The public spitting match between Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, must have been as uncomfortable as it was unusual.

But there are signs that maybe there’s been a reconciliation of sorts, or at least some couples counseling for the sake of their spiritual children.

Gomez publicly embarrassed Mahony last week with a reprimand after records were released (under court order) showing just how complicit Mahony, the longtime LA archbishop, had been in covering up for clergy abusers, thus allowing them to rape and molest other children.

(Gomez also demoted one of the LA auxiliaries and longtime Mahony aide, Bishop Thomas Curry; there was little Gomez could to do actually punish Mahony, who is retired and still outranks Gomez.)

Mahony responded with a PR counterattack, and the Vatican essentially washed its hands of the whole matter.

In his weekly column in the archdiocesan paper today (Feb. 8), Gomez starts by announcing that he has been “talking and reflecting with Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Curry, along with our other Auxiliary Bishops about the events of last week.”

“We are committed to moving forward in our ministries with hope and confidence in God’s grace,” Gomez continues — a phrasing that seems like a deliberate counterpoint to suggestions that Mahony (and Curry) had been somehow suspended from public activities as churchmen.

Gomez tied his reflections to Ash Wednesday next week and the start of the penitential season of Lent, a time for asking forgiveness and taking “concrete actions of healing and renewal.”

“All of us need the grace of a new conversion. This is what Lent is for.” He seemed to refer above all to abuse victims, but he seemed to be conscious of the brutta figura his spat with Mahony had caused.

“We can only change this world if we allow God to change us first. The lives we lead will always be the most credible witness we can give to the Gospel we believe in. People should be able to see ‘the Catholic difference’ — the difference that our Catholic faith makes in our lives.”

Reconciliation would probably be a good thing on several levels. As NCR’s Josh McElwee noted, the archdiocese is looking to start $200 million fundraising drive, possibly to erase debts incurred by its legal battles.

Of course it ideally takes two to effect a reconciliation, and Cardinal Mahony has not yet updated his personal blog since he posted his pointed riposte to Gomez a week ago. Maybe he is waiting for Lent.


  1. David, Please note that Archbishop Gomez , likely with the Pope’s blessing, by publicy referring to Cardinal Mahony’s actions as “evil”, really upped the ante, increasing the likelihood LA prosecutors will pursue Cardinal Mahony criminally, as seems already occurring.
    Is this mainly about making children safe, or just the latest chapter in the efforts of the Pope (with likely Opus Dei input) to press President Obama in the immigration reform battle heating up. Mahony would not likely tie this reform to gay marriage issues as the Pope and his plutocratic Republican allies appaer to be doing.
    Hence, feed Mahony to the prosecutors? Will this finally move other Cardinals to stand up to the Vatican Cardinals, if only in self-defense?
    For more explanation, please see:

  2. This public spanking of Cardinal Mahony was crafted by the Vatican. There are no surprises here. The Vatican, Gomez and Mahony, are pure Baloney. They are all masters of deceit.

  3. Norwegian Blue

    “Concrete actions of healing and renewal.”

    Here’s an idea: set up TWO campaigns for the archdiocese.

    Campaign 1 is “We Support Mahony.”

    Campaign 2: “Archdiocese Gets This Money When Mahoney and Curry Publicly Tell the Vatican They Resign.”

    See which raises more.

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