February 1, 2013
This post is connected to Sabbath Moments at Thoughts on Grace.
Some years back Cardinal Mahony issued a perfidious letter concerning the Holy Eucharist. If not outright heretical, it danced on the edges. I remember feeling sick when I read it. I also remember cheering Mother Angelica of EWTN as she took it apart piece by piece on her hour broadcast, demanding the Cardinal explain himself and earning his vicious enmity.
The Cardinal demanded an apology and in a second broadcast Mother Angelica said she was sorry she found the letter so confusing and proceeded for another hour to slice and dice it. Mahony went after her with a vengeance, even going so far as to show up in the Vatican demanding an investigation of her religious community and seeking to drive EWTN off the air. It was this battle that forced the feisty nun to resign from the board of EWTN and retreat behind her cloister walls, leaving the network in the hands of the laity and firmly out of the reach of the American bishops most of whom were strenuously engaged in the defilement of the Catholic faith and the sacred liturgy and were avid supporters of Mahony.
How now cometh the justice of God through His earthly agents! Most of us who wailed interiorly at Mahony’s Catechetical Congresses and liturgical crimes never dreamed that we would see the day when he would be publicly humiliated by the Church for hidden crimes of covering up sexual abuse and protecting the predators. Those crimes weren’t even on the radar for most of us. But this case is just one more example of how lack of faith in the Holy Eucharist accompanied by liturgical abuse hides a dirty reality of sex abuse of children. I have seen it in diocese after diocese including my own. If priests and bishops are unfaithful to Catholic teaching, anything else of the most base nature is possible.
Yesterday the sensational story of the removal of Mahony’s power to celebrate the sacraments publicly, and indeed carry out any public ministry whatsoever, and removal of his involvement in any administrative duties in the archdiocese was a welcome sign of a positive change in the Church. Of course, the Vatican was involved as Archbishop Gomez would not have taken this audacious step without the knowledge of the Pope and other highly placed Curial Cardinals. Auxiliary Bishop Curry has also been relieved of his duties for his complicity in Mahony’s schemes.
In a letter at the diocesan web site Archbishop Gomez states:
I find these files [concerning sexual abusers and their crimes] to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.
We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today. We need to pray for everyone who has ever been hurt by members of the Church. And we need to continue to support the long and painful process of healing their wounds and restoring the trust that was broken. …
To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you.
Personally, I feel relief that Mahony has finally been completely exposed, his credibility as a Catholic teacher and leader crushed. I feel satisfaction that justice by the Church has been done, and there may yet be civil justice Mahony will face. Yet I am also very sad that a man with so many souls entrusted to him abused his power to such a great extent. We cannot know how many people he led to hell, but we should surely pray for him that he sincerely repent of his false teaching, his use of the sacred liturgy as his personal playground, and his aiding and abetting of criminal and extremely sinful behavior against children.
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R. Now and forever!
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