During the 1960s, I taught in Fresno State University’s Graduate School of Social Work, where Monsignor Roger Mahony was invited to address classes on his spiritual views of human development. He also asked me to conduct a series of seminars for about 20 priests gathered from the rural reaches of San Joaquin Valley. The subject? Children’s issues.
Each of these priests respectfully followed the monsignor’s directive to attend; some participated with enthusiasm, and some did not. Mahony shared his own considerable understanding of, and commitment to the subject.
It might be said of Cardinal Mahony and the Catholic Church what was said of Charles de Gaulle and France: that his failings were not because he didn’t love France, but that he loved her too much. No one has a complete grasp of today’s troubled chapter on church history, or whether any cardinal’s vote should be counted in a puff of white smoke. Mahony’s faith and experience may even render him more valuable than ever.
Some continue to vilify the priest. But there is nothing “pathological” about the good man that I knew. If he grievously erred in administrative judgment, then some understanding and compassion sent his way is my recommended path.