Mahony ordered to turn over files

Mahony ordered to turn over files

Yesterday the US Supreme Court rejected the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ request to keep the personnel files of two priests from the district attorney because they said the files contained information related to the seal of the confessional.

If Cardinal Roger Mahony hands those files over he will be exposed as cynical and manipulative, because if he really thought those files should be protected under the seal he would go to jail before violating that seal. Canon law requires no less. But if he turns them over, and it looks like he will, then we will see that Mahony simply used the seal of the confessional as a legal tactic to cover his butt.

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  • Why would there be any documents regarding a confession? I didn’t think priests were allowed to even document in any form conversations during confession.

  • Using that excuse frivilously could potentially destroy the priest/penitent priviliege when it is legitimately being employed in other cases.

  • He’ll look “cynical and manipulative” to all;  he’ll look like a danger to Catholic practice from inside the Church.  Looks like Mahoney’s about to get his.  Good.  He’s had it coming for a long time.

  • and just how is this surprising? I’m with james, jail is where he should be….

    These Bishops continue to get away with behavior that would get one fired from any other area – on “ethical” grounds….

  • By his actions in this case, Mahony has weakened the sacrosanct seal of the confessional, at least in the eyes of the secular courts. His frivolous invocation of the seal and his likely compliance with the courts’ demands, will send a message that the confessional seal can simply be overruled by court order.

    You are correct.

    Anyone who invokes the seal of the confessional must be prepared to take it the whole way and go to the pokey if necessary. To do otherwise is to set a precedent and unfortunately, it looks as if Mahony will do just that.

  • As I said in my comment above (people should really read the other comments first): My guess is he’s going to claim they weren’t really under the seal of the confessional but that they should be protected under priest-penitnent privilege nonetheless, which is what the article says.

  • When does Mahoney have time to hear confessions from priests???  Isn’t he too busy marching with pro-abortion politicians or making wicker baskets and glass pitchers for use on altars throughout the archdiocese?

    If he violated the US criminal laws by knowingly transferring priests around the archdiocese he should certainly be punished.  Jail may be warranted, I don’t know yet and we should continue to give him the benefit of the doubt while he cooperates in good faith.  If he’s going to behave like OJ or Robert Blake or other examples like that out west then he should get the harsh treatment such harsh practices deserve.  Right now – it would seem he deserves “fraternal correction” for his blatant disregard for the victims in this case (either the children or the falsely accused priests – he’s not doing anyone any favors right now it doesn’t seem).

    Finally – we the laity must be up in arms as well.  Not in a VOTF or Call to Action manner; however, it is our church and we must bear some portion of the blame for allowing this to happen in our parishes.  Be on the lookout for things that should not be and let your priests and bishops know that while you trust in their offices and need the sacraments and the grace they convey to you – the price for this cannot be so high as allowing abuse to happen again.  We as Catholics had a wake-up call 10-20 years ago in several diocese (my roommate remembers some discomforting news from the pulpits in his home parish growing up) and yet we did not demand that it cease then.  We must share our portion of the blame and pray unceasingly for forgiveness, reconciliation with the victims, and a restoration of sanctity to the priesthood and episcopacy.

    God bless us all, Tom

  • John Desmond – you are correct that a prince of the Church, actually every member of the church but especially the Bishops, deserves our respect due to the office; however, some members of the episcopacy consistently, by their actions and inactions, make it difficult for their own flock to remain true to the teachings of the church.  In that sense the man Mahoney deserves the criticism he is getting now for disgracing his office and digging a hole from which his successor will have to remove the archdiocese.  We must be careful not to callously demean his office as Cardinal; however, he himself has disgraced it by his actions and inactions for that we must demand expiation and true repentance from him.  Indeed, it is our duty as Catholics to help him resist the numerous snares that the devil surely lays out for his soul.  We can judge by his actions (directly violating Redemptionis Sacramentum for instance) that he is not perfect and for that reason he deserves our properly respectful calls for conversion of heart.

  • Where did I say I disagree with Mahony’s politics? Nice straw man there, John.

    Brian: I don’t have a direct source from the cardinal because I think that it’s contained in the court filings. That’s why you see news reports refer to it. He is claiming that the priest-penitent privilege extends to these documents. By inoking the privilege he is tying the documents to his duty as a priest not to reveal matters of the internal forum.

  • I’ve deleted James’ comment. Such a speculation is inappropriate in public and certainly on my blog. It would qualify as the sin of calumny.

    John: You did read too much into it. I questioned Mahony’s interpretation of the law. And whatever disagreement I have with Mahony on immigration has nothing to do with my pre-existing problems with him.