Sep 7, 2007

Cardinal Mahony evicting elderly Sisters of Bethany to pay his molestation / cover-up settlement

Today's Los Angeles Times (click on this post's title) reports that to help pay the gazillion-dollar clergy molestation / hierarchy cover-up settlement, Cardinal Mahony is going to sell the Santa Barbara convent of the Sisters of Bethany.

These three dear sisters have spent years -- one of them, 43 years -- helping desperately poor people, mostly Hispanic, on Santa Barbara's lower Eastside. No good deed goes unpunished, however, and now the sisters' reward is to have the Archdiocese sell their home out from under them.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if some apostolic Catholic would buy the house and let the sisters keep living there? If nobody rescues them, the sisters will have to abandon their service to poor people and move to their motherhouse in L.A.

It is not unreasonable, though, to wonder whether the Archdiocese has already made a deal to prevent the sisters from staying.

Didn't the Archdiocese say just a month or two ago that the gargantuan molestation / cover-up settlement would hurt no essential services? Guess the Archdiocese considers helping poor Hispanics in Santa Barbara not essential.

I thought the Cardinal has been telling us to be in solidarity with poor people.

Does the Cardinal care about Santa Barbara's poor Hispanics, and the Hispanic sisters who serve them in so Christ-like a way? He seems to care about rich pro-abortion Hispanic politicians he greets at the $200 million Cathedral.

According to the Times, the Cardinal's spokesman Tod Tamberg says the decision to sell the sisters' home is difficult but necessary. What would he say if the Cardinal was selling his house out from under him?

People concerned for the Sisters of Bethany and those whom they serve could take a deep breath and calm themselves, and wait a while, and then politely contact the Archdiocese:

Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202
213 637 7000
info@la-archdiocese.org

29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel very bad for the Sisters but paying for the settlement is going mean pain for many. Rather than striking out at the Cardinal, why not focus your anger at the real culprits: the lawyers who wrote an unconstitutional bill suspending the statute of limitations, got the state legislature to pass it and the governor to sign it and then reaped about a third of a billion dollars as a result.

How did they manage this? By capitalizing on the anger at the priest sex abuse scandal, exploiting people's emotions and making reason one more victim of the abuse.

Blog posts, like yours Q, continue the misdirection, like that employed by magicians. But I guess you'll take any opportunity to strike out against Cardinal Mahony, won't you?

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there no way to develop a grass roots movement to buy the property from the Archdiocese? One wealthy donor isn't the only way to preserve this essential service.

I know Californians are taxed excessively and that the Catholics in the diocese are probably fed up with requests for money, but there are ways to save this charity.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 10:42 a.m.,

Come on.

I hold no brief for most lawyers or for any state legislatures and governors.

But they were not the ones who knowingly sent child molesters for "treatment" instead of turning them in to the police, and who then reassigned them over and over.

The scandal and the settlement would have been far smaller if it had not been for those factors.

Sorry, but we have here a case of the Archdiocese picking on good sisters who seem to have few connections and little clout.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 3:39 p.m.,

A grass roots movement is a very good idea. Thank you, and let's hope Santa Barbara will take up the cause.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 10:42 a.m.,

For the record, ole Q does not "take any opportunity to strike out against the Cardinal."

The simple reality is that the first announced sale of property, besides the downtown offices, is that of devoted sisters who serve poor people, yet the Archdiocese had said it planned to cut no essential services.

Ole Q will never apologize to anyone for defending these dear sisters.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Florentius said...

You said it, Q. This whole debacle is not the fault of the lawyers. It's the fault of a prelate who was WAY too soft on the (primarily) homosexual predators among his priests.

It doesn't surprise me one bit that among his first targets would be nuns with who (gasp) still wear habits. I would have been more surprised had he pulled funding for that odious Ministry With Lesbian & Gay Catholics.

Cardinal Mahoney has always been about removing what is Catholic from the Church and replacing it with something else--anything else. It will be a happy day when he finally resigns. I pray the Pope approves it same-day.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Mary Margaret said...

