On 22 January 2013, The God Discussion reported on retired Cardinal Roger Mahony being implicated in his role for how the church handled these cases over a period of decades.
Confidential files reveal that Mahoney was troubled by the abuse, but there were also significant delays in cases, as well as willful ignorance to information he received in psychological reports that pointed to additional victims.
In one the issues regarding the Cardinal, Mahoney made personal notes in 1991 on the file of priest named Reverend Lynn Caffoe, who was suspected of sequestering young boys in his room, recording their crotches on videotape, then running up charges for phone sex while the boy was in his presence.
In a letter Mahoney wrote to Pope Benedict XVI, who at the time was the Vatical Cardinal, he said of Caffoe,
"He is a fugitive from justice. A check of the Social Security index discloses no report of his demise, so presumably he is alive somewhere."
During these events, the church was not yet required to report sexual abuse, and whether or not law enforcement became involved was a decision solely left for the family of the victims.
Earlier today, the Religion News Service reported that Mahony was been stripped of his official duties, calling it 'an unusual public rebuke by his successor.'
According to the story, Rev Jose Gomez, the current Archbishop of Los Angeles, made an announcement that a long standing aide to Mahony had also resigned. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Curry gave up is position which oversaw the Santa Barbara, CA, area.
“I find these files 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. Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties,” Gomez said. He added that Curry had requested to resign."
Gomez replaced Mahony in 2011, at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI.
The report also cites a statement made by Jesuit Priest, Rev. Thomas Reese, who also functions as a political scientist at Georgetown University. Reese stated,
“This is unusual and extraordinary. An archbishop has never before restricted the ministry of his predecessor and publicly taken him to task like this.”
Mahony was not amused, and had made his feelings public on his blog by posting a letter he sent to Rev. Gomez, in which he outlined his record on abuse, defending his actions.
Rev. Mahony concluded his letter by saying,
“Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors."
Mahony has since cleared his schedule of Confirmation Masses and has pared back on his speaking engagements.
For more information, commentary, quotes and relevant links, please read the entire story at Religion News Service.