witnesses and helping suspects evade justice by interstate and international relocation.

          This stuff is real. It is documented and undeniable and it is highly illegal. Every other organization that has ever done these things and got caught by our government has been dismantled and its participants handed millenia worth of prison time. We can come up with euphemistic shiny new terms for it, or yell “troll” at any who dare call the spade a spade. The spade remains what it is…

    • Confusing to many people, including many of those involved in the decision-making – which is why they sometimes make bad decisions, or even develop a habit of making bad decisions. We live in a world rife with injustice, and the Church is not exempt. All of us struggle with temptations to evil, and most of us fall to those temptations, at least from time to time. The more we fall, the easier it is to fall again, especially those who deliberately choose to fall. The question is, how can we best strive to live more justly in our own lives, and reform our structures to promote justice more easily?

    • So the problem isn’t that Mahoney got away with violating the Church’s moral standards so long, it is that Kathleen Quinlan didn’t?

      • Sus

        Covering up for men who sexually abuse children over and over again and firing a “fornicating” pregnant schoolteacher is confusing to me.

        • Kenneth

          Those two acts are not even morally in the same galaxy cluster. On a purely legalistic and bureaucratic rules flowchart, one can make a convincing argument for the teacher’s firing. No decent human being who read and took any meaning from the Christ of the Gospels would conclude that it was the right thing to do.

          How does that tie to Mahony? Evil men in leadership make for a culture of evil, and evil speaks the language of power, not mercy. Quinlan had no power. Evil holds the very concept of mercy in contempt. Mercy is the refuge of the weak, the undeserving, the un-chosen. Of course evil men almost never have the fortitude to live and die by their no-quarter paradigm. When time and their own acts catch up with them, they cower and whine and plead and claim entitlement to mercy.

          • No decent human being who read and took any meaning from the Christ of the Gospels would conclude that it was the right thing to do.

            That’s what a lot of people seem to be saying: “those wicked, wicked Catholics, upholding moral standards.”

            Unless it is “those wicked, wicked Catholics, not upholding moral standards.”

            • Kenneth

              People who can’t discern between a woman’s falling short of moral perfection (and yet bringing a perfectly good child into the world), and men who foster criminal predation of children, who treat the former with severity and the latter with utter indifference, are wicked. They are wicked whether they are Catholic, Prostestant, atheist or pagan.

              • How about treating neither case with indifference? Is that wicked too?

                • Sus

                  So disgusting and repulsive.

                  • Scott W.

                    I agree. Treating both cases with indifference is disgusting and repulsive.

      • Will

        How about the Kansas City bishop who took six months to pass information on to the authorities about child porn?

        • Oregon Catholic

          Oh he’s safe and well ensconced and feeling bold enough after his tap on the wrist to point fingers at those who are less Catholic than himself. I dislike the NC Reporter too but I also dislike hypocrisy, probably even more.

          • Kenneth

            I take some encouragement from the Finn case. Justice was not entirely served, but it was served in some measure. He has a criminal conviction out of the deal that will follow him forever. It’s a very minor conviction, to be sure, but it has the potential to be a game changer. Bishops as a class of men were considered absolutely untouchable by civil authority until then. What needs to happen going forward is for bishops who conceal heavy crimes to get heavy prosecution and heavy prison time.

  • Kenneth

    I was hoping, when I first saw the headline of the post in late last night, that this meant some new archbishop had finally turned the corner on the culture of corruption by doing the right thing of his own volition and going for full disclosure and transparency unbidden. Alas, like so many Ambien and fatigue reveries in the wee hours, it was an illusion, a neural heat mirage.

    Gomez did the right thing, but he did it because he had no choice. Efforts to maintain suppression of the reports had failed, and with just hours to spare, he ran like hell to get out in front of an issue that would have destroyed his administration and career. Leadership forced by circumstance is a lot like contrition at the point of a gun or jailhouse confessions. Their organic sincerity is……in question.

    Nevertheless, it’s a good outcome by whatever route. Doing the right thing for the right thing’s sake would be great, but I think it’s unlikely we’ll see that within any of the current generation of leadership (who were selected by the previous generation who had the moral compass of Caligula). In the meantime, if they need some firm guidance in the form of forced disclosures, criminal prosecutions and ruinous financial judgments, we step up and provide it as long as necessary.

  • Katheryn

    Okay, what about public penance? Couldn’t Mahoney try to “prove” he is contrite by committing the rest of his life to that of corporal works of mercy? Maybe he could take up a push broom and sweep floors of a shelter, bring communion to shut-ins, work at the St Vincent DePaul thrift store? If he did something like that, I would be satisfied. Perhaps he could work hard enough to crawl through s*it and come out clean on the other side. Our Lord wants Mahoney back; perhaps good works are a start.

    • Oregon Catholic

      The only thing Mahoney has to do is be truly repentant for his actions. Hopefully he will be some day. I see no reason to think he is now, only sorry he got caught I suspect.

      • Katheryn

        That’s kind of my point. Prison or the gallows makes him a victim. Public apologies make him look like a fool. Good action works for everybody.

  • Doug Sirman

    “Shocked! Shocked I am, that there was gambling in this establishment!”

    Gomez made some paltry, symbolic gestures that mean nothing other than that he knows when to cut his losses. He did so, ONLY when his hand was forced by law to stop his organization’s long-standing policies of lies, deception and obstruction of justice, jumping the fence ONLY when all other options disappeared and not until. He’s a part of the god-damned problem, not the solution. There’s nothing to celebrate here. He’s just yet another cynically manipulative prick in a mitre.

    • Oregon Catholic

      And Mahoney, via his blog, has just publically accused Gomez of being fully aware for years of what was going on. Unless the Vatican moves fast to silence him, Mahoney is not going away quietly – not willingly. His sense of betrayal is palpable. He’s planning to take Gomez and probably others with him.
      I say God-speed. This is the opening Christ may use. It will be horrendously painful but a smaller, purer Church is sorely needed.