Roger Michael Mahony
|Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles|
|Appointed||July 12, 1985|
|Installed||September 5, 1985|
|Term ended||March 1, 2011|
|Successor||José Horacio Gómez|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Quattro Coronati|
|Ordination||May 1, 1962|
by Aloysius Joseph Willinger
|Consecration||March 19, 1975|
by Hugh Aloysius Donohoe, William Robert Johnson, and John Stephen Cummins
|Created cardinal||June 28, 1991|
by John Paul II
|Birth name||Roger Michael Mahony|
|Born||February 27, 1936|
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Parents||Victor and Loretta Mahony|
|Motto||To reconcile God's people|
Roger Michael Mahony
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
|See||Los Angeles (Emeritus)|
Ordination history of
Roger Michael Cardinal Mahony KGCHS (born February 27, 1936) is an American cardinal and retired prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011. Before his appointment as Los Angeles archbishop, he served as Auxiliary Bishop of Fresno from 1975 to 1980 and as Bishop of Stockton from 1980 to 1985.
Born in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles and raised in the city's San Fernando Valley area, Mahony was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno in 1962. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Fresno in January 1975 and consecrated bishop in March 1975. He was then appointed Bishop of Stockton in 1980. In 1985, Mahony was appointed Archbishop of Los Angeles by Pope John Paul II, and became the first Los Angeles native to hold the office. He was created a cardinal in 1991 by Pope John Paul II and voted in the papal conclaves that elected Popes Benedict XVI and Francis.
During his tenure as Los Angeles archbishop, Mahony was instrumental in dividing the archdiocese into five administrative subdivisions and in guiding the construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, which opened in September 2002. He has also been an instrumental figure in working to cover up sexual abuse in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, relocating dozens of abusive priests. In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles apologized for abuses by priests and announced its record-breaking settlement with 508 victims worth $660 million.
In 2011 Mahony reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops and was succeeded by José Horacio Gómez on March 1, 2011. On January 31, 2013, Archbishop Gómez relieved Mahony of his public and episcopal duties in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, following the release of personnel files documenting priest sexual-abuse cases during part of Mahony's tenure.
Roger Michael Mahony was born in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California, the son of Victor and Loretta (née Baron) Mahony, a second-generation Irish American couple. He has a twin brother, Louis, and an older brother, Neil. As a child he attended St. Charles Borromeo Grammar School in North Hollywood and at age 14, he entered Los Angeles College, the junior seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
After studying at the Our Lady Queen of Angels Seminary and St. John's Seminary, Mahony was ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 1962, by the Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, Aloysius Joseph Willinger, CSsR. He graduated from The Catholic University of America in 1964 with a master's degree in social work. For the next 13 years, he held pastoral and curial assignments in the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno and the newly formed Diocese of Fresno. He also taught social work at Fresno State University during this period. He was named a monsignor in February 1967.
On January 7, 1975, Mahony was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Fresno and titular bishop of Tamascani by Pope Paul VI. Mahony received his episcopal consecration on the following March 19 from the Bishop of Fresno, Hugh Donohue, with Bishops William Johnson and John Cummins serving as co-consecrators. That year, the Governor, Jerry Brown, appointed Mahony as the first chair of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, where he worked with the United Farm Workers and various growers in the state to resolve agricultural labor disputes.
On February 15, 1980, Mahony was appointed Bishop of Stockton by Pope John Paul II, as announced by the nuncio, Jean Jadot. Mahony terminated two extern priests for sexual abuse during his tenure at Stockton. On July 16, 1985, Mahony was promoted to Archbishop of Los Angeles, the first native Angeleno to hold the office. Mahony was created Cardinal-Priest of Santi Quattro Coronati by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of June 28, 1991.
After the former Cathedral of Saint Vibiana was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Mahony began plans to construct the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, one of the largest Catholic churches in the United States. It was dedicated on September 2, 2002.
