CV NEWS FEED // The Vatican’s official news service published an interview with Cardinal Roger Mahony in which he intervened pointedly about the U.S. bishops’ upcoming vote on a document clarifying the Church’s teachings about Catholics receiving Communion while maintaining support for grave evils such as abortion.
In the interview, titled “Card Mahony encourages US bishops to take the ‘pathway to constructive dialogue’,” Mahony argued that “we are a democratic republic,” and “our country’s path is one of separation of church and state.”
And so, it’s a very difficult position for politicians, Catholics, who are pressured by some in the Church to make all of the decisions based on Catholic Church doctrine. That is very difficult, it’s almost impossible. If you would want to say that any elected Catholic, or any Catholic judge who at any time has ever voted for or issued a decree or a judgment in any way whatsoever that somehow allowed abortion in some form or another, you have got maybe hundreds of thousands of people right there. That is simply unworkable in a democratic republic.
In June, the U.S. Bishops voted 174-55 in favor of producing a document that could address the issue of Catholic leaders who oppose the Church on grave moral matters such as abortion nonetheless presenting themselves to receive Communion — in violation of Catholic teaching.
At the time, abortion groups and Catholic lawmakers who favor abortion heatedly attacked the bishops for considering such a document. This week, from Monday to Thursday, the bishops are meeting again to finalize the document — which will come down to a vote before their meeting is adjourned.
Mahony argued that the bishops have “failed” to “realize the good faith of our Catholic legislators” who are pro-abortion. By way of example he cited a letter from 60 pro-abortion members of Congress who identified as Catholic, which rebuked the bishops and pressured them to drop the pro-life cause in favor of less controversial issues.
“I was thrilled on June 18th, 60 Catholic Members of Congress, issued a statement of principles,” Mahony said:
I read it through two to three times, and I said, “This is us! This is the Church!” …When I read it, I said, “This is the pathway to constructive dialogue. They want to help us in their rule to do what we want to do. And it’s amazing! …They gave us the open door. And they quoted heavily from Church teaching. But their sincerity, their desire to work together with us was astounding. And I just hope instead of worrying about documents, we enter into the dialogue and start working with them.
Mahony’s interview has received considerable criticism since it was published by the Vatican News Service Tuesday.
Alejandro Bermudez of the Catholic News Agency noted: “Despite the interview’s headline, Cardinal Mahony makes no call for ‘dialogue’ with his brother bishops.” Bermudez added that the letter from Democratic lawmakers which Mahony praised “was led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who has supported taxpayer-funding of abortion and has been a strong supporter of the Women’s Health Protection Act. That legislation, which has languished in the Senate, would remove any legal limitation to abortion in the United States.”
Bermudez also reported the perplexing fact — in light of the Vatican choosing to publish his opinion ahead of the bishops’ vote — that Mahony is a subject of grave controversy relating to the sex abuse scandals in the Church:
[An] investigation published by Los Angeles Times revealed that Cardinal Mahony and his then-vicar of clergy systematically conspired to conceal the sexual abuse of children by priests from law enforcement officials.
According to the investigation, in “memos written to Cardinal Mahony in 1986 and 1987 contained in personnel files for 14 priests and filed this month as evidence in a court case, his chief advisor on sex abuse cases proposed strategies to prevent police from investigating three priests who had admitted molesting young boys to church officials.”
In 2013, a group of Los Angeles Catholics gathered thousands of signatures asking Cardinal Mahony to recuse himself from attending the conclave in Rome that elected Pope Francis. Cardinal Mahony attended the conclave.
In February 2018, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Mahony as his special envoy to the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the diocese of Scranton, Pa. The local uproar against his visit forced Mahony to cancel his participation.In August of the same year, Cardinal Mahony was forced to withdraw as the keynote speaker at an annual fundraising dinner in Utah after hundreds of local Catholics vowed to protest his presence.
“I am embarrassed for my Church,” said CatholicVote President Brian Burch when asked about Mahony’s interview appearing at the Vatican News Service this week. “This is a disgrace. Whoever had the idea to use an 85-year old disgraced Cardinal to attack the Bishops on the opening day of their meeting should be fired.”
“Consider for a moment what Cardinal Mahony, with the help of some Vatican news agent, just said,” Burch added:
That pro-abortion Catholics who bashed the bishops are the model. That the bishops are wasting their time. That the pro-life position is not viable in a diverse democracy. This assault on the bishops and the Church itself raises serious questions about who, and what, is at work among certain Church leaders, including some in the Vatican.