Stockton, CA / Bilingual Weekly
As Archbishop of Los Angeles he has been very vocal against discriminatory immigration law proposals, to the extent that in 2006 he announced he would order all priests, church personnel and followers under his jurisdiction to ignore HR 4437 if it were to become law.
But a darker shadow follows him and a handful of protesters showed up at the procession to denounce the Cardinal.
Mahony was Bishop of the Stockton Diocese between 1980-85 at the time when to worst known case of pedophile by a priest in the Western U.S. was coming to public light. Priest Oliver O’Grady had served at Lodi’s St. Anne’s, where he started a now-documented history of sexually abusing children of all ages and gender. According to trial documents, in 1976 he wrote a confession to parents and to then-Bishop of Stockton, Merlin Guilfoyl, who just moved him to Stockton’s Presentation and later to Turlock’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Mahony continued the denial and covering up and, faced with new accusations, transferred O’Grady to St. Andrew’s Parish in San Andreas and later to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hughson.
According to his critics, Mahony was in line to be Los Angeles Archbishop and recognizing such a crime under his jurisdiction would tarnish his credentials.
Mahony is also under fire by victims’ groups for refusing to release thousands of pages of secret personnel documents about predator priests —as required by a $660 million settlement against his Diocese with more than 500 victims of child sexual abuse— and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees since 2007 to fight the release.
Sunday’s protesters —members of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) living in the Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area— included a man and a woman who were abused by priests as children. “Honoring Cardinal Mahony is wrong,” they claim, “Mahony protected serial predators in Stockton while leading the children of the diocese to spiritual slaughter —so giving him public honors like this is wrong and dangerous because ignoring horrendous misdeeds essentially encourages more horrendous misdeeds.”
Their impact in the public went largely ignored because the event is for and by Spanish-speaking people, yet they did not speak Spanish and their leaflets were in English.
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