Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Cardinal Roger Mahony Suspended for Abuse Cover-Up

February 1st, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

The man responsible for the spiritual rape of thousands of innocent Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been effectively suspended by the present ordinary for years of sexual abuse cover-up. Today it was announced that Abp. Jose Gomez has suspended Card. Roger Mahony from participating in any further administrative or public Church duties. According to information provided by the archdiocese, Card. Mahony and Bp. Thomas Curry (LA auxiliary and vicar for clergy) exchanged memos in the mid-1980s detailing strategies on how to impede police investigations of abusive priests. This is probably the most detailed and direct evidence made available to date concerning episcopal cover-up of abusive priests.

Abp. Gomez released a statement which contains:

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.

gomez statement

Click above to enlarge

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has released 12,000 pages of files on a shocking 124 priests alleged to have sexually abused minors. This information is available here:

What follows is a damning piece of cover-up evidence. Auxiliary Bp. Curry, in a memo to Card. Mahony, discourages an abusive priest from going to a therapist because he might divulge past incidents of sexual abuse. Additionally, the two discuss plans to shuffle this priest on to another assignment.

Cardinal Mahony writes at the bottom of the memo: “Sounds good — please proceed!! Thanks! +RMM”

coverup letter

Click above to enlarge

This scandal in Los Angeles in sickening. I applaud Abp. Gomez for making this public and disciplining Card. Mahony and Bp. Curry. I also applaud him for apologizing on behalf of those who committed this grievous sin. May the next step be the defrocking by our Holy Father of all involved, including the Cardinal.

Please pray for victims of sexual abuse.

mahony and his liturgical dancers

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28 Responses to “Cardinal Roger Mahony Suspended for Abuse Cover-Up”

  1. DanielKane says:

    A sad bravo for +JHG who is left to clean up and suffer for a mess that is not his making. That is the nature of sin, the innocent suffer on behalf of the guilty. My heart breaks for the unconscionable and unspeakable suffering promulgated by a leadership that displayed a lack of morality that belies all description. In their corrective actions, I pray that they institute a rigorous and deeply involved psychological testing program and a prolonged period of observation to attempt to weed out men with such tendencies.

    As well, it would not hurt to post a sort of priestly “banns of marriage” whereby candidates for Holy Orders, would have a confidential, public vetting – “Mr. Smith is a candidate for ordination on June 1st, if anyone has any reason to suspect that his ordination would be a source of scandal or if he is otherwise has an impairment that would preclude his ordination please contact__________________.”

    That way, teachers, youth leaders, neighbors, etc. have a mechanism to sound a final alarm.

  2. Scott W. says:

    Ya know, as evil as the Soviets were, I gotta hand it to them– they knew what to do when a party member fell out of favor. They knocked down statues, destroyed pictures, erased them from history as best they could. Obviously, we shouldn’t go quite that far and that we should keep historical records of Cdl. Mahoney as instructive lessons on What Not to Do, but we could do with a little purging. Start by razing his Cathedral to the ground and rebuilding a new one that doesn’t look like a Frank Llyod Wright-wannabe monstrosity.

  3. Nerina says:

    Scott, you’re “scratching me where I itch,” so to speak.

    What amazes me is how Cdl. Mahoney remains a “priest in good standing.” I can’t believe he retains the privilege of celebrating Mass.

    How does Cdl. Mahoney’s involvement and action compare with Cdl. Law? I’m just curious.

  4. Nerina says:

    By the way, I found +Gomez’s letter quite poignant and fitting. He minces no words and labels the actions “evil” and find the reading of the files “brutal and painful.” I can’t even imagine, frankly. God bless him as he suffers for the sins of his predecessor.

  5. Nerina says:

    Another commentary regarding Mahony (and my apologies for repeatedly mispelling his name above):

  6. Richard Thomas says:

    Some of the culprits of the modernist herest, Archbishop Weakland and Cardinal Mahoney have been outed. Perhaps this is for their own salvation. Now, you cannot run and you cannot hide.

  7. Scott W. says:

    What amazes me is how Cdl. Mahoney remains a “priest in good standing.” I can’t believe he retains the privilege of celebrating Mass.