Quintero, God bless you and all the Catholic faithful in the diocese of Los Angeles. Anon 1, the good Sisters are not guilty--the only ones who are going to suffer the pain are those who remain faithful. This is outrageous! Cardinal Mahony is not suffering privation, to the best of my knowledge. Can he not sell his own residence? He is, at least partly, culpable in this scandal. These Sisters, and the poor hispanic population that they serve, are not.

I doubt that the Diocese of LA will care what a Catholic from the great plains has to say about this, but I will voice my opinion anyway. Shame, shame on those who bind great burdens on the people, but who lift not a finger to bear those burdens!

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point (Anon 10:42) is that the only reason the Sisters have to move from the house the Archdiocese let them live in for free is because the Archdiocese itself is the victim of an injustice. The U.S. Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws and that is exactly what the lawyers concocted (to enrich themselves) in order to sue the Archdiocese (notice that the offending priests themselves were not the defendants).

The Sisters are not the ones suffering an injustice; the Archdiocese of Los Angeles which has to come up with about $300 million is the victim of the injustice. Had the law been struck down as it should have been (and still might be), the Archdiocese would not be selling the Sisters' residence.

As I said at the outset, I feel very bad for the Sisters and I hope someone else will be able to provide the services they provided, but let's put the blame where it belongs...had the statute of limitations been observed, there would have been no (or at least few) suits against the Archdiocese; had there been no (or few) suits, the Archdiocese would not be selling off properties to bankroll an indecent settlement.

Blame the lawyers. Despite what they said in their public utterances, it was all about the money as far as they were concerned.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous MVH said...

Can anyone doubt that if HizEminence were an executive or officer of a corporation, and if he lost the business 1/2 billion dollars, that he would even still be in good standing? Wouldn't he already be facing charges of malfeasance, misappropriation of funds, fraud, criminal cover-up, and God knows what else?

By now he most certainly would of been stripped of his pension and position, and been forced to resign in disgrace!

And what of those subordinates who knew of the bad officer's misconduct and said nothing?

Since, the cardinal has gotten away with so much already, throwing out some nuns out of their home to sell it is nothing.

For Shame!!!

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Snap said...

Dear MVH,
The $660 million settlement is almost exclusively for claims of abuse that allegedly occurred before Cardinal Mahony came to Los Angeles in 1985. (The post-1985 cases were settled previously)

Many of the claims go back to the time of Cardinal Jame Francis McIntyre.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anon 11:52 p.m.,

"The Sisters are not the ones suffering an injustice," you say.

Oh, yes, they are.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero,
Justice is a virtue which gives each person what is his due by right. The Sisters have been living in this place, not by right, but by the good graces of the Archdiocese. The conditions under which the Sisters might continue to enjoy this benefit have ceased to exist. So the Sisters indeed are suffering an inconvenience but not an injustice. As I said, I feel bad that, as the effects of the settlement begin to be felt, that the Sisters have been victimized by the lawyers.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sisters live in a house next door to a parish. The house is not parish property, but owned outright by the Archdiocese. The Sisters have lived there through the charity of the Archdiocese, and charity lasts only as long as one is capable of maintaining the charitable activity. The Archdiocese is no longer able to keep Sisters living for free on their property, so it's time to move. The Sisters have no entitlement here. As unfortunate as it is, it is the reality. All these opinions to the contrary, you don't know what you're talking about; you're just upset that the Archdiocese has to cough up so much dough for not paying attention for so many years.
This is going to sound mean, but these elderly Sisters are not really physically able to serve the poor in any meaningful way, so why not liquidate the property?
Also, I know a Sister who is no longer a member of this community, who is a good, hardworking Nun, who was ousted from this community for spurious reasons. I consider it divine irony that now these Sisters are being ousted. What goes around, comes around.

3:26 PM  
Blogger peppersgc said...

