It was a long time coming, but retired Cardinal Roger Mahony has been relieved of his remaining duties as the Los Angeles Archdiocese has released thousands of documents from files on priests implicated in the church’s child abuse scandals.
Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also been removed from his post, according to the Mercury News and Fox News.
Archbishop Jose Gomez said on Thursday, “Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara.”
The 12,000 pages of documents released were posted by the Archdiocese on its website.
Among the documents released last week were records showing that Mahony and Curry conspired to cover up child abuse cases to protect the reputation of the church and keep parishioners in the dark about sexual abuse within the church.
A judge Thursday ordered the church to release unredacted personnel files of pedophile priests in a $660 million 2007 settlement. The church had fought for years to keep the names of clergy involved in the cases out of the public eye.
It’s been widely believed among church employees and parishioners for years that Mahony was deeply involved in the scandals, and the released documents prove it.
The damage done to the church by Mahony’s and Curry’s actions is staggering, from the abuse victims to the believers in the pew.
The abuse scandals were a feeding frenzy. The number of priests in Los Angeles and other archdioceses who violated the trust of children, their families and their parishes is soul-wrenching, but the devastation didn’t stop there.
Many priests who were innocent were unjustly accused, and suspicion fell on all Catholic clergy. In Los Angeles alone, court costs nearly drove the archdiocese into insolvency, forcing the closing and merger of many parishes and the firing of church personnel who offered critical services to the community.
Because in previous generations church jobs were generally considered lifetime positions, the church had never paid into unemployment insurance, and all those suddenly laid off personnel faced a complete loss of income.
The spiritual blow to the faithful has been incalculable as the wicked actions of Mahony and other Catholic leaders has undermined the ideals the church is supposed to teach and defend. As a cardinal, Mahony was a heartbeat away from the papacy, so his deviousness taints the entire church around the globe.
But the damage doesn’t stop with Mahony being stripped of his official duties. According to an archdiocese spokesman, Mahony can still perform the liturgy and some other services. He is still considered a “priest in good standing.”
This evil has permeated the church because the current archbishop obviously knew what was in those files that were released this week, yet he allowed Mahony and Curry to retain their titles and duties until the embarrassing information was released publicly.
In other words, the church’s hierarchy has learned nothing and is still engaged in covering up.
Jesus preached forgiveness of sins, but before forgiveness is truly possible, there must be repentance, and the Los Angeles Archdiocese is showing by its continued maneuvering that it is still operating in sin and denial.