    Is he going to continue to celebrate Mass? I didn’t see anything in the letter other than he is relieved of his “public duties”. I don’t know if that includes administrating the sacraments. I wouldn’t oppose the removal of his priestly faculties if that is the proper way to put it.

  8. Dr. K says:

    I hope the Archdiocese clarifies the terms of this suspension. Do they just mean public appearances, or is he not permitted to exercise ministry within the archdiocese at all?

  9. JLo says:

    What a great idea, Daniel! Banns of Ordination. For all the psychotics it might invite initially, such would eventually settle into the intended function. +JMJ

  10. y2kscotty says:

    Banns of Ordination: probably a good idea. We might also consider Banns of Episcopal Ordination or Assignment. Rome could announce the Terna and ask for “comment” from the people. Something like this might have prevented the appointments of two successive bishops of Palm Beach or one bishop of Springfield (Mass.).
    Comparisons between Mahony and Law are inevitable.
    And the action by Gomez could also be interpreted as a (slight) slap at the Pope for protecting Cdl. Law.
    However one looks at this, it is an incredible piece of news that a “mere” Archbp takes down a Cardinal. O tempora, o mores.

  11. Scott W. says:

    Just a minor correction, while the state attorney sharply criticized Cdl. Law for his part in the abuse scandal, he denies that he evaded justice by going to Rome, so it would not be fair to say the Pope protected Law. Now whether Cardinal Law should have any position in the Church is fair game for discussion.

  12. Richard Thomas says:

    Banns of ordination aren’t a good idea. Anyone with an axe to grind, or who simply hates the Catholic Church could make false accusations, essentially ruining the future careers of many potential priests.

    What really needs to be done is considering ordination of men who uphold the teachings of the Majesterium.

    Psychological evaluation os extremely important but psychologists who also uphopd the teachings of the Majesterium should only be used. None of these people who think homosexuality is OK should be used.

  13. annonymouse says:

    I believe that celebration of the Sacraments is considered to be part of a priest’s “public duties” and as such, Cardinal Mahoney may not do so, except privately. I could be wrong about that.

    I think a Banns of Ordination is a good idea. At least in our Diocese, there is advance publicity (in the Courier) about those men approaching both priestly and deacon ordination, so even if there is no formal process, one could certainly contact the Bishop’s office if one had a significant issue with a man approaching ordination.

    I wonder what the statute of limitations in California is – I wonder if these men are facing jail time?

    y2kscotty – it didn’t even strike me that a “mere” Archbishop is “taking down” a Cardinal. I read this as the Archbishop of Los Angeles doing his job, which includes not perpetuating (continuing to cover up) the sins of his predecessor Archbishop and auxiliary. Obviously, Cardinal Mahoney was apprised of this decision in advance and given the opportunity to express his remorse. Publicly exposing a prince of the Church – yes I guess that is a big deal. But I don’t place much credence in the fact that Gomez is not (yet) a Cardinal – by virtue of his shepherding the largest diocese in the nation, he soon enough will be.

  14. annonymouse says:

    Richard – I presume that any such report from someone with an axe to grind would be thoroughly vetted and considered, and the credibility of the reporting party (or parties) would be weighed.

    I think that no matter who does the psychological evaluation, and however faithful to the Magisterium that person is, such an evaluation can’t be as thorough as asking for the input of the universe of people who know a young man.

  15. annonymouse says:

    On the other hand, I believe the purpose of Banns of Marriage is really to determine if someone has been married before / is still married or if there are any other canonical impediments to sacramental marriage (cc 1066-1067).

    I suppose the proposed Banns of Ordination could be similarly situated, as under c. 1043 the Faithful are obliged to inform the Ordinary or pastor of any impediments to Orders of which they’re aware (cc. 1040-1049 is instructive regarding the impediments and irregularities to receiving Orders).

  16. Richard Thomas says:

    Annonymouse. Do you know how long it takes to investigate these claims? Years.

    Look at the innocent priests accused of sexual wrongdoings who were removed from active ministry…for years while investigations were being conducted. Even though they were acquitted, many were never returned to public ministry.

    And then there would be the public disdain for any individual accused of sexual misgivings who would be later ordained. There would be too much bias and public resistance to ordain anyone falsely accused and with the terrible press and upheavel related to current and past sexual abuses, no bishop would ordain anyone accused of sexual misconduct for if any of these individuals were later to commit such an offense, the diocese would have to open their checkbooks and simply ask the lawyers how much!

