LOS ANGELES TIMES PHOTO
On the day that the Catholics of California celebrated the feast of the "Apostle of California," Blessed Junipero Serra, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony gathered with the notorious "apostates of California" to invoke God's blessings upon the new mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraisgosa.
Mr. Villaraigosa claims to be a Catholic but flagrantly rejects the Church's teachings.
"I'm strongly, strongly pro-choice," said Villaraigosa in a 2001 L.A. Times interview and then added that he did not subscribe to "some of the church's teachings on sexuality with respect to gays and lesbians." He explained that "religion is more about my spirituality and faith than adherence to rigid theological concepts."
Well, whatever religion that is, it's not Catholicism.
But alas, Catholic or not, Villaraigosa was invited by the Cardinal of Los Angeles to his Cathedral for a gala, interfaith pow-wow which included a pagan-like "circle of prayer" around the new mayor and his wife. Later, according to THE TIDINGS, Mahony "delivered" his own prayer for the occasion on the steps of City Hall.
Mahony's bland entreaty was awash with political correctness. It was a cautiously worded prayer that could scarcely offend anyone except God Himself to Whom it was addressed.
The Cardinal's prayer began:
"God of life and love, God of compassion and mercy, God of reconciliation and forgiveness, God of justice and peace."
Standing before a largely politically homogeneous but religiously very diverse crowd, Cardinal Mahony avoided any reference whatsoever to the Holy Name of Jesus. This dissing of Christ comes as no surprise in view of Mahony's carefully nuanced but critical assessment of then Cardinal Ratzinger's masterful work, Dominus Iesus.
Mahony continued ...
"We pray today that your Spirit will inspire each of us to embody in our words, actions, and policies those values that protect human life, establish peace, promote justice, and uphold the common good."
Protect human life. This is, at best, an oblique reference to the unborn but the language is so inexplicit that I am sure that even the rabidly pro-abortion Villaraigosa, looking quite pious throughout, could whisper agreeingly, "Amen."
Then, returning repeatedly to the refrain, "In you, O God, we trust," the Cardinal launched into a prayer for just about everybody except the most forgotten and vulnerable of all: the child in the womb.
He prayed for "the sick and the elderly, those who are poor and downtrodden, those on skid row and those on death row," but not for the unborn child.
He prayed for families so that they will have "enough food to eat ... clothing to keep themselves warm, adequate shelter ... decent education for their children," but he asked for nothing on behalf of the unborn.
He prayed for a society in which "working people earn wages that can sustain themselves and their family members in dignity, and that they have access to adequate healthcare, childcare, and education," but nothing about caring for the child in the womb.
He prayed that everyone will embrace "the truth that our neighbor is anyone near or far who needs our assistance and support," unless, of course, that neighbor is an unborn child.
He prayed that "we will recognize that the dignity and worth of each person comes from [God] and is not determined by race or ethnicity, by age or gender, by economic or immigration status, by faith or creed," unless that person's legal status is "fetus."
He prayed for peace on earth and for a "world free from violence, war and oppression," but made no mention of the war against the unborn which continues with unabated fury. Neither did he acknowledge that abortion is the most heinous act of violence imaginable because it destroys an innocent and defenseless human life.
Mahony's prayer for the new L.A. mayor used lots of words but said really nothing.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, like so many of the saints, used few words but said a whole lot.
Here is what she said at the 1997 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., with Bill and Hilary Clinton -- abortion's most powerful friends -- in attendance.
Mother Teresa: "What is taking place in America is a war against the child. And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another."
Cardinal Mahony could have simply quoted those few words of Blessed Mother Teresa and sat down and a spiritual earthquake would have rocked L.A. L.A. Catholics would have loved him for it and undoubtedly others would have hated him. But surely God would have been pleased and a revolution would have begun. But, sadly, he did not. Is it cowardice that muzzles him? Are there too many favors owed to too many powerful people? Is it allegiance to ideology? Or lack of faith?
God alone knows the answer and we may never know it.
Meanwhile, we cry out still: how long, O Lord?
And we pray for the Cardinal Archbishop of the largest Archdiocese in the richest nation in the world.