When is zero-tolerance and full disclosure not either one?

When is zero-tolerance and full disclosure not either one?

The Los Angeles archdiocese says, “We’ve revealed all cases of sexual abuse by priests and now have a zero-tolerance policy.”

The Los Angeles Times says, “Um, what about these 11 priests?”

The archdiocese gives a Clintonian definition of the meaning of the word “is”.

In a letter accompanying the 2004 People of God report, Mahony said the report provided the “fullest possible disclosure” of how the church responded to allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the decades before he arrived in 1985 and since.

... “What Cardinal Mahony meant at that time by ‘zero tolerance’ was that henceforward any priest with a contemporaneous, proven report of child sexual abuse would be removed,” the archdiocese spokesman said. “In other words, zero tolerance for any new allegations of abuse arising in 1992 or after. This standard did not include boundary violations or decades-old allegations of abuse.”

And so what is a “boundary violation”? It depends on the circumstances, evidently. An attorney for the archdiocese says they are nonsexual, covering such “crimes” as a priest walking with his arm around a child’s shoulders, but in reality it has been used to cover all kinds of behavior and is generally regarded by most people as sexual contact that is either criminal or non-criminal (i.e. with a consenting adult.)

What he have is Cardinal Roger Mahony being caught—once again!—lying to the public and to victims and to the laity about the cover up of abuse by priests under his charge. The coming legal firestorm is going to be very damaging to the Church in southern California, but it is very much needed to make the body healthy again, like the amputation of a gangrenous leg.

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  • Amputating Mahoney from the Body of Christ would be the best prescription for the church’s return to health.

  • We have to shake loose of the idea that the Church is some kind of corporation with a CEO headquartered in Rome – especially since the Council. The laity have got to deal with the Mahonys in the hierarchy by taking an adult viewpoint towards our duty of obedience to bishops who do not think with the mind of the Church. In a place like LA, we have to form ourselves, educate our children ourselves in the faith and create genuine Catholic institutions on our own initiative.

  • So what does a Pope do when a bishop flips him the bird? And not just a bishop, but an entire nation of bishops?

    John Paul II and the now present Holy Father have been preaching tirelessly on the need for sound catechesis, liturgy and doctrine. The response from not only Mahony but a large fraction of American bishops whom we know lovingly as “AmChurch”, has been to nod thoughtfully, smile and then turn around and do the exact opposite.

    To say that the Pope has done “nothing” is incorrect. He has instructed, taught, cajoled, coerced, pleaded and beggged with these men to do the right thing and teach authentic Catholicism. They have responded by thumbing their noses.

    A bishop is a bishop. He has complete authority over his diocese and aside from systematically removing most of the American bishops, which will never happen, the Pope has done pretty much all he can do with these rebellious yahoos.

    I remember a story told by my former pastor (now Vice-Rector of Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary), which I think pretty much captures the feelings of the previous Holy Father to this country. Shortly after he was ordained, my former pastor went to Rome and was present at an audience with John Paul II. When the Pope approached them, he and his companion both bowed and said, somewhat nervously, “Good morning , your Holiness”. The Pope did not reply immediately but stared at them both intently for what seemed like an eternity, according to my former pastor. Then he intoned in his deep baritone…“AHHHHHHMEEERRRIKAAAAANS!!” and turned and moved on. According to my pastor, the feeling of exasperation on the Pope’s part was palpable.

  • Bubbles, many of the American bishops are, in fact, irrelevant and meaningless, but that doesn’t mean that Charles or I (for that matter) should become Baptist.  We are not irrelevant and meaningless.  Somebody has to keep the home fires burning.  wink

  • To be clear, the office of bishop is not irrelevant or meaningless, but many bishops have effectively become so themselves by failing to be bishops, i.e. shepherds and guardians of the True Gospel. Thus individual Catholics in those dioceses must do what they would if the see were physically vacant as it virtually is now.