  17. Richard Thomas says:

    Annonymouse, There is a solution to this problem.

    In Lincoln Nebraska, Bishop Bruschovitz (spellin), only ordained solid men. In his tenure of bishop, and I think it was several decades, there was no sexual abuse.

    It is related to the type of man you train and ordain.

  18. annonymouse says:

    Richard – better safe than sorry. I do not share your fear that there would be all kinds of unfounded accusations against candidates for ordination. But it would be good to better publicize who they are so that if there is a skeleton in the closet someplace, it may be more likely to be found out.

    How did Bishop Bruskewitz (20 years at Lincoln, by the way) do it? How exactly did he determine that he was only ordaining “solid men?” I believe you are correct – in twenty years there has not been a credible accusation of sexual abuse against any of the clergy he ordained (only three or so against Lincoln clergy from prior to his episcopacy). So I agree he is doing something right – what is it?

  19. militia says:

    I am struck by the contrast of “Effective immediately I have informed Cardinal Mahoney….” to the words regarding Bishop Curry: “I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibiity as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara.” Clearly the contrast implies resistance on the part of Cardinal Mahoney to acquiescence on the part of Bishop Curry. Then Cardinal Mahony begins a blog war. What is that supposed to accomplish? If lawyers have vetted Cardinal Mahony’s statements, it is hard to see the proof. Every word he says just deepens the mire and gives critics (and plaintiffs) more information. Yes we need to pray for Abp. Gomez, but I very much doubt he has taken these actions without the Pope’s approval.

  20. Diane Harris says:

    Bishop Bruskewitz! Love the man! I got to speak to him once on a call-in show (I think it is on this blog somewhere; if I can find it, I’ll post the link.) Meanwhile, I would like to suggest that Bishop Bruskewitz’s success in many areas is because he is his own man; actually he seems to be “God’s man.” He has no need for the public illusion that the USCCB program actually does anything to prevent abuse. He knows the Church’s moral teaching and his own responsibility; hence, he was the only holdout bishop to refuse to accept the USCCB guidelines, and hence those guidelines have no governing over him. Each bishop decides for himself unless there is unanimity, and there wasn’t. See the following LifeSite News article and the additional link praising Bishop Bruskewitz at the end of this post. reported on April 3, 2006:

    Patricia O’Donnell Ewers, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection (OCYP), recommended March 30 that the US bishops use “strong fraternal correction” to one of their members who has refused to comply with an annual audit of compliance with national guidelines on sex-abuse programs. The Bishop for whom the OCYP has recommended the correction is Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, a diocese that is one of the most faithful and has among the lowest rates of child abuse by clerics in the US.

    The annual “audit” by the OCYP measures how well dioceses have implemented programs recommended at the 2002 Dallas meeting of the USCCB on the homosexual abuse scandals. This year, however, was the first in which it was suggested the bishops attempt to examine whether the programs of the “Dallas Charter” actually succeed in protecting children. Many parents and other Catholics say they do not and that they are little more than massive PR effort to rehabilitate the bishops’ public image. Many have said the programs do little more than shift responsibility onto the children who are “trained” to protect themselves.

    Without holding back his outrage, Bruskewitz has come out swinging. In a statement issued March 31, he wrote, “The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws.”

    The bishop writes, “It is well known that some of the members of (the National Review) Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.”

    Bishop Bruskewitz has not been accused of molesting children, of aiding molestors, of bankrupting his diocese, or misusing diocesan funds to pay off plaintiffs, or sacrificing the religious freedom of the Church to avoid prosecution. Thus far, however, no official rebuke, disciplinary action or “fraternal correction” has been issued or even suggested against any of the numerous US bishops who have done one or more of these things.

    Bruskewitz does not hesitate to name the problem: “The members of (Ewer’s) Board are unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, Catholic ecclesiology, and even the basic rudiments of the Catholic Catechism.” Bruskewitz concludes, “The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.”

