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Cardinal guilty of covering up sex abuse addresses US bishops’ conference

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BALTIMORE, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A cardinal barred from public ministry since 2013 as a result of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse spoke at the U.S. Bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore Tuesday, telling the bishops they "need to lead by witness." 

In remarks lasting a little more than five minutes during the open mic portion of the afternoon session (full remarks below), retired Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, 82, urged bishops to adopt what he called an “affective collegiality” where they would grow in devotion to and in association with one another.

“We are not bishops alone or separate. We belong to a college and we have a responsibility to the college,” he said, quoting St. Charles Borromeo. We must have “devotion to each other as members of the [USCCB] and the College of Bishops.”

Mahony, no friend to the pro-life cause, was censured in January 2013 by current Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, two years after retiring in 2011. Gomez’s decision was motivated by a court order that forced the LA Archdiocese to release documents more than 12,000 pages long that proved Mahony, appointed in 1985, purposely concealed from the public his knowledge of priests who committed sex crimes with youth and then transferred them after they received counseling only to have them sexually abuse again and again. 

“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading,” Gomez said in a public letter at the time. “The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil.”

Despite Gomez's restrictions on Mahony, Pope Francis rehabilitated the Cardinal, making him his "special envoy" at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the erection of the U.S. diocese of Scranton. After lay Catholics promised to protest the event, the diocese removed the announcement of Mahony’s visit from its website, telling reporters that the cardinal had informed them that he would be unable to attend.

During his talk, Mahony called on the bishops to grow closer to one another and to build lasting personal relationships.

“We as bishops need to form more and more prayerful associations among ourselves,” he said as at least one of his fellow bishops was showing signs of uninterest, holding his head in his hands and playing with his pen. “We need to lead by witness and certainly prayerful witness as devoted brothers to each other.”

“Our collegial communion is threatened…from outside influences,” he warned without mentioning anyone specifically, though perhaps alluding to media outlets that report on bishops accused of covering-up sex abuse. “We must not allow outside groups of any kind, in this country or anywhere else, to interfere with, or attempt to break the bonds of our collegial union.”

Mahony’s corruption as the leader of Los Angeles cost the archdiocese hundreds of millions in payouts to sex abuse victims, not to mention the incalculable spiritual damage inflicted on the thousands of souls harmed by abusive priests God will ultimately hold Mahony accountable for.

Catholics on twitter did not take kindly to Mahony being given a platform:

In March 2011, Mahony told the Los Angeles Times pro-abortion politicians should not be refused communion because even Jesus gave communion to Judas Iscariot. In 2013, Catholics called on Mahony to not attend the papal conclave that later elected Pope Francis. 

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Mahoney’s full remarks: 

We have spent a lot of time, very fruitfully, on what I would refer to as the ‘effective’ response to the crisis, in the formulation of some wonderful plans and ideas for moving forward. But I would like to address the ‘affective’ part of this. And that is our devotion to each other as members of the Conference and the College of Bishops. 

Remember, over the years with the various general councils of the Church, many of them had, as a subset, the difficulties of bishops and priests. Saint Charle Borromeo did us a great favor in his participation in the Council of Trent, and he and his uncle, Pope Pius IV, developed a lot of sensible approaches to the ‘affective’ relationship of bishops. 

Remember that in those days, bishops did not have to reside in their own diocese. They were seen as benefices and had several sees. Now, that was not very helpful and when he went to Milan, he was the first bishop who had been there in 70 years, and he found all kinds of difficulties and problems. 

It would seem to me to that what our ‘affective’ relationship would look like would be to take some of the suggestions that Charles Borromeo implemented in Milan. He said that we are ‘not bishops alone or separate. We belong to a college and we have a responsibility to the college.’ He also gathered bishops of his province for the very first time and they spent a lot of time on their own spiritual and pastoral lives. He insisted on the need for his priests and the bishops to care for the parish of their soul. And he began with living very simply - lot of things that we can learn from Charles Borromeo. 

But he also called us to a deeper relationship beginning with prayer. And it would seem to me that we as bishops need to form more and more prayerful associations among ourselves, such as ‘Jesus Caritas’ or the like, and ongoing opportunities for our own relationship based totally on Jesus Christ. 

We need to lead by witness and certainly prayerful witness as devoted brothers to each other. We are blessed in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with Cardinal Timothy Manning establishing a house of prayer with priests, and it has become a wonderful center. Priests come and go everyday of the week - for spiritual direction, for confession, for support groups, and of course we bishops also participate in that. I think our people in our dioceses would be extremely generous if we proposed in our dioceses that we have a small house of prayer, especially for priests. 

Also, our collegial communion is threatened the same ways it was in Charles Borromeo’s time, and that is from outside influences. In those years, kings, emperors, wealthy merchants, all kinds of folks, tried to interfere with the Council and with the lives of the bishops. We must not allow outside groups of any kind, in this country or anywhere else, to interfere with, or attempt to break the bonds of our collegial union. 

I’m hopeful that the January retreat will offer an opportunity for all of us in small groups to discuss our needed commitment through an ‘affective’ collegiality of focus in and around our relationship with Jesus Christ.

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