“Cardinal Mahony relieved of duties over handling of abuse. L.A. Archbishop Jose Gomez takes action against his predecessor for his role in the priest sex scandal; another top church official resigns from his post.”
Ponder the absolute “hell on earth” this man put the victims of clerical pedophilia through during his tenure as Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985–2011, his moral flaws are structural and permeate his career.
“In a move unprecedented in the American Catholic Church, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez announced Thursday that he had relieved his predecessor, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, of all public duties over his mishandling of clergy sex abuse of children decades ago.” LA Times 02/01/2013.
This directive had to come from Pope Benedict XVI, rightly so, a Church leader himself under scrutiny for dereliction of spiritual duty. When we do not hold “truth to power” we have chaos.
L.A. Archbishop Jose Gomez and the Popes of the last century have unquestionably risen to the pinnacle of neglect, carelessness in their religious and spiritual duty, some even complicit, involved in unethical, illegal and immoral activity. Blame is crushing a few, many will escape, for the rest, let their conscience be their proper compass. Alas, evil exists because the “good” do nothing. Are we all not somewhere in this collage?
Is there any wonder about the “Decline of America” as we are witness to the corruption of those of special privilege and tasked with the stewarding of our culture’s spirituality? To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was more specific, “A religion that does not serve the needs of the people is no religion.” And “they did not know” is not an option. I like your Christ, I do not like your Catholics.
Now study carefully an oath of office that bishops and cardinals take:
“I [name and surname], Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, promise and swear to be faithful henceforth and forever, while I live, to Christ and his Gospel, being constantly obedient to the Holy Roman Apostolic Church, to Blessed Peter in the person of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, and of his canonically elected Successors; to maintain communion with the Catholic Church always, in word and deed; not to reveal to any one what is confided to me in secret, nor to divulge what may bring harm or dishonor to Holy Church;* to carry out with great diligence and faithfulness those tasks to which I am called by my service to the Church, in accord with the norms of the law. So help me Almighty God.”
To the very heart of the problem goes the javelin true of accountability and responsibility. This is the venality of the clerical culture, the lack of integrity and honesty; a false spirituality and the use of a position of trust and faith for dishonest gain, power, lust and sex.
There are none who can be excused from being clerical predators or complicit lest they were deaf, dumb, and blind. Those who pass through the gauntlet of advancement in the Catholic Church can never be accused of being ignorant or intellectually lazy, just manipulative. Of course there are some “good people”, who did nothing, else this scandal would not exist, clerics who will ultimately have to carry the burden of a crippled religion.
Those who may find it extremely difficult if not impossible to escape culpability, accountability, responsibility and answerability, the way is through the Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals, The Prefects of the Doctrine of the Faith and the very Popes themselves. Start with highest priority first: Cardinal Bernard Law, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Cardinal Adam Maida, Cardinal Edward Egan, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua , Cardinal William Keeler and Cardinal Francis George. And for the sober mind this scandal has tainted all but a few, sadly a very few clerics.
Inclusive in bearing false witness for the purpose of protecting the Church against harm, is that vow they all take. There are those, and there are many, who must come to answer for Dietrich Bonheoffer’s maxim “Not to act is to act”, “Not to speak is to speak.”
And in the final analysis, much like our political process, we get, we nurture and we protect those who do not deserve our love. Yes, the laity within religions, like the electorate within politics, is the last stand against spiritual and political tyranny. Are we all found wanting?