Phoney Mahoney indeed

The recent "apology" from LA's Cardinal Richard Mahiney is a case of continuing deflection of responsibility, as Jason Berry's piece in the Boston Globe makes clear. There should no longer be any doubt that Catholic bishops consider themselves wholly above the law, capable of retaining power in spite of horrific lapses of judgment, demonstrated incapacity for compassion, and a knack for phony PR display that rivals that of the most social unconscious corporation.

Where is the accountability? Why don't bishops offer to resign when exposed as so utterly incompetent and devoid of Christian love?

Yes, there's something special about being a bishop.

The episcopate has got to get over the fact that being in the Apostolic Succession makes them a) invulnerable to serious error and b) ineligible to be held accountable for their lapses. They believe (and many of their dumbbell conservative supporters agree) that the bishop's person (extending to the financial and personnel dealings of hid diocese) must be sacrosanct. The real fight is about control over information. The real issue is retention of the medieval mindset that allows bishops to do whatever they want -- since what they want is the will of God. To answer to charges -- even legitimate charges stemming from a crime as horrific as child abuse -- is to give up the pretense of ultimate authority. Any man who really believes himself to be above and outside the law is a fool and a menace. It's no wonder why our bishops seem cut from the same bolt of inferior cloth -- what man of any integrity would put himself in the company of men of such vapid morals?

The honorable thing for a man who has as much dirt on his hands as Mahoney is to repent and resign. Apologies are too easy. Apologies are strewn about by high churchmen like holy water -- a little dab'll do ya, and on we go. If there was an ounce of repentance in Mahoney's demeanor. just a smidgen of remorse showing on his face, then the rest of us could let go and move on to other issues. But the phony smiles that bishops wear are a cover for their fundamental mendacity and uncaring. It's no wonder that their homilies and official communications mean so little -- they have not suffered enough -- paid their dues -- to have anything to say to the rest of us. The least they can do (and it is no small thing in this age of unaccountability) is to lead the way to salvation that is born of a repentant heart. St. Peter demonstrated the method. After pretending not to know Christ, he wept.

Could that Cardinal Mahoney weep! Even those scoundrels Jimmy Swaggart and Tammy Faye Bakker wept. Which tells you how remorseless are our bishops.Imagine! To avoid being shattered by the fact that they contributed to the anal rape of a child! What kind of monster does it take to ignore the suffering of one of Christ's Little ones?

The episcopal kind, that's what kind.