Leon J. Podles :: DIALOGUE

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Archbishop Gomez’ Actions in LA

February 4th, 2013 · 36 Comments

Several people here and elsewhere have criticized Archbishop Gomez, He has been in charge of the Los Angles archdiocese for two years - why did he wait until now to do anything, as Mahony himself asked.

My guess is that events passed something like this:

When Gomez began archbishop, it took him a while to assimilate what had happened. He had enormous new duties as archbishop, the paper trail ran to tens of thousands of pages, and the leftover staff from Mahony’s years was not in a  hurry to point out how compromising the documents were.

When Gomez realized what had happened, he knew he had to do two things: release the documents and rebuke Mahony.

They had to be done simultaneously.

He could not release the documents without rebuking Mahony -  that is clear.

He could not rebuke Mahoney without releasing the documents, because Mahony and his defenders would claim that Gomez’ s actions were not justified by the evidence.

But he could not rebuke Mahony publicly without getting the Vatican’s consent – and that would take time and negotiation.

In the meanwhile he had to let the lawyers continue their legal maneuvers so that the documents would not be released without a simultaneous rebuke of Mahony.

As soon as he had Vatican consent, Gomez released the documents and rebuked Mahony – that is all that Gomez himself could do.

That is my guess about how things developed.

Tags: clergy sex abuse scandal

36 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mary // Feb 4, 2013 at 9:26 am

    When the Philadelphia ArchDiocesan Report was released the cardinal had been deposed and yet there was no rebuke for Bevilaqua.Later, when about to be placed on the hot seat for responsibility via the legal system, his lawyers claimed dementia and ill health but a Judge ruled he was competent to testify.He died the next day.Now some Catholics on blog commentaries have even wondered when his Cause for Canonization will be launched!

    The spotlight should be refocused on the Vatican as Rod Dreher suggests .The Vatican cannot have it both ways and float the credibility boat .
    To demand total obedience to the Magisterium of the flock, while excusing the Princes for their callous negligence and criminal activities towards the same, is hypocritical even to a child’s mind.
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-unmitigated-gall-of-cardinal-mahony/
    “Watch the Vatican. The Pope has the power to act against Mahony. Does he have the moral courage?”
    Restricting Mahony’s clerical role seems like the same (punishment?) that was meted out to the deceased pederast Maciel, of the
    Legion of Christ.
    You could redefine it as a pretty nice retirement in the real world of the working peasant.

  • 2 Truth Lover // Feb 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Why is there nothing on Fox News about this whole thing?

  • 3 Oso Pious // Feb 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” premiers tonight on HBO and it is perfect timing! It follows the abuse of deaf children by a pedophile priest in Milwaukee. I hope someone will make a movie about the current crisis in Los Angeles. The new superior of the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, Father David Fitzgerald s.P., comes directly to us here in New Mexico from San Bernardino, California. I wonder how much the Paracletes were involved with Cardinal Mahoney. As far as Archbishop Jose Gomez goes, it does my heart good to see a native Hispanic take down one of the Irish “good old boys” who have dominated and controlled this region’s hierarchy for so long!

  • 4 Mary // Feb 5, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Truth Lover,
    An interesting piece that might shed light as to why it is not news worthy.
    http://fhu.com/articles/brainwashing1.html

  • 5 More of the Same // Feb 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Tell that to the abuse victims who were still getting shredded in court by the lawyers whose bills Gomez was still paying during that time.

    It seems like I once heard that the end doesn’t justify the means.

    Why couldn’t he rebuke Mahoney without getting the consent of the Vatican? Was there a gun to his head? Politics seems like a pretty poor answer. And haven’t we heard repeatedly from the Vatican that the Pope and Vatican are not the “boss” of these bishops?

    The Church can’t have it both ways. Either the Pope/Vatican really is the boss (and therefore might be help responsible for the action of the bishops) or the bishops act on their own. If the bishops act on their own, there is no excuse for Gomez’s delay.

    Sure, it might have been career suicide for him, but what an inspiration that act of political suicide would have been. THAT would have been an act of heroic virtue.

    Instead, we see just more of the same from the Church—reacting and doing the right thing only when forced by the “evil” media or the “money-hungry” laywers of abuse victims.

    No inspiration or cause for admiration here.

    Meanwhile, Mahoney will keep living in his mansions while he gets ready to vote for the next Pope.

    Yuck.

  • 6 Oso Pious // Feb 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    What Archbishop Jose Gomez did was like a Colonel firing a General in the Army! The revolution has begun! The abuse has finally reached its tipping point and no amount of clerical cover-up can keep the truth from breaking out! “El Grito de Gomez”, i.e. the “Shouting Cry of Gomez” will be heard across across the Americas and be shouted from the highest heights of hierarchy. Like the new Jewish warriors who stand on the heights of Masada, they will cry “Never Again!”

