Pope’s ‘special envoy’ blunder infuriates Scranton Catholics
There was uproar among Catholics in Scranton, Pennsylvania, when it was announced last week that Pope Francis had chosen disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony, above, to be his special envoy at an event to celebrate the local diocese’s 150th anniversary Mass on March 4.
Their anger was understandable. For, according to this report, Mahony – Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles – had been disciplined for covering up his knowledge of priests who had committed sex crimes against youngsters. The perpetrators were counselled, transferred out of his diocese, and went on on to repeat their abuse.
After some local Catholics threatened, according to Church Militant, to protest at the event, Mahony said he will now not attend the Scranton Dioceses’s shindig.
The announcement of Mahony’s attendance, since removed from the Internet by the diocese, says in this cached version:
“We are most grateful to our Holy Father for appointing Cardinal Mahony to be his personal envoy for this special celebration, and we are honored that the Cardinal has so graciously accepted this invitation,” said Bishop Joseph C. Bambera. “This expression of the Pope’s pastoral support is another blessing as we mark the founding of our Diocese, and we look forward to welcoming His Eminence Cardinal Mahony to celebrate this historic milestone with us.”
Bill Genello, the diocese’s Executive Director of Communications, said yesterday:
Bishop Bambera was informed late last week that his Eminence, Roger Cardinal Mahony, is unable to attend the Mass.
Mahony, who, as Archbishop of Los Angeles, covered up priestly sex abuse was disciplined in 2013 by his successor Archbishop Jose Gomez. Gomez banned Mahony from “any administrative or public duties”.
After a court order requiring the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release documents some of which expose Mahony’s cover-up of sexual abuse by priests, Gomez publicly censured Mahony who retired after 25 years of being Cardinal Archbishop of the city in 2011.
“Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties,” said a public letter issued by Archbishop Gomez Thursday.
The documents, some 12,000 pages, show that Mahony purposely concealed from the public his knowledge of priests who had committed sex crimes with youth, transferring the perpetrators after they received counseling only to have them sexually abuse again and again.
The abuses were so severe that current Archbishop Jose Gomez commented Thursday, “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil.”
Mahony’s day-to-day life was largely unchanged following the decision. The cleric could continue to live at a North Hollywood parish and offer Mass while remaining a “priest in good standing”, Church Militant reported.
Pope Francis’ appointment of Mahony as his special envoy came just before news emerged about the pontiff’s own role in the promoting rather than punishing a sex abuser and sex abuser-enabling clerics.
Francis claimed he’d never received any information about the role Chilean Bishop Juan Barros had in child sex abuse. But it turns out Cardinal Sean O’Malley had personally delivered him a letter from a victim.