In 1987, Mahony presided over the controversial auction of an extensive collection of rare books, including a Gutenberg Bible, donated to St. John's Seminary by philanthropist and book collector Carrie Estelle Doheny. The auction raised $37.8 million, publicly earmarked for an endowment for the training of new priests, but by 1996 some $23-25 million had been spent, including $1 million for a makeover of Mahony's living quarters.
In May 1998 Mahony announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent a prostatectomy on June 15, 1998; doctors at the time indicated that the surgery was "successful" and were optimistic that he would not require additional treatment.
Mahony was a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America. He served on a number of committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including those on Liturgy, Pro-Life Activities, and Migration & Refugees. He is still a consultant for the latter two committees. In the Vatican, he was a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (1984-1989) and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants (1986-1991). He was also a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (1989-2000), Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (2000-2019), and Congregation for Eastern Churches.
In 1992 Mahony published a pastoral letter Film Makers, Film Viewers on the topic of television news and the entertainment industry.
Mahony spoke out on provisions in immigration bills, such as the Sensenbrenner-King Bill, debated by Congress in late 2005 and 2006. He wrote to President Bush that certain proposed measures would effectively outlaw the provision of charitable assistance and religious ministry to individuals not in valid immigration status. On Ash Wednesday, 2006, Mahony announced that he would order the clergy and laity of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to ignore H.R. 4437 if it were to become law. He personally lobbied senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to have the Senate consider a comprehensive immigration reform bill, rather than the enforcement-only bill that passed the House of Representatives. Mahony also blamed the Congress for the illegal immigration crisis due to their failure to act on the issue in the previous 20 years, opposed H.R. 4437 as punitive and open to abusive interpretation, and supported S. 2611.
On April 6, 2010, with Mahony due to reach his mandatory retirement age of 75 the following year, the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI named San Antonio archbishop José Horacio Gómez as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles with immediate right of succession to Mahony. Gómez succeeded Mahony on February 28, 2011, after the ceremony of transition held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, with Mahony's resignation taking canonical effect on March 1, 2011.
Many Catholics were upset about the non-traditional design and the amount of money that was spent on the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, although the parishes of the Archdiocese were not involved in the fund-raising. $190 million dollars were raised from Foundations and individual donors. Mahony defended the expense of the new cathedral to replace the previous earthquake-damaged Cathedral of Saint Vibiana citing the need for a community to have a Mother Church and religious center that unites people in faith and spirituality.
To prepare for the new Millennium, Mahony wrote a pastoral letter on the Mass entitled "Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass". The letter called all parishes to plan and celebrate each Sunday Mass in order to deepen the faith-life of all Catholics through the Eucharist. Some, including televangelist Mother Angelica, found "Gather Faithfully Together" to be inconsistent with existing official liturgical directives set by the Catholic Church. Others, however, found the letter to be visionary, inviting the Catholic Church to a more fruitful[vague] celebration of the Eucharist. It would be adopted by parishes all across the English speaking world over the years.
The number of priestly vocations declined under Mahony's leadership. By contrast, lay ministries grew and Mahony has said, "What some refer to as a 'vocations crisis' is, rather, one of the many fruits of the Second Vatican Council. It is a sign of God's deep love for the Church, and an invitation to a more creative and effective ordering of gifts and energy in the Body of Christ."
In 1980, shortly after Mahony became Bishop of Stockton, California, a parent wrote to the diocese accusing Father Oliver O'Grady, a priest of the diocese, of molesting his two sons. Mahony had O'Grady transferred to another parish in 1982, where more abuse accusations followed. In 1984, a police investigation into accusations against O'Grady was closed after a diocesan lawyer promised that O'Grady would be kept away from children. In December of that year Mahony had O'Grady transferred to another parish. Mahony was promoted to Archbishop of Los Angeles the following year. In 1998 he testified in a civil trial against the Diocese of Stockton, in which a jury awarded $30 million to two of O'Grady's victims. O'Grady later was featured as the subject of the 2006 documentary film, Deliver Us from Evil.