  • 7 Tony de New York // Feb 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    NO, is NOT ‘more of the same.’

    Mahony is wounded, he knows that he is NOT welcome in bishop Gomez archdiocese.

    This is the beginning!

  • 8 Oso Pious // Feb 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Dear More of the Same….Archbishop Jose Gomez is from Monterrey, Mexico and he knows how the common people live. He has joined numerous “la raza” type groups as a Bishop in San Antonio, Texas. Jose Gomez is a man of the people and like Emiliano Zapata, Benito Juarez, and his hero of “For Greater Glory”, General Enrique Gorostieta, he will lead the way. Jose Gomez is NOT one of the “lambes” (suck ups) like Mahoney and his ilk. Go cross the border into Mexico and see the place where a Jose Gomez comes from!

  • 9 More of the Same // Feb 5, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Meh. Color me unimpressed.

    Way too little, way too late.

    The Church is going to have to come up with a whole lot better than this if she wants to regain any kind of credibility or moral authority.

    To me, it is honestly rather pathetic that people are hailing Gomez as some kind of hero. Have our standards really fallen this low?

    Good grief.

    I can already envision the news cameras catching shots of Mahoney in his full regalia as he steps out of his limo to head into the next Papal voting enclave.

  • 10 Mary // Feb 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    “To me, it is honestly rather pathetic that people are hailing Gomez as some kind of hero. Have our standards really fallen this low?”

    Yes, and even further down than this!

  • 11 Joseph D'Hippolito // Feb 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    More of the Same, your last paragraph raises a pivotal issue. If Mahony retains his membership in the College of Cardinals, Rome never will be able to retrieve its moral authority.

  • 12 Mary // Feb 6, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Joseph, do they care?
    Look at the Bishop in CA who sat in the witness chair while his defense attorney presented his letters and replies to the then Cardinal Ratzinger to whom he begged permission to defrock a known pederast but was continually refused for ,”The good of the Universal Church”!
    The only thing that they seem to care about was that the US government block any litigation naming the Pope himself as revealed in a Wikileak cable between Rice and Sodano.

  • 13 Joseph D'Hippolito // Feb 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Mary, they most likely don’t care, which is the precise problem.

    Power not only corrupts, as Lord Acton said. It also isolates. The larger the organization (religious or secular), the greater the chance for isolated leadership. Mahony’s comments (especially his open letter to Gomez) not only reveal personal ethical terptitude but the hierarchy’s fundamental isolation. Throw in the idea of priests and bishops being “ontologically different,” and you have a recipe for pervasive, long-standing corruption.

    This is no different that apparachiks in the Communist Party viewing themselves as the “vanguards of the Revolution,” thereby justifying their access to things and privledges that the “proletariat” could barely dream about.

  • 14 Oso Pious // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    The FUTURE of the Catholic Church and the Republican party depends on Hispanics. In California and New Mexico Hispanics outnumber any white people in percentage of population. Hispanics are the future of the Church in North and South America and the Vatican knows this! Soon to be “Cardinal” Jose Gomez represents the new wave of Catholics! Get on the bus and ride with Jose, amigos! Let Cardinal Mahoney and his cronies get thrown under the bus.

  • 15 cm // Feb 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    This was a PR act, nothing more.

    The main object is to protect, promote, and make sure convicted priests are abettors don’t rat on the ring. Today the ring continues with impunity, without fear, with great vigor.
    Nothing will change until the researchers uncover and law enforcement go after the ring…but they won’t because a) they may have links to the ring b) they are getting paid c) joint interests include mafia money, sex trafficking and drugs.

    Today’s article on convicted priest promoted and protected in Newark:
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/newark-archdiocese-stands-by-ministry-of-priest-accused-of-sex-abuse/

    Article on cross-dressing priest with meth lab in rectory.
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/18/connecticut-cross-dressing-meth-priest-reportedly-liked-sex-in-rectory/

  • 16 Mary // Feb 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Oso,
    The Hispanics still love Maciel and the Legion despite what has been made known . He is still thought of as a hero in his Mexican hometown.
    Gomez is a member of Opus Dei and frankly after reading Carmen del Tapia’s book ,Escriva’s secretary for over 23 years, the testimonials written on Opus Libros, Odan and Opus Dei Alert and knowing ex members personally.I think I prefer to drive myself and leave the bus ride to others.
    As far as the Republican Party goes , well they have proven their worth too! Too many people have fallen into bankruptcy ,foreclosure and dispair after buying into Bush’s American Dream.

