Thursday, July 19, 2007

Off with his red-hatted head?

U.S. Catholic writer Bob McClory, whose article on the sex abuse crisis five years on appears in the August issue of U.S. Catholic, was on KABC radio in Los Angeles this morning talking about the eye-popping settlement of the abuse claims in that archdiocese. The host of the show called for Cardinal Mahony's resignation, but I find myself, surprisingly, disagreeing.

It may be true that Mahony deserves to be fired; he probably would be if he was the head of a school district that handled allegations of sexual abuse in the way the archdiocese did. But if we've learned anything from the resignation of former Boston Archbishop Bernard Law, it's that episcopal execution does not always equal justice. Law now manages a palace of a church in Rome and is still incredibly influential in the Curia. And the abuse victims in Boston never got the full truth from the horse's mouth.

As long as Cardinal Mahony is still in office in L.A., he will be under constant pressure for fuller disclosure of who knew what and when, which is the stated goal of many victims groups. If he leaves, he'll never have to answer another question.


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