May 29, 2008

The parishes and the settlement money

The letters to the editor (click on this post's title) in today's (Thursday) L.A. Times start off with three missives about a story in the Times last Sunday,0,72597.story about parishes having to fork over to the archdiocese to help pay Cardinal Mahony's $720 million clergy abuse settlement.


Anonymous pvmkmyer said...

I don't mean to pat myself on the back, but I saw this coming as soon as the settlement was announced. Since then I notified my pastor that I would no longer contribute to my parish because there is not guarantee that the money would not be used to pay off Cardinal Mahony's deplorable settlement, which was made at the last minute before the Cardinal would have to testify in open court. I have redirected my weekly contributions to my local pro-life league, which I will continue to do so long as Cardinal Mahony remains in control of this archdiocese.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Trubador said...

I have a suggestion. He can save the tapestries in the new cathedral as well as the stained glass windows hidden in the downstairs crypt which were from the original cathedral. The new cathedral itself, and the surrounding land, he can sell on the open market and have it turned into a "modern art" museum. I'm sure that even in today's weak real estate market he'd get a significant portion of $$$ needed for the settlements. And we can build a real cathedral after he retires in a few years.

Just a humble suggestion, that's all.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Nemo Dat said...

Why is it "Cardinal Mahoney's $720 million clergy abuse settlement"? You seem to think that if it weren't for him, the diocese would not be in this predicament. While he has acted miserably and I think he is ultimately responsible for a few of the clergy abuse cases, by farthe vast majority of the abuse occurred under his predecessors. It is terrible that funds that would otherwise have been used for buildings, schools, charitable deeds and other apostolic works now is transferred to abuse victims and their lawyers (indeed, about 40% is going to lawyers of victims). But the church is responsible and the church is not something other than the parishes and people. I have little respect for the man, but it is a simple fact that in this case, Mahoney largely got stuck holding the bag. We can dream about selling off OLA and try to disassociate from the scandal by claiming it is the fault of the hierarchy (which it is), but as catholics, we all have to partake of the suffering and the healing that needs to take place in order to close the book on this miserable chapter.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous pvmkmyer said...

Nemo Dat:

Perhaps I wasn't clear. What I consider deplorable about the settlement is the way the Cardinal conducted this entire case, and the timing of the settlement. He did everything he could to block settlement of the cases by fighting the disclosure of documents all the way up to the US Supreme Court. I shudder to think about the legal and other associated fees, including his PR machine, that has been spent on this scandal. He probably could have settled for less money far earlier on if he had been forthcoming. Instead, when he was faced with testifying, he caved and, as is usual in court settlements, had to spend more money because trial was starting.

I truly don't have a problem with money going to the victims. But the Cardinal adamantly said that the parishes and schools won't be affected. Immediately after the settlement was reached the archdiocese announced it could no longer afford to contribute to Daniel Murphy HS so it then announced its closing. And now he comes to the parishes with hat in hand. And if the parishes don't pony up, when will the "voluntary" contributions become involuntary, and when will he "re-direct" funds from Together in Mission?

The fact he's still in charge of the archdiocese is dumbfounding to me, and I don't see how we will put this behind us until he's removed from his position, whether by retirement or otherwise.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear pvmkmyer,

You were right to see it coming!

I've said here before that people can find out if their parish has a restricted fund or funds -- in which all the money stays in the parish -- and can give to that.

Although...I don't truly know if a diocese can ever get its hands on a parish's restricted fund.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Trubador,

Yes, I think lots and lots of Catholic Angelenos would like to see the cathedral sold.

Maybe not for a modern art museum, though, because so much modern art is worthless and destructive and nothing but slime -- sometimes anti-Catholic and blasphemous, too.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Nemo Dat,

The saying "The buck stops here" is why the settlement can be called "Cardinal Mahony's."

It is true that a lot of the crimes took place before 1985. But a lot took place afterward. And nobody can deny that the Cardinal's handling of all the cases has been less than perfect during his 23 years here.

Glad you've pointed out how much of the settlement money is going to the lawyers.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear pvmkmyer,

Thank you for your second comment, as well as the first.

You are so right about the mishandling of the whole thing, and about all the costs of the whole thing, and about the money drain inevitably affecting the whole archdiocese.

I think we can all agree that the way Cardinal Mahony has handled things is not the only way they could have been handled.

I think we can also suggest that another archbishop or cardinal could have done much better.

After all, some molesters were allowed to continue or resume public priestly ministry, and they then committed crimes against more victims. That was avoidable.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

It was announced on Sunday that our parish will be sending $450K to the archdiocese. As it was sprung on the parish with no prior notice, a whole lot of parishioners are understandable upset, particularly after being told for years that "the insurance will cover it, etc". Many feel this is a bail-out of the Cardinal personally. Sadly, I think quite a few people will join those many people in LA who have already bailed on the Church directly due to the Cardinal and his "leadership."

Anyone have suggestions as to whom people can write? I have the nuncio's info, but are there additional people worth contacting?

Paul in Long Beach

11:40 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Paul in Long Beach,

I sympathize with you and your fellow parishioners. A letter signed by a bunch of you rather than one person would be good.

Writing the nuncio is good. Thought I had a list of officials and offices at the Holy See handy, but I can't place my hands on it at the moment.

Let's hope people don't throw the baby out with the bathwater by leaving the Church and the Sacraments because of one person.

We should never let anyone drive us out of the Church or come between us and Jesus.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous pvmkmyer said...

Thank you Quintero, for your kind words. Paul, I sympathize with your reaction of the $450K announcement. I personally would never leave the Church over these matters, and hope others will not leave. There is only one Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, so where else would one go? I certainly can see seeking out a different parish. For my part, I remain in my far-too-liberal parish in Pasadena, where slow incremental change towards more traditional liturgy (at least in the music) is starting.

Hopefully, in time, with the cardinal's upcoming retirement in 3years, things will slowly change. In the meantime I pray for his conversion of heart and his return to orthodoxy. However, I'm afraid that after all the damage that's been done, nothing will help other than replacing him with "fresh blood." We need a new start in this archdiocese.

On a completely different note, for anyone hoping for an earthquake to take care of the modern horror that is the Taj Mahony, I have it on very good authority that the entire cathedral is built on it's own mini-island so that the entire building will move back and forth during an earthquake. If you ever visit the cathedral you can see the line all around the building in the pavement. As an engineering feat it's quite remarkable. It's designed to last 500 years -- God help us! It really makes me wonder what was "wrong" with the competing architectural proposals.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Joseph D'Hippolito said...

There's only one way for there to be a "fresh start" in the archdiocese: The priests must petition Rome for Mahony's removal. Rome won't listen to the laity but it will listen when a huge number of priests organizes and complains. That's how JPII finally accepted Cdl. Law's resignation.

Catholic laity must put pressure on their pastors to organize in such a manner.

Writing to the nuncio won't do anything. The nuncio is another seelf-serving bureaucrat. Stephen Brady of Roman Catholic Faithful wrote the nuncio to Washington about the malfeasance of bishop of Springfield, Ill. concerning the sex-abuse crisis, and the nuncio did nothing.

Rome must be made to see that maintaining Mahony in office means rationalizing his malfeasance. Regardless of how his episcopal predecessors acted, no single man has done more to bring the Archdiocese of Los Angeles into disrepute or endangered its security as much as Roger Mahony has.

11:45 AM  

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