Upon becoming Archbishop of Los Angeles in 1985, Mahony was active in addressing sexual abuse cases. In 1988, the Archdiocese adopted a zero tolerance policy. In 1992, at a national meeting of Catholic bishops, Mahony publicly addressed the need to do more to combat sexual abuse. In 2002, Mahony directed that as many as a dozen Southern California priests be forced to leave the church due to sexual abuse, in compliance with the church's promises in a 2001 settlement, resulting in praise from the victim's attorney in that case.
In February 2004, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued the landmark Report to the People of God, containing a direct signed apology from Cardinal Roger Mahony. It included a detailed list of priests and circumstances in cases of known abuse. The report described the development of diocesan policy related to sexual abuse, and contained case studies of accused priests that fully explored how awareness and understanding of their crimes unfolded. The report contained details of the most significant cases in the history of the archdiocese; it did not release details of 33 priests who were accused but whose cases lacked confirmatory evidence. The church continued to fight against release of details on these priests despite strong criticism from media such as the Los Angeles Times.
In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles apologized for abuses by priests and announced its record-breaking settlement with 508 victims worth $660 million, with an average of $1.3 million for each plaintiff. Mahony described the abuse as a "terrible sin and crime". The agreement settled all outstanding civil lawsuits against the archdiocese. The deal dwarfs the $157 million settlement paid by the Archdiocese of Boston; Massachusetts law places a legal dollar cap on how much money a non-profit group can be required to pay.
In 2013, the diocese released memos from Monsignor Thomas John Curry to Mahony dating to 1986 and 1987; these revealed specific discussions regarding potential legal accountability for priests, including recommending that priests should try to avoid using therapists who might report them to police. At the time, Mahony wrote to the director of a treatment center in New Mexico, seeking to prevent accused priests from returning to Los Angeles. Among the reasons cited was to prevent the filing of lawsuits by victims who had been assured that these priests would not be allowed to return to their parishes. Ray Boucher, a lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs in those cases, said the files released were "particularly damning," because they showed the "wanton disregard for the health and safety of children, and a decision by the highest members of the church to put its self-interest and the interest of abusive priests ahead of those of children."
In 2018, a petition was launched to remove Mahony from St. Charles Borromeo and press criminal charges. On September 16, 2018, a group gathered to protest in front of St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood, California, in response to Mahony's involvement with or coverups of the crimes.
On January 31, 2013, in the wake of a court order requiring the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release its unredacted files on clergy sexual abuse, Archbishop Gómez relieved Mahony of all of his remaining public and administrative duties. According to the archdiocese, Mahony remains "a priest in good standing" and may still celebrate Mass, but he may no longer speak publicly or exercise any responsibilities ordinarily reserved for a bishop, such as administering the sacrament of Confirmation. Critics called Gómez's action "purely symbolic punishment" and "hand-slapping...a nearly meaningless gesture", and noted that Mahony remains "a powerful man" in the church. However, under canon law, as Mahony is a cardinal, he enjoys the "privilege of forum", meaning that only the pope is competent to judge and punish him in matters subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Gómez only has the authority to control Mahony's administrative assignments within the archdiocese.
Mahony continued to administer confirmations at least until early May, 2013, and told an LA Times reporter after that service that it was "news to him" that he was not to administer them any longer, and "I've been doing them every week and I'm going to be doing them every week," adding, "So go home."
He still held the titles of Cardinal and Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, and retained his Vatican appointments. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, a number of Catholic groups voiced opposition to Mahony's voting in a papal conclave so soon after his censure; however, Mahony participated in the conclave in March 2013. Cardinal Mahony was appointed special papal envoy to the 150th anniversary celebration of the Diocese of Scranton, in Pennsylvania. After this was protested locally, he cancelled his attendance, with no replacement being named.
Last tweet before moving to Casa Santa Martha, and Mass to Elect a Pope," Mahony tweeted from his account @CardinalMahony. "First Conclave meeting late Tuesday afternoon. Prayers needed.
|Catholic Church titles|
| Cardinal-Priest of Santi Quattro Coronati
| Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles
José Horacio Gómez
Merlin Joseph Guilfoyle
| Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton
Donald William Montrose
| Auxiliary Bishop of Fresno
|-- TITULAR --
Bishop of Tamascani