The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Cardinal to speak at Forum

Karen Langley | Monday, October 8, 2007

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, a speaker at today’s Notre Dame Forum on immigration, leads an archdiocese affected in recent years by significant controversy.

In July, the archdiocese reached a $660 million settlement with victims of hundreds of clergy abuse cases. In 2002, multiple news sources reported Mahony acknowledged knowingly transferring a pedophile priest among parishes.

In September, the Los Angeles Times reported that three nuns whose work includes counseling, translating for and otherwise helping poor, undocumented immigrants were sent eviction notices by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The nuns were reportedly notified they had to leave their convent, which will be sold to help pay the multimillion-dollar court settlement, by Dec. 31.

University spokesman Don Wycliff said Friday that University leaders are aware of these news reports.

“The people in charge of putting together the forum were not unaware of the swirl of controversy in Los Angeles,” he said. “Their purpose was to find an articulate, forceful speaker for Catholic Social Teaching on the immigration issue, and there was no one better in that role than Cardinal Mahony.”

Mahony’s commitment to immigrant rights has been clear throughout his leadership, Wycliff said.

“Cardinal Mahony couldn’t be more forceful as to his views on immigration and

our obligation to immigrants – documented and undocumented,” he said. “I rather suspect if there were any way he could avoid hurting immigrants that would be a priority.”

Mahony was appointed archbishop of Los Angeles by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and was made a cardinal in 1991. Los Angeles is the largest diocese in the U.S.

“The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has made commitments in court to pay people to whom it is indebted,” he said. “It has to do what it has to do to raise that money.”

The convent is reportedly valued by the Santa Barbara County assessor’s office at $97,746, though neighborhood real estate prices suggest a sale could yield a higher price.

The archdiocese has reportedly said up to 50 non-parish properties will be sold to pay the settlement. After the archdiocese administrative headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara convent is the first property to be identified publicly as one to be sold, the Times reported.

At the first Notre Dame Forum in 2005, protestors distributed leaflets outside the Joyce Center to protest the presence of Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, a speaker at that forum.

At the time, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) president Barbara Blaine said members wanted to make a statement against Rodriguez, who accused U.S. media in 2002 of covering the Church’s sex abuse scandal in ways “reminiscent more of Stalin and Hitler.”