Cardinal Mahony’s response to charges

Did not know the names of victims
Cardinal Mahony

Cardinal Mahony

The following comes from the end of a January 21 Los Angeles Times story detailing actions of Cardinal Roger Mahony to cover up priests’ sex abuse of minors.

In a 2010 deposition, Mahony acknowledged the archdiocese had never called police to report sexual abuse by a priest before 2000. He said church officials were unable to do so because they didn’t know the names of the children harmed.

“In my experience, you can only call the police when you’ve got victims you can talk to,” Mahony said.

When an attorney for an alleged victim suggested “the right thing to do” would have been to summon police immediately, Mahony replied, “Well, today it would. But back then that isn’t the way those matters were approached.”

Since clergy weren’t legally required to report suspected child abuse until 1997, Mahony said, the people who should have alerted police about pedophiles like Baker and Wempe were victims’ therapists or other “mandatory reporters” of child abuse.

“Psychologists, counselors … they were also the first ones to learn [of abuse] so they were normally the ones who made the reports,” he said.

Bishop Arzube

Bishop Arzube

In [Monsignor Peter] Garcia’s 451-page personnel file, one voice decried the church’s failures to protect the victims and condemned the priest as someone who deserved to be behind bars. Father Arturo Gomez, an associate pastor at a predominantly Spanish-speaking church near Olvera Street, wrote to a regional bishop in 1989, saying he was “angry” and “disappointed” at the church’s failure to help Garcia’s victims. He expressed shock that the bishop, Juan A. Arzube, had told the family of two of the boys that Garcia had thought of taking his own life.

“You seemed to be at that moment more concern[ed] for the criminal rather than the victum! (sic)” Gomez wrote to Arzube in 1989.

Gomez urged church leaders to identify others who may have been harmed by Garcia and to get them help, but was told they didn’t know how.

“If I was the father … Peter Garcia would be in prison now; and I would probably have begun a lawsuit against the archdiocese,” the priest wrote in the letter. “The parents … of the two boys are more forgiving and compassionate than I would be.”



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  1. The fact that Bishop Thomas Curry is still running Santa Barbara and Ventura for Archbishop Gomez brings shame to Los Angeles.

  2. I remember watching the news when Abp. Mahony appeared in person to watch the tower of St. Vibiana’s taken down by the wrecking ball. Abp. Mahony was also community organizer’s Cesar Chavez guy at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Schadenfreude.

  3. Clinton R. says:

    The amount of damage Cardinal Mahony has done is astronomical.

    • Well, yes, but like any business deal (LA Archdiocese supposedly ranks first in the world for the most money taken in), it’s the money that counts, no?

      • Moreover, is there any study correlating the money collecting of a diocese against the errant or questionable things said and done to obtain it?

        • In fact, why doesn’t the Church do a complete analysis of its business of collecting money? Why not open up all the sources of the income? Why not open up all the networks related to the income of the Church? Why would Jesus, the Light of the World, not shine in the darkness of this area of Church endeavor?

      • Years ago I posted at another site under the screen name “Where’s the money, Roger?” I never did find out the answer. But when you run an organization that is organized as a “corporation sole” it means he could never be convicted of stealing since everything is his sole and separate property. You can’t go to jail for stealing from yourself.

  4. Juergensen says:

    Do I notice disparity in the treatment of Cardinal Mahony and Cardinal Law?

    It’s not due to Cardinal Law’s orthodoxy, right?


  5. Shameful and flagitious. Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Curry should be imprisoned. How did these 2 escape criminal prosecution?

  6. Sexual abuse of children has always been a mortal sin.
    In the USA sexual abuse of children has always been a civil crime.
    The year 2000 is not a magic number when everything changed.
    If it took lawsuits to get the attention of Cardinals and Bishops – to stop child abuse by some Priests within the USA, then so be it.
    The only persons who were not required to report a crime were those who heard Confessions – but should not have given absolution unless the guilty was truly repentent and promised not to commit the sin again.

    Children, parents, Priests, Bishops and Cardinals must stop all child abuse.

    In addition, the Church (Priest) must sue those who put forward FALSE claims – for defamation, etc.
    We must not allow good Priests to be permanently damaged.

    • It is also a mortal sin AND a civil crime to have child pornography on one’s computer, or in one’s possession.
      Child porn is the first step toward abuse, and must be stopped.

    • Laurette Elsberry says:

      MAC, it should be clarified that most victims of priest sexual abuse are boys and young men. Obviously that means homosexual sexual abuse! Most of the clergy want to dumbdown the truth and speak of child sexual abuse to hide the truth.

