On Thursday, Pope Francis preached against scandal and harm caused by corrupt clergy when he concelebrated Mass with two cardinals.
One of the cardinals was
Roger Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles.
A fair evaluation
of Mahony’s ecclesiastical career would suggest, among other things,
that he showed greater interest in fashionable causes than in the
counter-cultural moral demands of the Catholic faith, that he conveyed a
noticeably “thin” understanding of the Mass, that he had no qualms
about showing ecclesiastical approval of pro-abortion politicians, and
that at the very least he handled cases of sexual abuse extraordinarily
badly, deliberately protecting abusive priests.
In a move clearly connected to the abuse scandal, Cardinal Mahony was
relieved by his successor early last year of all his remaining duties
in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Years earlier, his lack of opposition
to abortion had angered the American Life League enough to call for his
Similarly, the absence of any clear sense of the
Eucharistic Presence of Christ in his worship guidelines so infuriated
Mother Angelica of EWTN that she (unwisely) publicly counseled
disobedience to his episcopal authority.
So here is the question: Knowing what you now know about Pope
Francis, including his characteristic bluntness, should the focus of his
homily on January 16th be taken as an indication of the closeness of
the concelebrants—or of the enormous gap which separates them?