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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for February, 2013

Cardinal Mahony Wants You To Know He Forgives You

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2013

In January, Roger Cardinal Mahony, the retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, was relieved of all of his public and episcopal duties by his successor, Archbishop José Gomez, after posting tens of thousands of pages of previously secret personnel records of 122 priests who were accused of sexually abusing children. The records reveal that the claims of abuse went directly from the local parish level straight up to the top of the archdiocese, with Mahony being made personally aware of the abuse claims and working directly, with the full knowledge that the priests were subject to criminal investigation and prosecution, to shield the priests from the consequences of their criminal deeds by sending them out of state to New Mexico for therapy and keeping them out of state, for other dioceses to deal with, after their therapy had ended (unsuccessfully). The records also showed that another reason these priests were sent out of state is because Mahony was aware that California therapists have a legal duty of reporting child sexual abuses to local authorities.

In other words, Mahony oversaw a vast criminal racket to shield predatory men from having to face the legal consequences of sexually abusing underage boys. For decades, the families of these boys have been denied seeing these monsters held accountable for their crimes, with Mahony himself deeply embedding himself in numerous acts to obstruct justice. By the time Mahony reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 and handed the archdiocese over to his successor, changes had been made to how the archdiocese handles complaints going forward, but the families have yet to see their day in court. But when Gomez relieved Mahony of his remaining duties, Mahony recounted his self-serving version of the long disgusting history and protested, “I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth.” Sadly, given what he was comparing his archdiocese with — Boston, New York, Dallas, San Diego, Denver, Louisville, Tucson, Davenport, Covington (KY), Charleston (SC), and in each of the rest of the 195 dioceses in the U.S.  — those words were undoubtedly, sadly, true.

But now, before he leaves to go to Rome to help elect the next Pope, he wants you to know that all is forgiven:

Given all of the storms that have surrounded me and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently, God’s grace finally helped me to understand:  I am not being called to serve Jesus in humility.  Rather, I am being called to something deeper–to be humiliated, disgraced, and rebuffed by many.

I was not ready for this challenge.  Ash Wednesday changed all of that, and I see Lent 2013 as a special time to reflect deeply upon this special call by Jesus.

To be honest with you, I have not reached the point where I can actually pray for more humiliation.  I’m only at the stage of asking for the grace to endure the level of humiliation at the moment.

In the past several days, I have experienced many examples of being humiliated.  In recent days, I have been confronted in various places by very unhappy people.  I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage–at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us.

Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.

So if you’re worried about how all of the righteous anger being directed at Mahony over his criminal misdeeds has been affecting him, you can now sleep better at night. He forgives you.

Narcissism, thy name is Mahony.

A Patronizing “Pastoral Message”

Timothy Kincaid

December 6th, 2008

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, has issued A pastoral message to homosexual Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles assuring gay Catholics that they “are cherished members of the Catholic Church, and that we value you as equal and active members of the Body of Christ”.

I know what the Cardinal is trying to say. He just wants gay Catholics to know that this very personal action that he encouraged to harm their life wasn’t personal. It’s not out of some desire to hurt them, you see, it’s just out of Mahony’s absolute certainty about how things should be.

And that while he actively seeks to eliminate any measure of equality for same-sex attracted persons either in society or in the Church, he values them as equal members of the Body of Christ. You’re equal in the eyes of God, you see, but dogma and doctrine require that you be treated as intrinsically disordered, not to be protected from death sentences, and psychologically suspect due to your “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

Frankly, there are times that outright animosity is better. At least you know that the Phelpses are thinking about you when they carry signs saying “God Hates Fags”.

But these folks who campaign to change civil law in some way that impacts only gay people and then turn around and claim that it has nothing to do with gays, well they just infuriate me. It’s not that they declare us evil, per se, but rather that they refuse to consider us at all.

Consider the dismissiveness inherent in the Cardinal’s refusal to even recognize that gay couples exist:

As we have come to learn over these past decades, there are many groupings of people residing under one roof across California. Some of these groupings are related family members, while others are companions and friends. There are now 17 rights for such companions and friends specifically included in the State of California’s legal structure.

Having relegated decades-long committed loving relationships to “companions and friends”, and having declared – in a moment of absolute absurdity – that Proposition 8 never “intended, directly or indirectly, to lessen the value and importance of gay and lesbian persons”, the Cardinal arrogantly assigns the ill intention of the perpetrators of this attack on gay family onto the victims.

We are saddened that some people who opposed Proposition 8 have employed hurtful and accusatory language, and even threatening actions, against those who voted for Proposition 8. This is most unfortunate since such strategies obscure the basic matter at issue: the preservation of the ordered relationship between man and woman created by God.

At no point did Mahony acknowledge, much less apologize for, the hurtful and accusatory language of the Yes on 8 Campaign or the threatening actions against those who contributed against it. I guess the extortion letter signed by the Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference was justified by “the basic matter at issue”.

This is not by any reasonable definition a “pastoral message”. There is no recognition of the harm caused. There is no salve for the wounds in his flock. There is not even an admission that this political endeavor had the slightest of negative consequences on gay people.

There is only self-justification, lies about the intent and result of the campaign, and blame assigned to those who disagree with him – including those to whom this letter pretends to be addressed.

I’m not a Catholic so I cannot speak for those who are part of the Church. But were I one of Mahony’s flock, I would find his smarmy patronizing self-congratulatory “message” to be an offense to me, my family, my friends, my God, and all decent people everywhere.