20 February 2013

Thought of the day

"This Pope is not JPII, I do not believe Pope Benedict XVI is running away from the Cross...on the contrary, he's going about his cross differently than Pope John Paul II. What I do believe is at play are a few things..a. Pope Benedict XVI's very introverted nature...He would rather hide than have all the public fame...and being one of those, he does not want the office attached to his person...I do believe that we're still suffering a bit in the cult of personality of Pope John Paul II. b. The lack of competence of those surrounding him...the reason Pope John Paul II was able to keep going was because of then Cardinal Ratzinger...(remember then Cardinal Ratzinger tried to retire more than once)...Pope Benedict XVI does not have that kind of person in the Vatican to manage day to day operations....Truly, I believe that the Holy Father seeks to do God's will...Let us not compare Popes, as admirable as I think Pope John Paul II's public suffering was and for the good of the Church was necessary, in this same light, this is how I view the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI. Believe me, I'm sure if all of us had our way, we'd keep Pope Benedict XVI around longer....Let us trust God, that He will provide a good pastor for His flock...Oremus pro pontifice Benedict XVI."

11 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns

I show the video without the transcript on purpose. I want you to listen to our Holy Father speaking. Does he not sound frail, exhausted? I heard the news at about 4 am this morning and really haven't been able to sleep since. I have some thoughts, which I'll try to state without tearing up or too much bias...

1) The resignation does not surprise me....the timing of it does. 

The Holy Father has alluded to resigning in the past, from "Light of the World." to him living his pallium at the grave of Pope St Peter Celestine. The Holy Father has given various hints as to him possibly resigning before his own death. 

The one thing that this move does do, is not give careerists an opportunity to put their people in place, as he will be Pope until the 28th of Feb. The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes I think is important...more on that thought later. 

2) In humilitatis spiritu

In humble spirit, I look at this resignation as the Holy Father recognizing his own weaknesses. That physically he is not able to govern the Church. After seeing how Pope John Paul II suffered, I'm quite sure the present Holy Father did not want to see that happen again. I remember watching JP II struggle with Parkinsons and having to be in the wheelchair, while very inspiring, it was also very disheartening as well having to watch the then Holy Father suffer through that. Pope Benedict XVI, seeing this did not want a repeat of this. 

3) I do not think the Holy Father has long...

Just from my own observations, he has looked quite frail and exhausted. I believe it was a Mass a few weeks ago where the Holy Father nearly dropped his papal ferula ...and he has indeed been looking frailer and frailer. I pray for him daily...being the head of the Church is a difficult cross. I think there is a major illness that the Holy Father has, and as mentioned in 2)...I'm sure that he does not want to be mentally and physically incapable of being Pope. I trust the Holy Father in this decision.

4) His own influence on me.

The one of many gifts of the Pope Benedict XVI pontificate has been his deep love for the Liturgy of the Roman Church. This love has had an impact on my own appreciation of the Liturgy and has deepened my participation in the Liturgy of the Roman Church. Watching his fidelity to the rubrics has caused me to watch myself in my own fidelity to the rubrics of Holy Mother Church, and has inspired me to encourage that behavior for priests and for lay alike. I will be forever thankful to Pope Benedict XVI for his faithfulness to the Truth and his servant attitude towards the Liturgy. I very much relate to the present Holy Father because of my own VERY introverted nature and absolutely detest the spotlight and attention, as I am sure that the Pope did not like being in the spotlight. This resignation is very much in the character of the Holy Father, who would rather not be noticed...and be an academic and be in prayer. We should definitely pray for him. 

5) Let us pray

For the Church, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and the upcoming conclave. That they be faithful to Christ Jesus, and for the Holy Spirit to guide them. 

6) There will be speculation on the Next Pope....

I have a few ideas myself, but I will reserve them....for now, let us pray for Holy Mother Church. :)

01 February 2013

Cardinal Mahony strikes back...and is now about to get hammered :D

From Cardinal Mahony's blog....

Emphasis and comments

February 1, 2013

Dear Archbishop Gomez:

In this letter I wish to outline briefly how the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and I responded to the evolving scandal of clergy sexual misconduct, especially involving minors.

Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem (You know, nothing in my background prepared me to work with students with special needs (I was pure math and atomic physics double major), but just because you're  not prepared for something doesn't mean you don't try to do the best you can or learn up on different things. In this case it was your responsibility to not only learn all you can about the law dealing with sexual misbehavior, it was your responsibility as Archbishop to DO SOMETHING about it by not allowing any of these people near children, you do NOT put people in temptations to sin if you KNOW about their crosses with these particular issues).  In two years [1962—1964] spent in graduate school earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work, no textbook and no lecture ever referred to the sexual abuse of children (Not everything you need to know is in the book, That comes from undergraduate work, not even graduate work).  While there was some information dealing with child neglect, sexual abuse was never discussed. (Well, of course not, they can't cover EVERYTHING you'll ever run into in the field.)

Shortly after I was installed on September 5, 1985 I took steps to create an Office of the Vicar for the Clergy so that all our efforts in helping our priests could be located in one place.  In the summer of 1986 I invited an attorney-friend from Stockton to address our priests during our annual retreat at St. John’s Seminary on the topic of the sexual abuse of minors (Maybe instead of hiring an attorney, you should have hired someone who knew something about sexual abuse, like a psychologist or someone in that field). Towards the end of 1986 work began with the Council of Priests to develop policies and procedures to guide all of us in dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct.  Those underwent much review across the Archdiocese, and were adopted in 1989.

