Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic World News

Pope Francis laments Church scandals, harm caused by corrupt clergy

January 17, 2014

At a Mass concelebrated with two cardinals, including Cardinal Roger Mahony, Pope Francis denounced the harm caused by clerical scandals.

In its summary of the January 16 weekday Mass homily, L’Osservatore Romano reported that the Pope preached:

“So many scandals that I do not wish to mention individually, but we all know about them. We know where they are! Some scandals have been very costly. Okay...” At this point, Pope Francis spoke bluntly about the “shame of the Church” over those scandals that echo as so many “defeats of priests, bishops and laity.”

The problem, the Pope continued, is that “the word of God was rare in those scandals. In those men, in those women, the word of God was rare. They did not have a bond with God. They had a position in the Church, a position of power as well as comfort” but not “the word of God.” The Pontiff added: “It is pointless to say “but I wear a medal, I wear a cross: yes, like those who carried the ark without a living relationship with God and with the word of God!” Then, recalling Jesus' words regarding scandals, the Pope repeated that scandals bring about “the decay of the people of God, to the point of weakness and the corruption of priests.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily with two thoughts: the word of God and the people of God. Regarding the first, he suggested an examination of conscience: “Is the word of God alive in our hearts? Does it change our lives, or is it like the ark that comes and goes” but “doesn't enter our hearts?” Regarding the people of God, he paused to reflect on the harm that scandals cause them: “Poor people … poor people!” he said. “We do not give them the bread of life to eat! We do not give them the truth! So many times, we give them poisoned food!”

“It is so evident that Pope Francis is a man of prayer, a holy Successor to St. Peter,” Cardinal Mahony wrote on his blog. “It is remarkable how he is able to reflect on the Scriptures of the day without any notes or text -- but flowing directly from his prayer life and from his heart.”

Later that morning, Cardinal Mahony met with Pope Francis, and the two discussed the needs of migrants, according to the retired Los Angeles archbishop.


For all current news, visit our News home page.

Further information:
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jan. 17, 2014 7:53 PM ET USA

    I would not discuss anything about the Church or its mission with Mahoney. He is a self serving politico who contradicted the very essence of the Church teachings on many an occasion. Due to his lousy judgement and outright selfishness, he cost the diocese of Los Angeles almost a Billion dollars coming from the rich and the poor. He should be put in a room and told to be quiet.

  • Posted by: Louise01 - Jan. 17, 2014 6:07 PM ET USA


  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jan. 17, 2014 5:53 PM ET USA

    One can only hope Roger Cardinal Mahony has repented and confessed his own scandalous background, which I know something about but won't go into. It grieves my heart that he stands at the same altar with the Holy Father and I only hope and pray the pope isn't conveying a message of his own by allowing this. My personal preference would be for Cardinal Mahony to simply disappear from the ranks of clergy and not show up again.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jan. 17, 2014 12:35 PM ET USA

    What is it about the LA Archdiocese that it seems all the archbishops care about are illegal immigrants? Meanwhile, the archdiocese continues its downward spiral.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jan. 17, 2014 12:00 PM ET USA

    Talk is cheap. When the heads roll, we will then, and only then, know that Francis is serious.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Jan. 17, 2014 11:44 AM ET USA

    Cd. Mahoney! He is the most notorious of the cosseters of predators! What in the world are we to make of this performance?

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Jan. 17, 2014 10:51 AM ET USA

    It would appear that Cardinal Mahony was being called out. A legal settlement for something like 600 million plus a new cathedral for about 400 million doesn't leave much resource for helping immigrants.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 17, 2014 8:42 AM ET USA

    Who can believe that Pope Francis didn't know about what happened in LA? Who can believe Cardinal Mahoney was oblivious to the clear allusions? This all tells me that Pope Francis is far more wise to the ways of the world than some observers want to believe.