      • Anton L. Seidl says:

        Laurette: You must have read the Jonathan Jay report. Everyone should! It identifies the so-called pedophilia scandal as what it really is: Sodomy, Homo-Sex, Perversion.

    • MAC, “The only persons who were not required to report a crime were those who heard Confessions – but should not have given absolution unless the guilty was truly repentent and promised not to commit the sin again”: This might require some further analysis, no? Or, possibly a thorough review: Why shouldn’t, ef, the confessor assign a penance of confessing the crime to the police? I’m not saying that they should, but asking into this dilemma.

    • Priests abusing minor kids can’t be criminally prosecuted if the statute of limitations runs out on the crime. Civil courts don’t require the stricter elements of the criminal courts. That is why most all of these cases end up in civil courts. The statute of limitations expired in most all these cases due to the Hierarchy covering up these crimes against Catholic children and moving the abusing priests from Parish to Parish, state to state, and country to country. The current priest files that have been released are just the tip of the iceberg on this issue, and they are gut wrenching to read. When the 30,000 documents from the 2007 civil suit are released they will expose decades of child abuse and coverups. The Church knows who the victims are, because their names are in the 30,000 documents, all written and signed by the Hierarchy and their law firms. Please, read the documents when they are released in the very near future, They will shock you to the core of your soul forever.

  7. **“In my experience, you can only call the police when you’ve got victims you can talk to,” Mahony said.** What about calling the police to protect potential victims? Does Mahony imagine that during a bank robbery, no police should be called, not until after victims could be connected with the money stolen? So far I have never heard of any investigation into the nuts and bolts of why the popes are not getting rid of these monsters … where are the modern day inquisitors when we need them?

  8. Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops may not have to be held accountable for the lies told in this life but we know they will be held acountable when they stand before our Creator. We will not be able to do any cover up in Heaven. Surely Cardinal Mahony should know this better than any of us. It is probably one of the first things we are told in first grade if we attended a Catholic school or CCD. Maybe Cardinal Mahony was absent the day this was told.

  9. St. Christopher says:

    What is the wonder here? Does anyone believe Cardinal Mahoney? He was all about power and obedience, as is almost all of the American Bishop clan. At some point they should probably ask what are we supposed to be doing here on earth? The poor victims of Peter Garcia (and many other clergy) were ignored because they threatened to upset the power structure of the Church. In fact, these largely homosexual sins should have shut down many a career. But now, decades later, most careers have flourished, and the victims have been tossed aside, like so much chaff. Yes, it is good to ask why are there not more bishops in jail and out of the Church?

  10. By the way, Cdl. Mahony is still scheduled to be a speaker at the REC, the enormous Religious Education congress which he founded.

    Appropriately, he will be speaking about “Peace and Justice.”

    Will Abp Gomez request that Pope Benedict defrock Cdl Mahony?

    • Clinton R. says:

      Why sure Cdl. Mahony will be a speaker, does any organizer of the REC have any regard for morality or traditional Catholic teaching or praxis? Does anyone affiliated with the REC care that Cdl. Mahony has done so much harm to the the victims of these priests? Or his total disdain for Catholic tradition? In addition to Cdl. Mahony, one of the speakers at the REC will be “Father” Richard Rohr, he of the pro homosexual crowd. The LA Archdiocese is dying under poor leadership. Domine, miserere nobis. +JMJ+

      • Hey, my favorite speaker, the one who has his devotees run and leap through “rohring” bonfires while naked (LTBWN), as a ritual into manhood or goathood or whatever.

  11. Laurette Elsberry says:

    To paraphrase a comment often posted in CalCatholic, and one which is most certainly appropriate here: The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

    • Katherine says:

      The complete quote (from St. John Chrysostom, I think) is “The road to hell is lined with the skulls of bishops and paved with the bones of priests.”

      • The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.–St. John Chrysostom

        An even fuller version: “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path”. –St. John Chrysostom

        The Catholic Church ended up canonizing several men as Saints, to venerate in Heaven, who said the following… Saint John Eudes: “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops”; Saint Athanasius originally said: “The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops”; St John Chrysostom: “the road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and lined with the skulls of bishops. The Vatican’s Cause for Canonization of Saints apparently did not mind these statements.

        • And, Jesus and St Paul: (I’ll paraphrase, since their metaphors are slightly different but essentially the same) The religious rulers are whited tombs filled with dead men’s bones. But in context we know that not all religious rulers are so evil, thanks be to God for a little salt in the porridge.

        • Anonymous says:

          You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. The quote is (probably) from a Protestant anti-Catholic. And, silly thing, St. Athansius and St. John Chrysostom lived way before there was such a thing as the Vatican or the Cause for Canonization of Saints.

