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Report: Vatican slowed Cardinal Mahony’s effort to discipline abusive priest

February 18, 2013

Vatican officials were slow to respond to a request from Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles to discipline a priest who had been accused of sexual abuse, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Cardinal Mahony had suspended Father Kevin Barmasse from ministry, but the priest appealed to Rome. “The case has been there for many, many months,” Cardinal Mahony complained in a 1993 letter. The Los Angeles Times reports:

In the wake of the court-ordered release of 12,000 pages of confidential archdiocese records, Mahony has been criticized for hiding abuse allegations from police and failing to protect parishioners from accused molesters. But the documents suggest that Mahony at times had to press an unresponsive Vatican to get molesting priests out of the church.

The accused priest’s appeal to Rome did not prevent Cardinal Mahony from reporting to police, removing him from his parish, or informing parishioners of the accusations against him.


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  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Feb. 18, 2013 6:31 PM ET USA

    This sounds as though the Vatican knew about Cardinal Mahony's "problem" as far back as 1993 and simply chose not to act on his recommendation. The larger problem of what to do about Mahony was also put on the back burner because who would complain about a cardinal back then? A priest? A bishop? Another cardinal? Fat chance! Talk about insulation!

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 18, 2013 5:49 PM ET USA

    One can only hope that the new pope will shine some light on the Vatican's actions with regard to delayed requests to discipline the clergy ... as he cleans house in this unresponsive bureaucracy that is an affront to all Catholics.