Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

The big news the past couple of days has been the resignation of Pope Benedict because he feels too infirm to continue.  A resignation (retirement) from the papacy hasn't happened in about 600 years, so the attention in the press is certainly warranted.  The resignation becomes effective the end of February and a conclave of the cardinals to select his successor will be convened in March.

One cardinal who is probably grateful to heed the call to Rome is Roger Mahony.  He continues to be hammered by the Los Angeles Times for his role in hiding priests who were sexually abusive.  Here's the latest:

Pressed to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars to settle clergy sex abuse lawsuits, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony turned to one group of Catholics whose faith could not be shaken: the dead.

Under his leadership in 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles quietly appropriated $115 million from a cemetery maintenance fund and used it to help pay a landmark settlement with molestation victims.

The church did not inform relatives of the deceased that it had taken the money, which amounted to 88% of the fund. Families of those buried in church-owned cemeteries and interred in its mausoleums have contributed to a dedicated account for the perpetual care of graves, crypts and grounds since the 1890s.

Mahony and other church officials also did not mention the cemetery fund in numerous public statements about how the archdiocese planned to cover the $660-million abuse settlement. In detailed presentations to parish groups, the cardinal and his aides said they had cashed in substantial investments to pay the settlement, but they did not disclose that the main asset liquidated was cemetery money. ...

The church's use of fund money appears to be legal. State law prohibits private cemeteries from touching the principal of their perpetual care funds and bars them from using the interest on those funds for anything other than maintenance. Those laws, however, do not apply to cemeteries run by religious organizations.   [Emphasis added.]

While probably not illegal, the use of the funds without advising the families of those buried in Catholic cemeteries and failing to disclose the source of the settlement funds to the archdiocese for an appreciable period of time thereafter amounts to a cover-up, thereby compounding the sin.  Go read the entire article for more details.  I'm sure Cardinal Mahony will be happy to escape from the glare all these revelations are generating.

Kudos to the Los Angeles Times for their ongoing coverage of this issue.


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