  12. I met Father Arturo Gomez many years ago…. a holy humble parish priest and he knew in 1989 what the right thing to do was. But the big boys “didn’t know how” to call the police OR how to find out the names of the victims. Richard Nixon should have taken lessons from these guys on how to stonewall.

    If there were no statute of limitations, Cardinal Mahony would be in the Big House (and I don’t mean the Cathedral).

    • Not likely, JimAroo, as he’d have been shuttled over to Rome to live out his days in some palatial basilica as is Cdl Law, never to return to the USA where he might be arrested.

  13. Thomas Edward Miles says:

    PATHETIC!!! Mother Church in her glory, the Cardinal Archbishop belongs in prison, most of the American bishops belong in prison for the sick, sinful behavior they allowed to continue, a select few in the Vatican should join them!!!!

    • Aha, TEM, your deeper and more honest nature is erupting. Good for you. There is hope for your soul yet … just keep on getting honest. It’s a goal the bishops are supposed to be doing also, phrased another way, “becoming holy”.

  14. When the US Cardinals and Bishops knew about which Priests were abusing all they had to do was ask the Priests whose records the Diocese had – who the victims were.
    This sounds like a very strange and weak excuse from Cardinal Mahoney.
    Accused Priests should have immediately been removed from any situtation that would have put them into proximity of any children without their parents present.

    The Church must sue against all FALSE accusations to insure against lies and harming decent Priests.

  15. And we thought the scandals would/could stop with his retirement/removal. C’mon Vatican apparatus, do your stuff, just this once for us. Or are their hands too collegially tied to act in this too. It looks like he’s still in charge as the senior diocesan prelate, retired or not.

  16. good cause says:

    Cardinal Mahoney is a good candidate for retiring to “live a life of prayer and penance”, like Marciel Macial of the Legionnaires of Christ. If the Vatican silently refuses to do anything about the Mahoney situation now that the facts of his criminal conduct are in the open, could it be the Vatican doesn’t care, either?

    Hiding behind the “we didn’t know the names of any vcitims” translates in simple English to “we don’t WANT to know who the victims are because then we would have to bring in the police to do something about it.” Does the Vatican call this self serving tactic by its Cardinals leadership?

    • Kell Brigan, Carmichael CA says:

      Why not “prayer and penance” while sitting in prison?

      • Kell Brigan, Carmichael CA says:

        From the website of the SHOUSE Law Group:

        “…Criminal negligence… becomes relevant when the defendant is accused of willfully allowing a child or elder to be placed in a harmful or dangerous situation where the person are likely to be injured… not when the defendant is accused of intentionally abusing that individual… Criminal negligence doesn’t always involve an illegal act. The definition of California criminal negligence states that the individual acts recklessly… not unlawfully. This means that if the defendant commits a legal act under circumstances that are likely to produce great bodily harm or death, he/she can be held criminally negligent.”

  17. I forget. Just WHO called for a release of victims’ names and the priests involved, guilty or not guilty? Why? Who suffers from going over the same ground yet again and causing such anger and frustration against the Church, yet again? Why now? What is to follow, do you think? Are we just Pavlovian dogs to start salivating at the same bell? Frankly, as much as I may find Cardinal Mahoney a very troublesome and probably errant shepherd, I would be very, very careful of getting sucked down into this cesspool fellow Catholics! Use some caution and remember that many of the priests were victims, and that many victims made a great deal of money and who has suffered the most? Our beloived Church! Our Lady! For many, the very loss of their souls, as they decided to leave the faith altogether because of the scandal. I say we must support our Church above ALL else! Case closed! It must not happen again and the Church has enacted far more strenuous protections for innocent children then schools, or other churches. Let’s just make sure to be more vigilant in the future. How can we evangelize if we’re not trusting our faith, our Church, our very presence in society, how are we to carry Jesus into a dark world? Just reflect for a moment and stop the knee jerk response, already!

    • Anonymous says:

      Dana, why now? It was ordered to be released in 2007 but the archdiocese fought it. They wanted the names of the clergy to be blacked out before public release. There will be more released in the next few weeks

      • You mean the courts ordered it? So basically some of the Church hierarchy are still trying to cover their tracks? Seems like this will never end. Why didn’t they just do everything they could at the time to bring everything to light and ultimately to closure? As it is, it opens up a wound that hasn’t healed. I suppose all of the same revelations will all be dragged on and on now in the L.A. Badtimes, too. Poor California, what with all the tax increases, illegal immigration causing tremendous burdens on your schools and social programs, having democrats rule you has to be utterly depressing! It’s truly unbelievable what is going on not just there but around the world.

