The D.A. of Los Angeles called Cardinal Mahony's actions a "moral failure" and said that he has still not received the "concealed" documents he needs from the church despite court orders to pursue criminal charges against the most powerful Catholic leader in North America.
I found myself offended when I read the church statements that were made as a result of his comment. J. Michael Hennigan, attorney for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said he is "generally a big fan of Steve Cooley," but that the district attorney's remarks were "irresponsible." "It is irresponsible for a law enforcement official to suggest that a crime has been committed when he has no evidence of it," Hennigan said.
IRRESPONSIBLE? Did the high-priced PR company really suggest he say that?
I am not anti-Catholic. I am anti-child abuse. As parent, truth seeker and human being, I think that our children are the most precious assets we have.
I have spent years with people suffering this type of abuse and the horror of the crimes is so much worse than it reads on paper. I have visited home after home and documented the devastation and the ruins left behind by the irresponsible behavior of church officials.
Roger Mahony protected a priest for close to 20 years; Oliver O'Grady, a man who abused hundreds of children including a baby only nine-months-old. How can he or his representatives ever call anyone irresponsible? If you don't believe this, see my film, Deliver Us From Evil.
I am going to give Mahony and the L.A. Archdiocese team free advice as it relates to PR. The only words that should ever come out of your mouth that pertain to this horrific scandal that affected your parishioners and the children entrusted to you should be "I am sorry." "What can I do to make this better?" "I wish I did the right thing." Not "I wish the priests didn't do the wrong thing." "I wish it never happened?" Oliver O'Grady said the same thing: "I wish it never happened." You knew they were doing it and you allowed it. YOU are responsible, Cardinal Mahony.
Cardinal Mahony has not personally accepted any responsibility -- his speech is clear that he is still blaming others instead of himself. He broke the law and ruined lives in the process. Now is the time to stop using public relations experts and lawyers and accept responsibility for his terrible actions and inaction, be it resignation, arrest, or the offering of documents so the District Attorney can do his job. What kind of spiritual leader plays games with the legal system?
You cannot imagine how difficult it is for a survivor to know that the person responsible for concealing their abuser has so much power. Any movement that calls for Mahony's removal will probably be welcomed by those affected. I applaud Steve Lopez for calling for a grassroots campaign to force Mahony out of office. A bumper-sticker campaign like "Phony Mahony" would be a good start.
Seeing that slogan might give people who have suffered for decades in silence a reason to laugh a bit and know that we are all cheering for them. Maybe the church can even pay...clearly they have money to burn.