When are you people going to start acting like Catholic Christians and stop arguing amongst yourselves. If both the lawyers and the Archdiocese are to blame then, in the name of all thats Holy, blame them both. The lawyers did in fact take part in the push to suspend the statute of limitations. Also, with a little research into public records for those not to lazy, there are other properties that could be sold to put funds toward the settlement that would not throw anybody, per-say, out. But these properties are used by higher ups in the Archdiocese. I wonder why those aren't being sold? So, use your brains, quit arguing and blame everyone that is to blame, i.e. both.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So these faithful habited nuns are just 'inconvenienced' eh? You know the 50 years of service really means nothing, humanly speaking, after all. And I am sure the hundred thousand or whatever they get for the building will just aobut wipe off the debt that came from pedophile homosexual priest activity and the LIES and COVERUP that accompanied and allowed their activity to continue.

So the Cardinal is innocent? It was not n his watch, you say? He has plenty to account to God for on his watch. The 660 million was to cover him and so he will not have to testify or bring forward more files and evidence that incriminates him. The buck stops with him.

Are the lawyers and laws unjust? Sure. Are there false claims? Sure. But are there souls scarred for life because of the abuse that was allowed to contine? You better believe it. There is little care for souls in these instances and in countless others.

But 2011 will come. The extraordinary form of the Mass will come. It took 40 years of garbage that infiltrated the priesthood and religious and thus to the laity to get in this mess and it will take generations to clear up but it could happen.

Remain faithful.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 1:43 p.m./3:26 p.m.,

You must be right -- what leeches these sisters are. And what crybabies and sissies they are, too. They should be happy -- and grateful to Cardinal Mahony for tossing them out on the street.

Your equation leaves out a lot: The sisters have been paying the utilities and upkeep on their own, and they have been faithfully serving the Archdiocese FOR FREE.

Lefty Catholics are STILL whining and grousing about the lefty and balky Immaculate Heart sisters back in the late 60s who felt so oppressed when Cardinal Mcintyre asked them for obedience.

Now lefty Catholics are rah-rahing Cardinal Mahony for selling out the faithful Sisters of Bethany.

With all due respect, may I say that your claim that the vaunted Archdiocese of Los Angeles is unable to keep these three sisters afloat in their vital mission lacks credibility.

How can an Archdiocese build a $200 million cathedral and not be able to support three sisters!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 3:26 p.m.,

Every religious community and every diocese has ousted members, so the Sisters of Bethany would not be alone in that.

For example, Cardinal Mahony has ousted some priests and other priests have left him.

Besides, there are two sides to every story. But I will not get into an argument here about that.

Your gloating about Cardinal Mahony's selling out the sisters is not really becoming to you. We are not supposed to rejoice in others' misfortunes, after all.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Peppersgc,

Thank you for writing. As I've already said here, I hold no brief for lawyers.

May I say respectfully that the term "Catholic Christians" is unnecessary? "Catholics" says it all. Notice that no one ever says "Protestant Christians."

12:22 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 8:50 a.m.,

Thank you for encouraging everyone to remain faithful. We need to hear that over and over.

You are right to question claims that all the problems arose before Cardinal Mahony's watch. There is blame enough to go around, but to claim our present Ordinary is a hapless bystander will not fly.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 8:50 a.m.,

May I just congratulate and thank you for these words of yours:

"The extraordinary form of the Mass will come. It took 40 years of garbage that infiltrated the priesthood and religious and thus to the laity to get in this mess and it will take generations to clear up but it could happen."

12:34 PM  
Anonymous snap said...

Ole Q is just someone who enjoys attacking the cardinal. The man has faults, as we all do, but he is not nearly the monster Ole Q paints him to be.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Snap,

I don't "attack" Cardinal Mahony. I just REPORT WHAT HE DOES.

I would be MUCH happier praising and thanking Cardinal Mahony, and so would all of us, if only he would be traditional, be actively pro-life, etc.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is absolutely despicable. The cardinal should sell his own home to pay for the settlement. It is his own mismanagement and lack of concern for children under the church's care that led to this, not the Sisters acts of fait and mercy.

2:29 PM  
Blogger peppersgc said...