    • Kell Brigan, Carmichael CA says:

      “Who suffers from going over the same ground yet again and causing such anger and frustration against the Church, yet again?”

      So, unlike a victim of abuse, you’re able to forget about these crimes when you don’t see them in the newspaper?

      If you were to read about a murderer finally being caught after twenty years, would you complain about being “reminded” of the crime? Do you agree with Woody Allen (that paragon of virtue) and all the other Hollywood folks who want us all to just “forget” about Polanski’s drugging and raping a child?

      • Good for you, Kell. Glad we agree wholeheartedly on this matter.

      • Well, I’m always thankful for the people of sense and discernment who reading my posts know what I mean. That you are not one of them, especially after having read some of your other posts, discomposes me not one whit… Kell.

  18. Stephanie says:

    The damage Cdl. Mahony has done to the Archdiocese will take years to repair. I’m not sure what his agenda was. As for the statement that you need the names of the victims, that’s preposterous. It’s obvious that the Archdiocese of LA did not care at all about the kids.

  19. Joan Sacramento says:

    To start with I never liked Cardinal Mahony and am not defending him or any of the other bishops. But when I lived in Los Angles county in the 1970′s there was an pedophile on our block, who had been reported at least three times when a friend found out that her daughter had been abused. She called the police and they told her it was her daughter’s word against his; that testifying would be traumatic for her daughter; and that she would be better off not pressing charges. Two years later another family two blocks over did press charges and nothing happened. All we could do was let other parents know of the situation and watch our children (and theirs) and make sure that they were all safe. In the same time frame there was a kindergarten child taken that was in my son’s class, thank God she was found; but unless you knew someone that was at the school when she was found missing, you would not have known that anything had ever happened.

    God have mercy on us.

    • The laws have changed. It is against the law not to report a suspicion of abuse. It is up to the police and child protective services to determine if the suspicion is true or not. And yes, it might harm a person’s reputation to be accused and then found innocent. But the laws, for many years now, have favored the potential victim. This is a case where the archbishop has admitted that he did not notify the police. Why has he not been arrested? Why have the involved bishops not been arrested? Why has there been no trial to put these people in jail? The fact that they are bishops and thought they were doing the right thing is no excuse. They belong behind bars, don’t you think?

      • ** It is up to the police and child protective services to determine if the suspicion is true or not**: Saaayyy Whuuuttth??? Bob One, did you know that this nation is still the United States, and has a Constitution which specifies that a court of law with a jury is the instrument which determines whether the accused is guilty.

        • OK, you are right. What I should have said is that child protective services will determine if a case should go to the DA. It is the DA’s job to determine if the case should go to trial. But, from a practical viewpoint, the responsible person is responsible for notifying the police and/or child protective services of a potential abuse. It is not the responsibility of the church to investigate the case and then determine if they should notify police and cps. This same law applies to day care centers, Boy Scouts, school teachers, YMCA leaders, CYO leaders, etc. It has to be reported. Then the chiips fall where they may. Thanks for the correction.

  20. See what happens when they dissolve the Inquisition?

    • Kell Brigan, Carmichael CA says:

      Whatever dude.

      • Mackz formerly known as max says:

        Skai, you are such a source of… great ideas… or something.

        Bringing back the Inquisition… yes, indeedy… not many people would have come up with that bright notion!

        • Mackz, good to hear that you’re onboard for it. Would sure clean house fast, get rid of the moles in the clergy such as masons, devil worshipers, homosexuals, child abusers, obstinate heretics, transexuals, and whatever else is hiding there.

  21. Kell Brigan, Carmichael CA says:

    Hate to say it about a Cardinal, but I think Cdl. Mahony needs to do some jail time. Seriously. There’s such a thing as “willful negligence” and this is it.

  22. aragonite and conchiolin =nacre says:

    Cardinal Mahony should quietly devote his retirement toward praying for the victims of clergy abuse…and performing acts of penance for his many sins of omission, concerning the “molestation” scandal that has rocked this archdiocese and many others across this nation and throughout the world. Sadly, it appears that the cardinal craves the limelight and enjoys his power lunches in Beverly Hills with benefactors, lawyers and “people of means”…if this man spent half as much time in prayer as he does at social soiree’s, it is unlikely this travesty would have become as out of control and shocking as it has blossomed into. Think man!….

  23. Koh-I-Noor says:

    Bishop Curry should be defrocked as well…he along with a number of prelates and clerics should be defrocked and laicized…PERIOD!

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