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A good shepherd?

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Last Friday, Cardinal Roger Mahony graced the University of Notre Dame with his presence. He spoke of the importance of the priesthood and the many responsibilities that encompass leading a flock. When speaking about the duties of a priest, Cardinal Mahony said, “Teaching involves guiding, leading, enlightening and encouraging the baptized faithful so as to create a community of participation and collaboration.” Please tell me that I am not the only person who finds this statement to be painfully ironic.

As fate would have it, on Thursday I watched the documentary “Deliver Us from Evil.” The film chronicles the life of Fr. O’Grady, a diocesan priest and a pedophile who spent years in prison for his multiple offenses. Over his decades as a parish priest in Los Angeles, O’Grady estimates that he raped, molested or abused over 25 children. As if this revelation is not vile enough, the documentary provides bone-chilling evidence that multiple men with more authority within the Catholic hierarchy were aware of his pedophilic and abusive actions. While pointing the finger at men like Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, the brunt of the blame falls on none other than Cardinal Roger Mahony (who was then Bishop of Stockton and O’Grady’s superior). Interviews with Cardinal Mahony and signed documents are used as proof that Mahony knew of the grave harm O’Grady was causing, but that his solution was just to shuffle him around from parish to parish. The film argues that despite numerous complaints made by parishioners, Mahony chose to protect his own career and the Church’s image at the cost of perpetuating sexual abuse.

Considering the charges made concerning Cardinal Mahony’s integrity as a person and his moral and ethical actions as a Church leader, was he really the best choice for a speaker on the holiness of the priesthood? One only needs to glance around Notre Dame’s campus to realize that there is an abundance of priests in the area. I believe it is a sad day when the person the University chooses to commemorate the celebration of the Year of the Priest has made seriously questionable and controversial decisions.

Angie Hollar


Le Mans Hall

Sept. 22