dead-letter office

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 22, 2007

Let's see, now.

When Father Nicolas Aguilar was accused of molesting about a dozen boys, the Los Angeles archdiocese refused to hand over a list of potential victims because
the confessional seal must never be violated
the chancery wanted to protect the anonymity of the victims
the dog ate the homework
the archdiocese feared that detectives were really interviewing Hispanic altar boys as part of a crackdown on illegal immigrants.
Yeah, that's it. The immigration-crackdown line.

But now Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City says that he had warned Cardinal Mahony about Father Aguilar's tendencies, before the Mexican priest arrived in LA. So why didn't Cardinal Mahony take steps to protect the children?

Tod Tamberg, spokesman for Mahony, said the cardinal never received a letter from Rivera.

"We've said this many times before, and Cardinal Rivera may very well have sent a letter, but nobody received it," Tamberg said.

How terribly unfortunate. But what can you say? We've all had problems with undelivered mail, haven't we?

But wait: Ordinarily a priest can't just show up in a different country and take an assignment, without some clearance from the local bishop. Why was Father Aguilar given an assignment in LA?

A few years ago, the Dallas Morning News asked precisely that question:

Cardinal Mahony declined to be interviewed. Spokesman Tod Tamberg did not respond to most questions from The News, although he did say that Father Aguilar was accepted in Los Angeles after Cardinal Rivera wrote that his cleric wanted to move there "for reasons of his family and health."

Ah. So Aguilar was accepted into the LA archdiocese on the basis of a letter that Cardinal Mahony didn't receive. All perfectly clear now? Any lingering questions?

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2007 4:14 PM ET USA

    I did not realize that the Catholic Church is committed to protecting those who break federal civil law. Well, it seems to be the case for immigration criminals. Well, there goes another nail into the coffin that political activity can do to tax exempt status for the Church. Jesus said give to Caesar what is his and to God likewise. Obedience to the law has always been an important thing that we as Catholics have been proud of.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2007 1:08 PM ET USA

    Thank you Diogenes (and "major" & "eleazar"). Is there any way that someone in authority in Rome (eg the Holy Father himself), could read this & actually make Cdl. Roger go the route of Cdl. Law? Look, these Cdl. Roger deceptions are ridiculous & scandalous. When a priest transfers from one diocese to another, even for a temporary period, he must have a letter stating that he is in good standing (background check, etc...). Someone is telling lies in LA. Canon 401#2. Mary, ora pro nobis.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2007 7:56 AM ET USA

    Altarboy, all of those issues are related to the ineptitude of our bishops, their gross mismanagement of our dioceses, inability to defend the Faith and unwillingness to speak honestly, admit error or be held accountable by anyone. The archdiocese’s most recent PR gambit is despicable race-mongering at its worst. Unfortunately, there is a segment in our society who will believe it. Mahoney, Tamberg, et al should be publicly shamed for trying to hide their evil behind the immigrant issue.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 22, 2007 4:52 PM ET USA

    Was it a letter or was it an oral warning?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 22, 2007 11:51 AM ET USA

    Is my diocese behind the times. After my service in the war in Iraq, before I could take over a parish, I had to have a criminal background check even though I had a secret clearance from the US Army and served on a major general's staff. Think of the money the Cardinal is saving(perhaps to pay for his UGLY gym/cathedral.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 22, 2007 11:13 AM ET USA

    I don’t get it, Di. Abp. Gregory said quite some time ago that the clerical homosexual abuse crisis was “history.” So why are we still hearing about this? Is the history of this crisis still being written? In any case, isn’t it time for you to move on now? I mean, shouldn’t you be commenting on current events? Let’s hear more on the clerical embezzlement crisis. Or perhaps you can reengage on that soon-to-be-released universal indult. And what’s up with the seminary visitations?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 22, 2007 10:27 AM ET USA

    If only. If only. If only.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 22, 2007 9:43 AM ET USA

    Teflon has its limits.