Sunday, February 24, 2013

Protector of Pedophile Priests, Cardinal Mahony Retains his Power to Vote for a Pope

Words can be dramatic and effective tools for change, more effective than weapons if they reach to a person’s soul. They can also be cheap. The latest illustration of the latter is a post in Cardinal Roger Mahony’s blog on Wednesday February 20. This is the man who protected pedophile priests and was recently removed by his successor Archbishop Jose Gomez from all duties. He wasn’t defrocked by Pope Benedict XVI, though.

And he can still vote to elect the next pope. The California Catholic Daily said on Feb 14 that “Cardinal Roger Mahony praised outgoing Pope Benedict XVI for his legacy of spreading Catholicism throughout the world and said he looks forward to traveling to Rome to help elect a successor.” Well, he’s hardly going to criticize the man who let him get away with his crimes, is he? I don't suppose that in the new-found humility he speaks of in his blog, he's walking to Rome in sandals and wearing a hair-shirt. The blatant hypocrisy is astonishing and makes Mahony’s blog post even more sickening. The opening paragraph reads:  

One very insightful and powerful Address has sustained me over these past difficult years as all of us in the Church had to face the fact that Catholic clergy sexually abused children and young people.” As if he had had nothing personally to do with any of it. The rest of the post is all about realizing what a bad man he has been; about his tremendous shift in consciousness and sudden attack of humility.  

“…In past years I can't recall myself desiring and choosing

*    poverty with Christ poor, rather than riches;
*    insults with Christ loaded with them, rather than honors;
*    worthless and a fool for Christ, rather than to be esteemed as wise and prudent. 

But through God's grace, I am for the first time realizing that I should be praying for the very things from which I cringe, the disgrace I abhor, the fool that I seem. Lent is a long period of time, but I am not sure where I will be by Easter on this particular journey embracing and praying for humiliation. [But before I have to do any of that let me just go and vote.]

Christ, have mercy!”    

Christ have mercy on who? The soul of the pedophile-protector, or those who still live under the shadow of that terrible abuse? The children of those children, who have also been affected. Mahony's words are those of a narcissist who has no intention of really being accountable. After all, he didn’t give up his power.  

I’ve heard countless, moving stories of men and women who have treated others badly in their past and have gone back to each one to personally apologize. If Mahony had announced that he was going on a pilgrimage to say sorry to every child who was molested because of his actions; if he had invited the pope to defrock him and pushed for all other bishops who had behaved in the same way to be exposed and put on trial for collusion; if he showed with his actions that he was remorseful, he’d be believable.  

But he didn’t, so his words are cheap. More effective would have been to talk about the torment of the people who were abused as children and the role that he played, and to say that he would dedicate the rest of his life to making it up to them in whatever way he could and to help those who hadn't had the courage to speak out to do so, instead of egotistically telling us all about the spiritual advancement of his own precious soul. 

And far from showing any real remorse, he has even complained about being a scapegoat. But scapegoats don't get to elect popes. Mahony’s fall from grace wasn’t really a fall at all but a political maneuver that would allow him to retain his real power – playing a part in the control mechanism of who gets the role of pope; they don’t want another Pope John Paul I with real courage, integrity and vision and who can think and act for himself. What has happened with Mahony lays to bed any validity around accusations of conspiracy theory nuts and paranoia. It is living proof that the Vatican is far more concerned with its wealth and temporal power than it is with the emotional and real spiritual well-being of its subjects. 

Photo credit: California Catholic Daily