During these intervening years a small number of cases did arise.  I sought advice from several other Bishops across the country, including Cardinal John O’Connor of New York, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, and then Bishop Adam Maida of Green Bay (No problem in seeking advice from friends, nothing intrinsically horrible about this).  I consulted with our Episcopal Conference frequently (Only one problem, the USCCB/NCCB has zero authority...It is YOUR responsibility, and YOURS ALONE to deal with this problem, any advice you sought ultimately YOU are the one that had to make the FINAL DECISION!).  All the advice was to remove priests from active ministry (Pretty sound advice, perhaps it should have been followed) if there was reasonable suspicion that abuse had occurred, and then refer them to one of the several residential treatment centers across the country for evaluation and recommendation. (There is no treating of sexual abuse...When someone is addicted to something, is the solution to give them more of what they're addicted to? Of course not!...Your role is spiritual father to your priests, in this situation it should have been obvious then to keep these people away from parishes...and AWAY from children)

This procedure was standard across the country for all Arch/Dioceses, for School Districts, for other Churches, and for all Youth Organizations that dealt with minors (And?, Just because, x, y and z does this doesn't mean you can't do more...don't get me started on public school situations).  We were never told that, in fact, following these procedures was not effective, and that perpetrators were incapable of being treated in such a way that they could safely pursue priestly ministry. (And what prevented you from ASKING?...Wouldn't it make sense after the supposed treatment to keep these people away from situations where they sinned in the past?)

During the 1990s our own policies and procedures evolved and became more stringent (Which of course totally explains why you moved priests that committed abuses to parishes in positions of power as pastors right?).  We had learned from the mistakes of the 1980s and the new procedures reflected this change.  In 1994 we became one of the first Archdioceses in the world to institute a Sexual Abuse Advisory Board [SAAB] which gave helpful insights and recommendations to the Vicar for the Clergy on how to deal with these cases.  Through the help of this Board, we moved towards a “zero tolerance” policy for clergy who had allegations against them which had proven true.

In 2002 we greatly expanded the SAAB group into the new Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board.  They were instrumental in implementing theCharter for the Protection of Children and Youth and served as an invaluable body for me and our Archdiocese.  They dealt with every case with great care, justice, and concern for our youth.

From 2003 to 2012 the Archdiocese underwent several Compliance Audits by professional firms retained for this purpose.  Most Auditors were retired FBI agents, and extremely competent.  Every single Audit concluded that the Archdiocese was in full compliance with the Charter.

When you were formally received as our Archbishop on May 26, 2010, you began to become aware of all that had been done here over the years for the protection of children and youth (Begin deflecting blame from my own person in 3, 2, 1...).  You became our official Archbishop on March 1, 2011 and you were personally involved with the Compliance Audit of 2012—again, in which we were deemed to be in full compliance.

Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors. (And why should he? Is it not your responsibility to tell him EVERYTHING that has gone on in the diocese under your tenure?...Or is it perhaps that what you did tell him, left him speechless...It's bad enough Zavala had 2 children...Sometimes it's best to not say anything...Just because someone doesn't raise a question does NOT mean you've done perfectly...It simply means that the person does not have a question.....This is under your responsibility to be open and honest with Archbishop Gomez, PERIOD!....An extension to this point, it also doesn't mean that he approved of everything that you've done)

I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes (mistake is so vague, sins are much better), especially in the mid-1980s.  I apologized for those mistakes (contritely or with imperfect contrition?), and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone (It sure doesn't seem like it, it really doesn't).

Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then (Well, of course).  But when I retired as the active Archbishop (Feb 27 2011), I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth (Yes, but did you root out the filth of people in leadership positions? You did no such thing, in fact you put more of your people "in place" to make things harder for His Excellency).

With every best wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

His Eminence
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles

A few comments extra:

1) When one makes mistakes, it is important to indeed make contrition and fix said mistakes. This is not done by placing people as auxiliary Bishops, pastors, heads of school, etc. Under absolutely no circumstances do you put people who endanger children in positions of authority, ABSOLUTELY NEVER! 

2) I mentioned earlier that mistake is vague, let's call them what is your excellency...sinful...you knew of these priests behaviours, and you put them in positions where they could possibly sin again. You have master's degree in social work, think about it, would you place a child in the home of a person who is physically abusive? Of course not!, In the same manner, you should not have placed priests that were abusers in places where they could abuse again.
3) A few things to help you with introverts: Just because something is not said, doesn't mean what you have presented is approved of, or even liked. It simply means that the person has no questions as to what you have said. It is most often the case that they process the information presented interiorly and when have reached a full conclusion...they will THEN present you with their findings...As what happened in this case...Intra-interior processing...do not ever expect an introvert to discuss what they are thinking...EVER...If it was me that was the Archbishop, the exact same thing would have happened. And another thing, NEVER cross an introvert...NEVER...This was absolutely low of you Your Eminence!
4) I have some advice for you: Hide, and hide well...Really this should not have been published...but now that it's been published....do not address this again. Do not speak in any public forum. Pray Mass in private, do not come out unless necessary, in other words, heed to the Archbishop's words and do not exercise anything in public other than your Roman Duties.
5) Please and most importantly pray for Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Gomez and for this whole situation that is going on in my birth archdiocese. This is one cross that is extremely heavy to carry...and as someone who is from this diocese, I am personally affected by anything that comes from LA. 

Pax Vobis