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The Tragedy of Broken Trust

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Feb 26, 2007

The worst of it is, we don’t trust them.

Catholic World News reported today the charges and counter-charges swirling around a case of abuse by Fr. Nicolas Aguilar in 1994. The alleged victim and his attorney are trying to establish that Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City and Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles engaged in an international conspiracy to shield Fr. Aguilar, a known abuser, from the law. Aguilar served at various times in both dioceses.

Through his attorney, Cardinal Rivera rightly denies the jurisdiction of the California court attempting to make him a defendant in the case. In doing so, he claims that he has never hidden Father Aguilar from justice, and that the wayward priest was not working under his jurisdiction. Cardinal Rivera further claims that he warned Cardinal Mahony about Father Aguilar’s tendencies before he moved to Los Angeles in 1988.

For his part, Cardinal Mahony claims through a spokesman that he never received Cardinal Rivera’s warning. It is possible, of course, that one or the other cardinal misremembers. It is equally possible that the warning was delivered through channels and mysteriously failed to reach Cardinal Mahony. It is also possible that the problem really wasn’t very high on anyone’s agenda at the time.

Sadly, it might also be the case that one or both of these cardinals is lying. The worst of it is, we don’t trust them.

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