This is an interesting Horror Show Sunday post because it’s not about a religious figure who directly harmed anyone, at least not that we’re aware of, it’s the story of a Catholic Cardinal who directly and repeatedly, because of his religion, not only allowed sexual abuse to go on under his watch, he did it over and over and over again. What’s perhaps worse, even after he retired, even after he admitted he was wrong, he did his best to keep all of the sordid details, especially his own involvement, from coming to light.
Yes, this is the story of Cardinal Roger Mahony.
In 2007, there was a major lawsuit against Los Angeles area Catholic churches, in which more than 500 people who were abused by priests were awarded more than a million dollars each. The total settlement was $660 million and as a part of that settlement, the archdiocese was ordered to release it’s records showing who knew what and when.
After the court order came down, the Church fought it for years, even trying the unbelievable “the church has suffered enough” line to try to keep the names of pedophile priests and the hierarchy that protected them out of the public eye. Luckily, it didn’t work, the judge ordered them to release all of the names, but then there was another “snag”, the church claimed they had already redacted all of the names and it would take a long time to… ahem… find them all again.
However, now the list is out and, as we all expected, it shows a pattern of knowingly hiding pedophile priests, providing damage control for the church and outright lying to parishioners in an attempt to keep them in the dark.
In the aftermath of the lawsuit, Cardinal Mahony “retired” from the priesthood and currently resides in the Vatican, conveniently immune from prosecution. However, the documents clearly show that Mahony was personally aware of what was going on. In letters to his top adviser, he argued that they shouldn’t allow a priest, accused of molesting more than 20 children, who Mahony had sent for “treatment” to return to the LA archdiocese for fear someone might see him and file a lawsuit. He and his adviser were both quite clear that they understood the priest was guilty and that both legal and civil charges were likely if anyone recognized that he was still acting as a priest. Therefore, they shuffled him off to another archdiocese where he could continue his acts of molestation.
Of course, Mahony makes a lot of conciliatory noises when backed into a corner, he says “oh, if only we had known what to do back in those days”. What? Someone has to tell you to report a child-raping priest to the police? Seriously? Someone has to explain that to you? He also apologized, saying he’ll pray for the victims. Um, numbnuts, if you hadn’t allowed these priests to remain in contact with children, you wouldn’t have to pray for them, they probably wouldn’t have been molested in the first place!
Unfortunately, this is the way the Catholic Church operates. I’m sure people will claim that it’s only in limited areas and a few people who have actually broken the law and the public trust, but the reality is, there are diocese across the U.S. that have declared bankruptcy because of payouts to victims, this is not something that only happens here and there, it’s something that I’m sure, if all the Catholic records would be thrown open to scrutiny tomorrow, we’d find happens in virtually every state in the nation and every country in the world. It’s clear this goes all the way to the top, if not, then why was the Vatican willing to leap in soon after the judgement and offer Cardinal Mahony effective political asylum and freedom from prosecution, knowing he had protected child molesters?
Ex-Cardinal Mahony, you are a part of the problem, but you are not the whole problem. The whole problem is the very existence of the Roman Catholic Church. All of you deserve to rot together in the Religious Horror Show.