  • 17 More of the Same // Feb 6, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    That Gomez is from Monterrey brings me no comfort. Add to that the fact he is Opus Dei, and my mistrust increases even further

    My family was sucked into the Legionaries of Christ enough to know that Monterrey was a hotbed for Legion corruption. It would surprise me not at all if it isn’t a hotbed for Opus corruption as well.

    Sorry– I’ve been burned, and burned pretty badly, and my family suffers for my poor decisions getting sucked into something like the Legion every day. I have done quite a bit of research, and I am no longer eyes wide shut.

    I will never feel the same way about the institution of the Catholic Church (and I consider this to be a very good thing, I might add) and stay mostly because I believe in the Eucharist.

    Gomez’s response, years late, does not impress me.

    I would like to see ONE bishop, just one, do the right thing, respond in a human fashion, and not pussy-foot around waiting to see if the Vatican will approve.

    A few weeks after the news that Maciel really was a pervert and a fraud after all came out, I marched up to the apostolic school my son attended and point-blank asked the rector why photos of the pervert and child molester extraordinaire were still hanging up in hallowed places in the halls of the school. “We are waiting for the Vatican to direct us”, he said. I said, “WHAT?! Since when do you have to wait for the Vatican to tell you it’s okay to do the right thing?!” He demurred with, “Well, it’s a delicate situation.” Today it makes me laugh out loud to think of it.

    What a joke. Catholics (including bishops, although I am coming to the conclusion very few of them are actually Catholic) have never needed to wait for the Vatican to tell them it’s okay to do the right thing.

    Gomez could have released the documents and let the chips fall where they may. He could have publicly denounced Mahoney’s part in the covering up and shuffling of child molesters. He could have vindicated the abuse victims instead of allowing them to be dragged through the courts and shredded by church lawyers for another two years.

    Sure, he might have lost his career over it. But he would have gained a lot of respect and restored hope in Catholics that perhaps there are actually some bishops who have human feelings and appropriate emotional responses to issues like the sexual molestation of children.

    No, he pussy-footed around for a couple of years until he got the okay from the Vatican to give Mahony a punishment that really amounts to nothing but a little bit of public humiliation for Mahony.

    And yes, it will be a massive scandal when we all watch Mahoney sweep out of his limo with his lace and designer shoes and be whisked into the enclave to vote for our next pontiff.

    I definitely see it as more of the same. At best, way too little, too late.

  • 18 Mary Ann // Feb 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I am with Leon. Archbishop Gomez delegates. He is not a micro manager, and he is slow to move from one thing to another, taking things one at a time. He is a CPA and I always thought he was sent to LA to sort out the finances from previous lawsuit judgments, and raise money to pay them. I doubt he had read the paper trail, and he probably believed whatever he was told. Bishops can no longer afford to believe or follow the advice of lawyers. What I found admirable in what Gomez did was not the timing but the actual words he used. That sort of remark about a cardinal by his bishop is unprecedented. It appears he was slapped down pretty quickly by either canon lawyers or the Vatican, but it exposed his gut reaction, which was admirable, and the first truly admirable response I have heard from any bishop save that one in Ireland.

  • 19 TheAltonRoute // Feb 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I wouldn’t trust Opus Dei, either. I’m no expert on the subject of Cabala but I’ve read some interesting articles suggesting that Escriva was a practitioner of it. And I wonder whether the Legionaries are just a front for Opus Dei. One really has to wonder about the Jesuits as well. I suppose it’s a miracle that the RC Church has survived the existence of these groups.

  • 20 Oso Pious // Feb 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    In 1974 in the Santa Fe Archdiocese, Archbishop James Davis was even more corrupt than Cardinal Mahoney. Just before the investigation of a huge scandal broke out, Davis suddenly became ill and had to leave for Phoenix and sick leave. Then from out of the blue came the announcement that Robert Sanchez, a lowly and simple pastor of San Felipe Church in Old Town Albuquerque, would be elevated to our the new Archbishop. In 1991 after horrific sexual revelations, when Archbishop had to go into exile and hiding because of the sexual scandals, the Vatican brought in Bishop Sheehan from Lubbock, Texas. The Vatican was “burned” and their plans for Sanchez to be their new Hispanic hope and Cardinal were set aside. The hopes and dreams of Hispanic Catholics for a Hispanic Cardinal were set back for decades. …Now, at last Hispanics have a newly created champion, Archbishop Jose Gomez! He comes from across the border in Mexico, where the drug cartels and violence are a daily event. I doubt he will be wearing special designer shoes and ride ia a limo. He is not “perfect” but he is the best hope we have for a game change in this world of “clerical chess”.!

