Hispanics have not turned against bishops who have enabled sexual abusers the way other Catholics have.

At the start of the crisis, the Globe reported:

Law has been hounded by the media and Catholics around the world, but his strongest defenders have been local minorities. Last month, dozens of Hispanic supporters chanting in support of Law on the front steps of the cathedral faced harsh words from protesters.

After Law resigned, Hispanics still supported him:

”It hurts me so much,” Sanchez said yesterday afternoon while sitting in a pew in the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in East Boston. ”I was never in favor of him stepping down.”

Like many immigrants, especially those from Latin America, Sanchez remained supportive of Law even as the clergy sexual abuse scandal triggered a tidal wave of demands for his resignation.

He knows Law made grave mistakes, and he’s sickened by the thought of priests sexually abusing children, but he said he can’t allow himself to be angry at Law. He said that only through forgiveness can people really heal. Above that, though, he said it’s impossible to dislike a man who has done so much good for others – especially Latinos.

For them, ”el cardenal,” holds a special place in their hearts.

When Hurricane Mitch pummeled Honduras and Nicaragua in 1998, Law raised more than $1.5 million to help families there. When earthquakes ravaged El Salvador and Colombia in 2001, ”el cardenal” again went into action.

In fluent Spanish, Law has consoled Latino parishioners when they needed it. The cardinal speaks lovingly of his birthplace: Mexico City.

While some people may question the strong support expressed by many immigrants, the Rev. Robert Hennessey, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer, said it makes perfect sense.

”They have great capacity to forgive,” Hennessey said. ”They have a different view.”

He likens that view to how families handle a crisis at home: ”When you have a loving father that did something wrong, he’s still your loving father.”

Cardinal Mahoney has been revealed as an enabler and protector of pedophiles. He has long been a champion of Hispanics.

In his long tenure in the nation’s largest archdiocese, Cardinal Mahony, now 76, distinguished himself as a keen politician in both civic and church circles. He was an early champion of Hispanic immigrants, marching with César Chávez, the founder of the United Farm Workers of America, and is beloved by many Hispanics, who make up 70 percent of the four million Catholics in the archdiocese.

Los Angeles Hispanics are conflicted but still supportive:

“Roger Mahony will continue to be my friend. But reading all this stuff, it breaks my heart,” said Antonia Hernandez, an immigrant rights activist who’s worked with Mahony since he was a bishop in Stockton in the late 1970s. “Here are these people he spent his whole life protecting from abuse and when he could do something about it, he didn’t.”

But Hernandez, the president and chief executive of the California Community Foundation, a leading philanthropic organization, said Mahony did too much for immigrants for his achievements to be dismissed, saying: “His affinity for the immigrant community, the farmworker, is genuine and real.”

To me this looks like a large-scale version of the Stockholm Syndrome.

Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy, sympathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.[1][2] The FBI‘s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.[3]

Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”[4] One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they no longer become a threat. [5]

The abuser keeps the victim off guard by acts of kindness mixed with acts of abuse. Mahoney championed farm workers as he let his priests rape their children. Hispanics are conflicted and uncertain how to respond.

I know there are some Hispanics who read this blog. What do you think?

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