Children Deserve Better

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Not too many Americans ever receive such a revealing, intimate view of the illicit and potentially criminal activities of a high ranking Catholic official, as have Los Angeles residents regarding the ongoing sexual scandals plaguing Cardinal Mahony and the LA archdiocese. Going as far back as 1991, as many as 56 of the 710 priests active in LA archdiocese were sexual abusers.[1] Mahony, according to released court records, actively sought to cover up the activity of his priests who raped or molested children.[2] Furthermore, Mahony enjoyed long-standing, close personal ties with several of the known perpetrators, including Michael Wempe, Carl Sutphin – who once lived with Mahony – and Oliver O’Grady.[3] O’Grady, who would later go to prison, steadfastly claims that Mahony was not only fully aware of his molestations, but that he openly approved of them.[4] Veteran sex offender Sutphin was handpicked by Mahony to serve as assistant pastor at Los Angeles’s new cathedral. Several other priests confided to Mahony that they had raped children.[5] For instance, Michael Baker admitted to Mahony in 1986 that he had molested several youths, but Mahony kept him in active ministry for 14 years. Mahony simply shuffled these pedophiles between unsuspecting parishes,[6] where they were placed in direct contact with- if not supervision over- children.[7] To be consistent, Mahony never warned parish officials that they were being sent known pedophiles.[8]

"Cardinal" Mahony’s actions are not those of a responsible, well meaning high Church official seeking to promote the kingdom of God by facilitating conditions of peace and justice. Were that the case, Mahony would have immediately called the police and had these men arrested. However, Mahony could not implicate others in activity he himself was involved in. Mahony spent $660 million – the largest amount ever paid to procure illicit sex acts in recorded history- of parishioners’ money to ensure that the public would never learn the extent of that involvement.[9] What precisely was in those files may never be known for certain. However, Mahony clearly paid that sum to ensure that his direct involvement, as a pedophile or an aid to other pedophiles, would never be publicly released.[10]

As a Roman Catholic, few Catholic officials cause me to be ashamed or saddened. Cardinal Mahony, however, is a public disgrace. His longstanding display of antipathy and arrogance towards the example and teaching of venerable Catholic leaders from John Paul II to Father Marcial Maciel are widely known and documented. While working to ensure that admitted child molesters could molest more children,[11] [12] Mahony prevented faithful Catholic organizations that are known for their exemplary work with youth, such as the Legionaries of Christ, from working within the Diocese. Whether or not Mahony personally molested children, or simply received vicarious pleasure from the cruel actions of sick subordinates, he remains a monster, certainly no less than a child molester. Justice demands that he be immediately removed from his current position of prominence in charge of the Los Angles archdiocese. Furthermore, he should be put on trial for orchestrating the largest and most expensive pedophile ring in recorded history.

Notes:

[1]. Berry, J. (January, 2007). Mahony, in legal battle, insists church has right to secrecy. National Catholic Reporter. Accessed online 3/21/08 – http://ncronline.org

[2]. Broder, J.M. (October 13, 2005). Released Files Lead Priests’ Accusers to Protest. New York Times.

[3]. Berry, J. (January, 2007). Mahony, in legal battle, insists church has right to secrecy. National Catholic Reporter. Accessed online 3/21/08 – http://ncronline.org

[4]. Smith, A. (October 27, 2006). Film details priest’s legacy of abuse: "Thank you for sharing your children with me." Union Democrat.

[5]. Anderson, J. (December 15, 2004). Cardinal Untruths: Mahony’s Testimony in Sex Scandal Clashes with Earlier Statements and Reality. LA Weekly. Accessed online 3/21/08 – http://www.laweekly.com

[6]. Schmitz, R. (July 27, 2007). Priests’ Files to Shed Light on Abuse Scandal in L.A. Accessed online 3/21/08 – http://www.npr.org

[7]. Broder, J.M. (October 13, 2005). Released Files Lead Priests’ Accusers to Protest. New York Times.

[8]. Berry, J. (January, 2007). Mahony, in legal battle, insists church has right to secrecy. National Catholic Reporter. Accessed online 3/21/08 – http://ncronline.org

[9]. Krasnowski, M. (July 17, 2007). Victims bitter at Cardinal Mahony. San Diego Union-Tribune. Accessed online 3/21/08 – SignonSanDiego.com

[10]. Krasnowski, M. (July 17, 2007). Victims bitter at Cardinal Mahony. San Diego Union-Tribune. Accessed online 3/21/08 – SignonSanDiego.com

[11]. Anderson, J. (December 15, 2004). Cardinal Untruths: Mahony’s Testimony in Sex Scandal Clashes with Earlier Statements and Reality. LA Weekly. Accessed online 3/21/08 – http://www.laweekly.com

[12]. Thomas, E. (May 17, 2007). Pedophiles, Child Molesters and Repeat Sex Offenders. The Huffington Post. Accessed online 3/21/08 – http://www.huffingtonpost.com

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