Dear Quintero,

Of course, your right. Catholic does say it all.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sure like reading into things people write, Q. I did not insinutate the Sisters are "leeches" or "crybabies." They will not be thrown out onto the street--there are other Bethany houses here and elsewhere, and their community will provide for them just fine. Paying utilities etc. is part of the Sisters' stewardship to care for property which is not theirs, hardly a great sacrifice on their part, but rather a responsibility when living off the charity of others. You would expect the same if you owned a home and let tenants live in it. These Sisters will not starve or die because the Archdiocese has screwed up badly; there's no need to overstate your case using these Sisters as an example.
I am not at ALL a "lefty." How you derive this from what I wrote is confusing. The Immaculate Heart Sisters were lefties and deserved what happened to them, BUT they own their own property in the Los Feliz area, and cannot be kicked out or liquidated. This is a bad example on your part and in fact proves my point: these Sisters live on the charity of the Church, which changes when circumstances dictate (as it does with everyone personally).
I am not gloating about the Sisters' circumstances, nor do I rejoice in any of this awful affair. My point is the Sisters are not so bad off and the Archdiocese has the right to dispose of its property as they see fit. The poor will not be served less, just differently.
People are using the Sisters as a straw man to criticize the Archdiocese because it makes for great press. Both from the liberal media who will find any story to beat on the Cardinal, and YOU, Q, who will do the same from the right.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Liam said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Anonymous 3:00 P.M.

Well-said and Amen!

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to all of you who wrote comments. I was very angry after reading the article until I read such diverse opinions and realized there is no right answer. My reaction is we are all sitting in judgement when what we should be doing is praying for the souls of all the perpetrators and victims of this horrific situation.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 3 p.m.,

The Sisters of Bethany "are living off the charity of others?"

Isn't Cardinal Mahony living off our charity? Or does he have a secular job we don't know about?

What about "the workman is worthy of his hire?"

The Sisters of Charity are helping others live off THEIR charity.

It's good that you said earlier that you feel bad for the sisters. But are you the same person who said: "I consider it divine irony that now these Sisters are being ousted. What goes around, comes around."

That sounds more like gloating than sympathy.

It is a hardship for older people to have to move. The physical moving is hard. Any move is distressing in itself, let alone a move that is an eviction.

Any and all references to the Archdiocese letting the sisters live there "for free" and to "the good graces" of the Archdiocese, not to mention "living off others' charity," need to be balanced by an acknowledgment that the sisters have done more than their share for the Archdiocese through their selfless service for poor people.

If you stress that the sisters live there "for free" and they are only being "inconvenienced," it is fair for me to make the point, by colorful language, that your line of argument conveys a lack of sympathy for the sisters.

Lots of Santa Barbarans evidently feel the sisters are perfectly able to continue serving people. The sisters themselves clearly feel that way. And no doubt the many poor people they are helping every day feel that way, too.

As for the IHM sisters, they are a good example in this case, because liberal Catholics lionized them for their disobedience yet now take potshots at the faithful, obedient Sisters of Bethany.

I didn't say you are a lefty, only that lefty Catholics are sniping at the sisters. You have said you are not a lefty; I believe you.

It is ironic that lefties show little sympathy for the sisters, who, after all, serve poor people, which lefties supposedly favor.

Many lefties talk about, and treat, poor people only to use them for partisan political gain, not to see them get actual help.

If the sisters do get booted out, yes, poor people will be served, only differently -- but not better than the Sisters treat them!

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what was on the news about the value of this convent, it is roughly 1% of the cost of the settlement.

So, evicting nuns who do the true work that the Catholic Church is meant to do is the right way to reach the goal? I have to wonder how far that amount really goes to achieve it, and at what cost to the community these great Sisters serve?

To those who play the blame game about the unconstitutional retroactive law about the statute of limitations, well, if the Church leadership hadn't played cover-up for decades, then it wouldn't even have been something to consider in legislation. So they really have no one to blame but themselves. And since it was a settlement, and didn't go to trial, there would be nothing to dismiss even if the law is later found to be unconstitutional. The fact that the Church settled, and for such an exhorbitant figure, is really telling, is it not?

12:05 PM  

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