  • 21 Joseph D'Hippolito // Feb 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Regardless of Gomez’s actions, the ball is now in Rome’s court. Rome must summon Mahony for clerical trial and strip him of membership in the College of Cardinals. That’s where the focus should be. Gomez had to do what he did to retain any sort of credibility within the archdiocese.

    More of the Same, were the Legionnaires a “personal prelature” of the Pope, like Opus Dei is? If so, that might partially explain the rector’s reaction. Of course, it’s also good ol’ fashion’ buck-passing.

  • 22 Mary // Feb 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Mary Ann people are calling for deceased Cardinal Bevilaqua’s Cause for canonization as he allegedly gave a gut reation also by stating that hx should be barred from seminaries and Holy Orders.

    Oso , too bad that the Hispanics, or any Catholic individual nationality for that matter, needs a “champion”. I foolishly have always thought that being ” Catholic” ( universal) meant that our champion is Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

  • 23 Oso Pious // Feb 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Mary Ann, You admired Jose Gomez’ gut reaction as “the first truly admirablr response” from any bishop save that one in Ireland. I too have watched the Irish Bishop wash the feet of the abused victims and I totally agree with you. Archbishop Jose Gomez went around to the parishes and comforted the victims of sexual abuse. HE TRULY FELT THEIR PAIN! …We have Legionaires and Opus Dei priests here in New Mexico and the Servants of the Paraclete have returned with a vengeance! Not all of them are evil! In John’s gospel chapter 7, verse 4 it states: “There is no man that does anything in secret!” When I was a Paraclete Novice, we used to say that s.P. really stood for “secret police”. I correspond and talk on the phone regularly with Father David Fitzgerald s.P., the current Superior of the Paracletes. He is an advocate for gay and lesbian Catholics. I live in a Hispanic community in a Hispanic majority State and I know how much they yearn for a champion to represent them! I lived in Mexico in the 70’s and I have visited Mexico City and Juarez many times. The Hispanics have suffered enough already, they have borne the abuse of recycled pedophile priests for decades. They have remained true believers in the Church and now they need a holy and humble leader like Jose Gomez. He is not ideal but neither were the 12 apostles! Give him an honest and even chance!

  • 24 Jacob // Feb 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone!” Here in New Mexico, Archbishops Sheehan and Sanchez didn’t even apologize for covering up all the abuse. Sanchez said in a deposition that he didn’t even know it was a sin! Robert Sanchez reigned for almost 20 years (1974-1991) and he never uncovered any abuse. Sanchez let the Paracletes recycle hundreds of pedophile priests (a lot from California and New York) into naive and innocent Hispanic towns and communities. The villages are still trying to recover from many generations of priestly sexual abuse of their sons and daughters! The future of the Church and the Democratic party lies with the Hispanics as Mitt Romney found out the hard way! Archbishop Gomez is driving the “Straight Talk Express Bus” and you’d better get on or get run over!!!

  • 25 Mary // Feb 8, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Jacob,

    “The Straight Talk Express”or rewriting not so ancient history for a different image?

    The new Postulater for Justice of the CDF is actually thanking the media for exposing the clerical pederast scandals.Because
    “In the beginning our reaction was ‘no this is not possible, people don’t do this to children.”
    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=16998
    I guess it depends on what “In the beginning …”means.
    Does it mean back to the fifties when the Vatican first heard from Maciel’s seminary victims as chronicled by Jose Barba who has published these files sent to him by Vatican clerics who also saw flaws in the alleged straight talk? Does it mean in the eighties and nineties when they knew the Diocesan coffers were being drained thanks to the lawsuit payouts to victims with the attached silence clauses? Almost four million here paid out in my Diocese by the early nineties.

    Straight talk eh?
    Gomez is an Opus Dei Bishop .I don’t think OD has any corner on the market of “straight talk” Now if I read the story above correctly, neither does the CDF.

    http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/18th-april-1997/1/opus-dei-under-fire-for-attack-on-disabled
    http://www.alcazar.net/Note_from.pdf

    As far as , ‘getting on or being run over’……Many of us had our hearts and souls flattened a long time ago by the laughable straight talk you now laude and I do not think these people rode the straight talk express you speak of either .They rode another bus.
    Where the Rubber Meets the “Road to Recovery”: Survivor Success Stories
    http://www.road-to-recovery.org/success_stories

