The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced Thursday night that it has relieved retired cardinal and liberal activist Cardinal Roger Mahony of all of his duties with the archdiocese in conjunction with the release of 12,000 documents pertaining to the archdiocese’s handling of sexual abuse cases, which reportedly show that Mahony shielded priests suspected of sexual abuse from disciplinary action.
Mahony served as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 1985 until his mandatory retirement date in 2011, but has continued participating in speaking engagements and other public functions with the archdiocese since then.
Mahony’s “point person” on sexual abuse cases also resigned. The archdiocese also made public the personnel files of 124 priests, 82 of which contain allegations of sexual abuse.
“My predecessor, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care. Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties,” Archbishop Jose Gomez said in a statement.
Cardinal Mahony was known in recent years for his progressive activism on the issue of immigration. Records reveal that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even had a personal phone conversation with Mahony the day of a major immigration vote.
Reid last met with Mahony on March 15, 2012 to discuss immigration. Reid tweeted a photograph of himself sitting with Mahony.
“Met yest w/Cardinal Roger Mahony, retired Archbishop. We discussed need 4 comprehensive #immigration reform & #DREAMAct,” Reid tweeted.
Mahony’s political prominence dates back to 2006.
On Ash Wednesday 2006, Mahony announced that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, on his orders, would not abide by the proposed Sensebrenner anti-illegal immigration bill if it passed into law. Mahony personally lobbied Democratic California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to oppose the bill after it passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Protests against the bill were emboldened by Mahony’s political stand. The U.S. Senate never took the Sensebrenner bill to a vote.
Mahony’s opposition to the bill made him a national liberal political superstar, supporting pro-immigration rallies, partnering with progressive organizations on pro-immigration initiatives, and developing powerful Democratic contacts.
The late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy quoted Mahony at a September 2006 illegal immigration rally in Washington, D.C.
Reid said on the Senate floor on June 7, 2007 that he met with Mahony days before a major vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Mahony personally called Reid the day of the vote and they had a conversation, in between Reid’s unsuccessful attempts to pass the bill through cloture votes. Reid called Mahony one of the “good men” he had the pleasure of speaking to on the immigration issue.
Mahony participated in an immigration-themed conference call with reporters in January 2009 alongside representatives from the National Council of La Raza, the activist group America’s Voice, and the Unite Here labor union.
In the conference call, Mahony supported Harry Reid’s goal to enact comprehensive immigration reform on a federal level, saying, “what is happening is that all this piecemeal that is being passed all across the country by cities, counties, states, is extremely unhelpful. It is creating division and fear.”