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Steve Lopez: It's too late for Cardinal Roger Mahony's apologies

January 22, 2013 |  9:44 am

 Cardinal Roger Mahoney enters the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in 2009. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Steve LopezCardinal Roger M. Mahony doesn't appear to have changed much in retirement.

He and his legal protectors have continued to fight the release of damning documents every step of the way. When that fails, and his role in the cover-up becomes more clearly documented, he issues an apology.

It's a little too late for apologies, if you ask me. The latest apology is perhaps more insulting than previous ones.

DOCUMENT: Los Angeles Archdiocese priest abuse files

Mahony continues to suggest that not enough was known about pedophilia in the mid-1980s to guide him toward the protection of victims. And not until 2006, when he began meeting with victims, did he have a "fuller awareness" of the devastating effect the abuse and cover-up had on those victims.

That's an insult to all the victims and to any sense of decency.

Children were raped. Priests were shuttled, covered for, reassigned, and they abused again.

Lives have been ruined, faith destroyed, and Mahony is at the center of this scandal, his unconscionable efforts to shield perpetrators now on the record, and still he seems more concerned about protecting his own image. If he's the caring, born-again reformer he claims to be, why do his misdeeds have to be forced out of him time after time?

"I have a 3 x 5 card for every victim I met with on the altar of my small chapel. I pray for them every single day," Mahony said in his mea culpa.

If only he'd been as well organized in going after molesting priests. If only he'd have called the police instead of trying to keep them at bay to avoid any bad publicity. If only he'd practiced the morality he preached.

His prayers might mean something, then.

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-- Steve Lopez

steve.lopez@latimes.com

Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahony enters the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in 2009. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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