  • 26 Mary // Feb 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Hispanic survivors of the Pinochet rule do not consider opus dei anybody their Champion.
    Jesus is our Champion if we call ourselves Christian ! They are not impressed with either the Pro Life or Pro Choice banners since they are corrupted political slogans …
    “Critics have also said that Opus Dei “members were among the first and main administrators of the brutal and oppressive military regime of General Pinochet.”
    http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/oppositionwatch/documents/OpusDeiinLatinAmerica.pdf

    The power is behind God’s Commandment “Thou shalt not kill” and not behind political slogans!
    As far as the future of America resting with either the Repubs or the Dems it does not rest in their hands.
    http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1308-the-linchpin-lie-how-global-collapse-will-be-sold-to-the-masses

  • 27 Tony de New York // Feb 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    ‘Rome must summon Mahony for clerical trial and strip him of membership in the College of Cardinals. That’s where the focus should be.’

    AMEN!!!

  • 28 Oso Pious // Feb 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Mary, Regarding the term “catholic”: The originally Greek words ‘KATA’ and ‘OLOS’ also meant ‘in general’ … For centuries, the French dominated the clergy in New Mexico (5 French Archbishops in a row) and for decades the Irish dominated all the Bishoprics in California. So please don’t give me your “pious” opinion that we are all “catholic/ universal” when the FACTS prove otherwise! Whenever the Church needed a Bishop for the Southwest, they went to Puerto Rico or Cuba to choose one because they reasoned that all Hispanics/Latinos are the same?! Well Marco Rubio, the new “Sarah Palin” type phenom of the Republican party’s father is from Cuba and he doesn’t meet the pedigree test as one of our “hermanos” in New Mexico or California. When will you good people understand that all Indians are not the same and all Hispanics are not the same? Just as all “Anglos” are not Italians, or French or British or German , etc.. and therefore are not the same. BUT “IN GENERAL” WE ARE ALL SOMEHOW RELATED, OR “CATHOLIC”as you say…and each culture DOES need a champion!

  • 29 Mary // Feb 9, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Jacob,
    Championing our own cultures in a nation and Church that is a melting pot of diversity has been carried to the extreme.
    The result is increased bigotry and the “me first” attitude that is so pervasive in society. Where’s the “unity”?
    You cannot see the forest,which is on fire, for the tree.When the smoke lifts the clarity “More of the Same” becomes clear.

  • 30 Mary // Feb 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Tony,
    Amen to that! When your caught with your pants down a simple “sorry” does not cut it and ArchBish Gomez visiting with some survivors does not satisfy the cries for justice either to Heaven or to the Vatican that rest on Mahony.

    If the Vatican is what it claims to be ,then it’s Princes responsible for the continuation of abuse and coverup should be held accountable to the Institution itself and not be allowed to continue as participants in Vatican business which affects us ALL in general.

  • 31 TheAltonRoute // Feb 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I don’t see Mexicans bringing a new renaissance to the Catholic Church in the US. Some of them are devout, but where I live it seems the vast majority don’t go to church. In my hometown the European ethnic identities of the old parishes have been suppressed completely, yet we have “Spanish Masses” at the old Slovak church. I suppose the area of Mexico where these people come from could be unchurched. At any rate, the old ethnic model our “Conciliar” church leaders worked so hard to destroy probably would work well for Mexicans.

  • 32 Joseph D'Hippolito // Feb 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Mary of post 25, the Catholic Church has known about clerical pederasty at least since 1049, when St. Peter Damian published “The Book of Gomorrah,” which described the problem (complete with pictures) and served as a challenge to the pope of his day.

    If the CDF is “thanking” the media, it’s because CDF has no other recourse. For the past millenium, the Catholic Church would use its political and financial influence not only to hide the problem but also to refuse to develop any effective internal means to hold priests and bishops accountable. Given that Catholicism served as the state religion even in Fascist Italy, that political influence had willing secular accomplices.

  • 33 More of the Same // Feb 11, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Looks like we will be seeing Mahoney sweep out of his limo and into the voting conclave even sooner than we thought.

    Lovely.

  • 34 Separated Brother // Feb 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Question: Does Cardinal Mahony’s suspension extend to a ban from attending the coming papal enclave or is it an invitation only event among the college of cardinals?

  • 35 Oso Pious // Feb 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    We finally won! The Pope is resigning and we all know the real reason! Now let the games begin!
    Let us all join together and pray that the new Pope will be a true reformer and help heal the Church, both laity and clergy!

  • 36 mary ann // Feb 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Amazing. All the bishops had to do was turn the bad guys over to the police, as they should have, as would have any normal man. If they had, the “Church” would have had no responsibility for this in anyone’s eyes, and the perps would have been taken care of. All this grief and cost and injury to avoid a simple duty. Makes you wonder what they’re hiding.

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