Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hats Off to Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles

For this "move unprecedented in the American Catholic Church" with this "action against his predecessor" — Cardinal Mahony relieved of duties over handling of abuse. "I find these files to be brutal and painful reading," said His Excellency to his "brothers and sisters in Christ," continuing, "The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil."

The ignominious end to one of AmChurch's most liberal churchmen.

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Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

It would indeed be wonderful news if Cardinal Mahony were being punished for putting the interests of the institution above those of the faithful. But is he?

-that a fellow Bishop in Archbishop Gomes's right-wing Catholic grouping with a sea in the yokel haven that is Kansas, Bishop Flynn, was not removed after he criminally failed to report a paedophile priest, and left him in contact with youths; the church would appear to have used its influence to see that he only got a tiny slap on the wrist.

- Consider that the more right-leaning Cardinal Law, who left the United States hours before a grand jury was to be convened, was given a prestigious post near the Holy Father, despite misdeeds at least as egregious as Cardinal Mahony's.

- Consider that the last Pontiff's closest advisor, Cardinal Dziwisz, whose bedroom was right next to that of Woytyla, who ardently helped to suppress the investigations into the chronic paedophiles Cardinal Groer and Marcial Maciel, was nevertheless or perhaps even because of this promoted to Archbishop and made a Cardinal.

Obviously, protecting paedophiles is still not - in any way - a career-killer in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church or even considered shameful, but - at least in countries where trial lawyers can't force disclosure - still proof of careerists' fidelity and usefulness. What is more and more frowned upon in the Roman Catholic church, however, is having left-of-center views, and this is where Cardinal Mahony's fidelity to the institution comes in as a useful cudgel with which to keep him from collecting swag for his side, and further cement the right-wing Catholics' grip on the swag that is to be had in LA.

The lesson to clerical careerists is that if they bless political conventions, they had better see that they bless Republicans, who are keen to go kill Arabs and Iranians, but - at least in their rhetoric - not the yet unborn.

February 3, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, protecting paedophiles is still not - in any way - a career-killer in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church or even considered shameful, but - at least in countries where trial lawyers can't force disclosure - still proof of careerists' fidelity and usefulness.

It is to a great degree a mark of shame, even if you were one of the first to broach the subject, which Mahoney was.

The point is that the priest abuse scandal is really a canary in the cultural coalmine. It may be a hard thing to say, but if the priesthood can be infiltrated by sexually manipulative psychopaths to the point that we can smell the smoke of Satan in the sanctuary, you'd better look around you because the fields are burning with the fires of Hell.

Just look up sexual abuse in the schools (where, in LA, two administrators who failed to report the rape of a 13 year old by a sub teacher and were convicted of it are still working for the district, one of whom was promoted since!), in the defense industry, the Congress, and the U.N.

All of these were big scandals a decade or so ago, especially the bit about Dyncorp (which I worked for when the Balkans scandal first came out). They are still going on to this day!

So I think we've made a little progress here. Scream about careerism all you like, but there's a lot of it about outside of the Church too.

February 3, 2013 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

On the "a lot of it about outside of the Church too" theme, Jim Goad's latest on the under-reported Black protestant, Jewish, and Muslim cases of abuse-- Religion, Perversion, and Whiteness.

February 3, 2013 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...


You make fair and good points.

My rejoinder would be that the Roman Church preaches a far more restrictive understanding of what is licit and illicit than public schools, Congressmen, not to mention African soldiers. It would in fact be surprising if the public schools in slums didn't have abysmal standards. I think that in this day and age, we should drop euphemisms like "defense industry" and call it what it is, the mercenary industry.

Precisely because the Roman Church gives much more exacting guidance to its flock, it is only fair that much more is expected from its officers.

If your average Irishmen gets a DWI, it's not really news; if the head of the WCTU (the woman's Christian Temperance Union) is caught driving while drunk, or Bill Bennett, the author of the Book of Virtues, were to be caught gambling large sums of money in casinos, excuse me, I meant growing his own pot, it is news.


In my opinion, Jim Goad misses the point by a country mile. While some of the focus on Roman Catholic clerical miscreants and the ignoring of others may well be anti-Catholic, or a tribal courtesy in the case of the Sulzberger's newspaper, I think Jim Goad misses a big part of the picture.

I have known quite a few Protestants who perhaps inadvertently left me with the strong opinion that they had far more respect for the Catholic clergy than what ever evangelical or other Protestant denomination they may have come from, though they would never dare say so explicitly. They would never ever dream of becoming Catholic, but in their comments and in particular how they felt a need to keep Catholic symbols at a distance, I felt they both respected and feared the Catholic church's moral authority as being superior to that of their own grouping.

I think the focus on Roman Catholic abusers is a compliment to the Roman Catholic church in this sense, and also the result of a church structure where a diocese, with its much deeper pockets and centralized coverups, must compensate trial lawyers and their clients, while many other churches can't lose more than the costs of their heavily mortgaged churches who have never had to put their coverup into writing, or have a "troubleshooter" with a long record of coverups that enrages juries to the point of wanting to send a message.

February 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I perfectly agree that the Church should be held to a higher standard precisely because it is the highest authority, as Christ Himself made it. It is that way not merely because of what it is, but Whose it is.

Just as Christians are held to it because of Whose we are.

That said, the other reason juries and lawyers aim at the Church is because our political culture, due to it's emphasis on universal "tolerance", has anti-catholicism built into it's very core DNA. It was put there by its intellectual founders in the English Enlightenment, namely Hobbes and John Locke. That's why anti-catholicism is the "last acceptable prejudice," and has no small part in the continuous churning of this story.

February 3, 2013 at 11:05 PM  

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