Catholic World News

Cardinal Mahony reflects on being scapegoated, prays for ‘those in the media who constantly malign me’

February 26, 2013

Cardinal Roger Mahony reflected on love of enemies in a February 25 blog post.

“My daily prayer list includes both loved ones/friends, as well as those who dislike or even hate me,” he wrote. “One prayer group involves those suffering from cancer and other illnesses, those who have been sexually abused by clergy and others in our Church, those who can't find a decent job, those in danger of losing their homes, our immigrants who live in the shadows of society.”

“But another prayer group includes individuals who cannot forgive me for my past hurts or offenses, those in the media who constantly malign me and my motives, attorneys who never focus on context or history in their legal matters, groups which picket me or otherwise object to me, and all those who despise me or even hate me,” he continued. “If I don't pray for all of these people, then I am not following Jesus' specific discipleship demand.”

Earlier in the blog post, he stated:

I can't recall a time such as now when people tend to be so judgmental and even self-righteous, so quick to accuse, judge and condemn. And often with scant real facts and information. Because of news broadcasts now 24/7 there is little or no fact checking; no in-depth analysis; no context or history given. Rather, everything gets reported as "news" regardless of the basis for the item being reported--and passed on by countless other news outlets.

We have ended up with a climate in which it's the norm to instantly pass judgement on one another, taking in and repeating gossip, sharing someone else's judgment as the truth, no regard for other people who may be harmed. Whatever happened to the norm of giving others the benefit of a doubt until hard evidence proves otherwise?

Witness the hatred which has boiled up across the Middle East and other conflicted parts of the world, and the deep emotions which do not allow for understanding or love to emerge at all.

But Jesus calls us to something far different and much more difficult: we are to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us.

Cardinal Mahony’s February 25 post follows similar entries devoted to “Carrying a Scandal Biblically,” “Jesus, Suffering Servant,” “St. Ignatius Loyola Humility,” and “Called to Humiliation.”

In “Carrying a Scandal Biblically,” a February 20 blog entry, Cardinal Mahony referred to a talk by Father Ronald Rolheiser.

“You will never find the Rolheiser approach even mentioned in any news media, since it is not about condemning others, but about how disciples of Jesus are called to carry and live out a terrible scandal day by day,” wrote Cardinal Mahony, adding:

He calls our suffering what it really is: painful and public humiliation, which is spiritually a grace-opportunity. I have tried to live out--poorly and inadequately far too often--his two implications of humiliation:

1. the acceptance of being scapegoated, pointing out the necessary connection between humiliation and redemption;

2. this scandal is putting us, the clergy and the church, where we belong--with the excluded ones; Jesus was painted with the same brush as the two thieves crucified with him.

His example of Mary at the foot of the cross pondering all that is happening has meant so much for me, and I turn to her daily seeking her help to carry this scandal as she carried the scandal of Jesus' cross with such inner strength. Note how Rolheiser pictures Mary for us:

"Mary at the foot of the cross. What is Mary doing there? Overtly nothing. Notice that, as the foot of the cross, Mary doesn't seem to be doing anything. She isn't trying to stop the crucifixion, nor even protesting Jesus' innocence. She isn't saying anything and overtly doesn't seem to be doing anything. But Scripture tells us that she 'stood' there. For a Hebrew, that was a position of strength. Mary was strong under the cross. And what precisely was she doing? She was pondering in the biblical sense."

And then, Rolheiser gives us the golden rule for our own thoughts and conducts as we are being humiliated: "To ponder in the biblical sense means to hold, carry, and transform tension so as not to give it back in kind."

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  • Posted by: MatJohn - Feb. 26, 2013 9:16 PM ET USA

    The striking of his breast by a voluntary act of self exile and a life of prayer and contemplation and: The inevitable charge of victimization and a pharasaic public display of self proclaimed magnaminity revealing his prayers intentions. A classic case of humility vs hubris. May Cardinal Mahony in his prayers include the ability to know the difference.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 26, 2013 8:18 PM ET USA

    Oh, if he could and would deal with this in the silence of his own heart. And I mean that sincerely. Pray for that and if he desists from his distressing and prideful comments, we will be blessed- from his silence and from a great awareness of power of prayers. All men of the Church need our prayers, lest we forget. As do we all. Silence is indeed where we hear our precious God.

  • Posted by: impossible - Feb. 26, 2013 7:13 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Mahony is no doubt hoping for the kind of whitewash that is still being applied to Cardinal Bernardin. Keep in mind how history is always being rewritten and by whom.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Feb. 26, 2013 6:36 PM ET USA

    Thanks for that, Cardinal. Now please stay away from Rome.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 26, 2013 5:23 PM ET USA

    I think for the good of the former Archbishop's soul, we should ignore all his quotes and let him deal with his rationalizations in the silence of his own heart. A few prayers wouldn't hurt, either.

  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Feb. 26, 2013 4:51 PM ET USA

    It's Father Ron Rolheiser, not Richard Rolheiser, whose writing was reviewed at Catholic Culture: I'm not surprised that Cardinal Mahony is a big fan of his spirituality. It is amazing how a Cardinal can be so blind to his own weakness. One pays a terrible price for pride.

  • Posted by: Hal - Feb. 26, 2013 3:28 PM ET USA

    What a narcissist.There's a difference between being "scapegoated" as he calls it and being "directly responsible". He apparently has difficulty discerning that. Good riddance.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Feb. 26, 2013 2:52 PM ET USA

    Is anybody else reminded of Sheridan Whiteside's famous line in The Man Who Came to Dinner? "I may vomit."

  • Posted by: Defender - Feb. 26, 2013 10:40 AM ET USA

    Did he really say "scandal" - really, no really? BTW, what of Mother Angelica, Your Eminence?

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Feb. 26, 2013 9:36 AM ET USA

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Does he consider Archbishop Gomez as one who maligns him? This man is an embarrassment and his self justifications are seen for what they are. He should fly to Scotland instead of Rome.