mahony gloriosus

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 17, 2007

His whole nature fails to persuade. That is because he has never remained silent about any of his good deeds. -- F. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882

The unsinkable Cardinal Mahony continues to amaze and confound us with yet another escape from self-created calamity. The latest episode concerns Mahony's claim (made during an address to Archdiocesan priests in October) that he had been assaulted in mid-summer by attackers who, he said, were upset over the sex abuse scandal.

Mahony's account, like a Dr. Seuss illustration, stacks one teetering improbability on top of another. He claims to have been attacked while walking to drop off letters at a mailbox near his cathedral. The notion of the Cardinal's trotting off to the postbox himself is as plausible as his taking it into his head to get a mop and bucket and scrub the sacristy floor after hours. If he did, he'd have a photographer present.

One priest who attended the conference says Mahony further claims he was hospitalized as a consequence of the assault and took several weeks to recover. Are we to imagine that Mahony's assailants recognized him but that the doctors and staff at the hospital didn't? Or is it that everyone at the hospital forgot to mention they'd had a battered cardinal to tend to? Or that in the weeks that followed no one happened to notice the Archbishop of Los Angeles wasn't as sprightly as usual?

Mahony did not report the incident to the police. According to the priest-informant, the Cardinal declined to do so "because he felt he could offer it up in reparation for the sins of others." A noble gesture. Odd though, that his notion of "offering it up" included suffering in silence with respect to the police but not with respect to his fellow clergy. It's probably not a coincidence that the police could check up on the claim and the clergy couldn't. In any case, it's hard to see how suffering in tactically-selective silence accomplishes much in the way of reparation.

The commander of the LAPD's central region says the police are unable to investigate the incident unless the putative victim makes a crime report. An editorial in the Stockton (CA) Record adds the detail that "Los Angeles police have contacted Mahony's office but still are waiting to hear from him." In response to media inquiries, we're told that "The Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese has declined to comment"

"The annual meeting of archdiocesan priests is a private meeting. Any conversation that took place during that meeting was between the priests and their bishop," spokeswoman Carolina Guevara said in an e-mail.

And there we have it. Lacking even the name of the hospital at which the Cardinal was treated, the news media can't get to the bottom of the story, and what looked at first like an embarrassment will, somewhat mistily, remain as an edifying act of reparation and timely instance of solidarity with the wounded clergy of the Archdiocese. Unsinkable.

postscript: OTR wishes to quash the baseless rumor that the Cardinal has hired O.J. Simpson to assist him in the search for the real assailants.

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  • Posted by: - Dec. 19, 2007 3:31 PM ET USA

    My dear Ashamed: St. John Chrysostom (or was it Athanasius?) once said that "the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." Reviewing church history, it seems that, at all times and in all places there have been men who have inherited apostolic succession and who have done it injustice. St. Catherine of Siena confronted a similar problem. Do you really think that we, today, are immune? Do not mistake the man (whose feet may be of clay) with the office (which is of God).

  • Posted by: - Dec. 19, 2007 9:49 AM ET USA

    Dear "deeply ashamed", allow me to suggest that you re-read the post, which contains numerous statements of fact. Evidently, you may not want to see the facts, yet you remain very much in need of the facts, as do all patients in the state of denial. To begin your long road to recovery, allow me to further suggest reading George Neumayr's article in today's American Spectator Online. Most affectionately.... shrink.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 18, 2007 11:35 AM ET USA

    "Deeply ashamed"? Because people point out and react to the fact that the Cardinal won't adhere to the legal norms of reporting violent crime, won't return calls from the police, and lets facts leak out to the public while characterizing his selective silence as "offering it up"? Claiming one is "deeply ashamed" of others is frequently a way of proclaiming one's superiority to them, or trying to squelch the voicing of legitimate concerns. THAT is something to be "deeply ashamed" of.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 10:01 PM ET USA

    I am deeply ashamed to be reading this in a Catholic publication. Cardinal Mahony is an apostolic successor, and the spiritual leader of the millions in diocese. I am a resident of LA, a "conservative" Catholic, and I'm tired of the frequent "ad hominum" attacks on him and others. The story above has no supporting facts, or independent evidence. It just attacks the Cardinal for the sport of it. It is mean spirited, and makes all of us Christians look like Hypocrites. Shame on you.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 9:26 PM ET USA

    As I have noted before and will note again: The "attack" took place in July..his staff would have known about it.... he told a large group of priests about it in October ...and nothing leaks until the exact day in December that our biggest abuser (Fr Michael Baker) is sentenced and the exact day we cut the check for 660 million bucks. Wag the Dog, Rog! It sounds like Clinton saying : "hey guys lets bomb Somalia today, Monica is about to hold a press conference." He is a phony.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 9:20 PM ET USA

    Like the teetering Cat in the Hat: "'I can hold the toy ship, and a little toy man!/ And look! With my tail I can hold a red fan,/ I can fan with the fan as I hop on the ball,/ But that is not all, no, that is not all./' "That was what the cat said. Then he fell on his head!/ He came down with a bump from up there on the ball./ And then Sally and I, we saw ALL THE things fall." See, eventually, the whole Seussian structure ALWAYS collapses!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 5:22 PM ET USA

    Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? quem ad finem sese effrenata jactabit audacia? Until his 75th birthday, I guess.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 2:03 PM ET USA

    He's safe claiming to have been in the hospital. Under both federal and state privacy laws, hospitals are prohibited from disclosing even the names of patients. In California they are very strict about it---as His Eminence, being involved with Catholic Hospitals, no doubt knows.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 12:25 PM ET USA

    The thing that saddens (and infuriates) me most is when men who have been elevated to positions of great responsibility in the Church, and who, in the public's mind, 'stand for' the Church tell untruths - of any dimension and for any reason. We detest being lied to by ANYbody; we especially hate it when it comes from bishops, priests and deacons. Prevarication in the service of defending the Church is no service to Her at all; rather, it is a disservice, because it invites public distrust.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 10:56 AM ET USA

    Shrink pretty much nails it, but this also calls to mind another pattern: Hillary Clinton being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, her trying to enlist in the USMC, her vast "experience" in foreign affairs, and Maureen Dowd's "childhood" memories of the Mormon Temple in DC. Can anyone check on this: Are James Carville, Sidney Blumenthal, or Maureen Dowd now on the LA archdiocese payroll?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 10:28 AM ET USA

    Aw, come on. He fell down the stairs.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2007 8:58 AM ET USA

    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV): Narcissistic Personality Disorder: "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy..." The condition is generally intractable and chronic. Prognosis: Poor.