Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cardinal not naive

    Cardinal Roger Mahoney, retired as head of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, is a prince of the Catholic Church.
    Throughout his career, he spoke out aggressively on social justice and immigration issues, and is beloved by the Hispanic community he championed.
    But this week, in the face of a mountain of documentation, he weakly claimed he just couldn’t act to stop child predators under his authority, that he was too naive. His excuses ring hollow.
    Mahoney is not naive. Anyone who ever watched him work, especially on politically controversial issues, knows he can be tough when he needs to be tough.
    The cardinal was not naive when he sent priests who had been accused of sexual acts with children out of state for psychological treatment in order to avoid California laws requiring notification of the police in such cases. Yet, according to extensive records, released last week by court order, Mahoney participated for years in exactly that kind of cover-up.
    Apologizing for his mistakes, Mahoney reports that he keeps an index card with each victim’s name in his private chapel where he prays for them daily. It’s nice to know that he prays, but he should have done more.
    The church’s hierarchy needed to be a voice of justice for the victims, no matter how embarrassing and painful. It needed to refuse to harbor sexual predators among the ranks of dedicated priests.
    Mahoney cared more about the reputation, power and prestige of his institution than about the children being victimized.
    No excuse is good enough.

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