On Monday, I revisited the question of whether the retired cardinal of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, actually suffered any discipline in his dust-up with his successor over his dismal track record on the sexual abuse of children by clergy.

Now Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter highlights a follow-up that could be an important marker as to whether the alleged proscriptions against Mahony have any teeth — a priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has said that Mahony should be disinvited from a scheduled spring speech to the local priests and instead should be replaced with a conference on sex abuse:

Roberts writes:

Fr. Jim Connell, an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse, sent an open email to Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki asking for the cardinal’s spot to be given to a range of experts as well as those directly affected by the scandal. Mahony, who was recently publicly rebuked for failing to protect children, is scheduled to give a speech titled “In Christ, There Is No East or West: Embracing Our Diversity and the Social Message of Jesus” during the May 6-8 Spring Assembly of Priests …

… In his open email, Connell, pastor of Holy Name and St. Clements parishes in Sheboygan, Wis., said an archdiocesan newsletter reminding priests of the May gathering came out before the news in Los Angeles broke. Connell asked Listecki to take two actions in light of the developments: make a public announcement “that Cardinal Mahony will not be present at the spring assembly of priests” and announce that “the time previously allotted to Cardinal Mahony at the spring assembly will be used for a conference on Catholic clergy sexual abuse.”

“Given the appalling reality” of the scandal, Connell wrote, a conference would be beneficial by “expanding the knowledge of the truth” about the scandal; inspiring “the doing of justice” for victims, the church community and the society at large; and “generating optimism for the future” of the church.

Connell said the conference should be open to all, including laypeople and members of the media.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese said Listecki was traveling and that a response was not immediately available.

Will it happen? Stay tuned…

Categories: Culture, Ethics, Institutions

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David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.


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