    In 2002, Bishop Bruskewitz was the only one of the bishops at Dallas who denounced the bishops’ plan saying it failed to address the real problem. The only group of Church employees for whom the Dallas Charter protection program did not establish standards of behaviour was the bishops themselves. When the bishops ignored Bruskewitz’s recommendation that the bishops examine their own failings, he said he did not consider himself bound to the initiative.

    Phil Lawler, writing in Catholic World News, called fraternal correction of bishops responsible for the sex abuse scandal a “wonderful” idea. He suggests including those bishops who have themselves been credibly accused of sexual abuse; those who have “signed away” parts of their Episcopal authority to avoid prosecution; those who used diocesan funds to make huge payoffs to settle sexual misconduct suits levelled against them by homosexual men; and those who have driven their diocese into federal bankruptcy courts.

    In 2002, the Dallas Morning News reported that at least two thirds of the US episcopate was either complicit through cover-ups or directly involved themselves in some cases of sexual abuse or misconduct. Since then many more allegations have come to light and more dioceses have applied for bankruptcy protection.

    Lawler suggests that the problem has been that the bishops have been allowed to respond to the crisis without credible oversight and therefore lack the will or “honesty to denounce themselves.” (End of LifeSite News article)

    See also

  21. Barnyard says:

    Maybe the priests who are guilty of the sexual abuse crimes, besides being thrown out of the priesthood, should get to spend some time in jail.

  22. Scott W. says:

    Maybe the priests who are guilty of the sexual abuse crimes, besides being thrown out of the priesthood, should get to spend some time in jail.

    No objection here. But bear in mind that secular authorities can be corrupt as well. And interestingly enough, corrupt in two ways. We’ve seen examples of local police running cover for pedophile priests, but we also saw an example of where a convicted priest was shoved into a cell with a notoriously violent prisoner and the priest was murdered almost immediately. It would be nigh on impossible to prove, but I suspect it was a deliberate informal execution.

  23. Richard Thomas says:

    just want to say one more thing.

    If you are accused of sexual abuse, it will follow you and stay with you until you die, even if you are deemed innocent.

    That’s why banns of ordination are bad. A priest, acused of abuse in seminary will be doubly afrain of hugging a child for fear someone will accuse him of abuse. And parents will also be very wary of priest contact with children

    Unfortunately, this is a stigma and the priestly duties of someone are too sacred and important to be compromised by false charges

  24. Scott W. says:

    This seems like much ado about nothing. It’s not like seminarians are identified young and spirited away to the Jedi Academy. Every parish or diocese usually splays its seminarians with pride on websites. It’s not like its a big secret that will stymie someone looking for justice.

  25. John F. Kennedy says:

    Anyone else notice item #1? “ … I see him possibly working particularly in counseling those whose marriages have broken up and before they engage in a new marriage.”

    I thought Jesus (and the Church) taught that we only marry once for life? Only people who have had their marriages annulled or confirmed that they weren’t married can marry. Were they actively encouraging married people who had a civil divorce to marry again in the Church?

  26. Scott W. says:

    While our teachings on marriage are relatively straight-forward, marriage, divorce, and annulment all taken together can be hard to capture when you are expressing something shorthand. So I think you might be reading too much into that.

  27. annonymouse says:

    JFK – I agree with Scotty – I think it is implicit that #1 is speaking of those couples who have, if necessary, had prior relationships declared null.

    I do find it curious that the Msgr thought it prudent to have someone with such an obvious sexual disorder counsel couples preparing for marriage, an integral part of which is holy sexual intimacy.

    Diane – thank you for the information about Bp. Bruskewitz. It is obvious that he’s been doing many things right. And this article seems to imply that there is an “elephant in the living room” that Dallas failed to address – the behaviors and orientations of many of the bishops themselves!

  28. Richard Thomas says:

    There is a great presentation on today’s vortex on

    It goes into detail about the evil doings of Cardinal Mahoney and Cardinal Bernadin. It describes their efforts to form a new church called the “Am Church” and Mahoney did all he could to promote it, like having an annual confrence for religious teachers where he promoted heresy in all aspects of our faith, like Bishop Clark did but on a much larger scale.

    He and bernadin had their say on the naming of bishops in the US, which may be why Bishop Clark was made bishop.

    Christ wins in the end. I hope I never do anything to promote heresy but prayer for these men is needed.

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