An ego large enough to fill the Taj Mahony

An ego large enough to fill the Taj Mahony

LA Catholic reports that Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has commissioned a biography of ... himself. What kind of man commissions someone else to write a biography of him? Does he think he’s a president or pope? Memoirs or an autobiography I can understand, but a biography?

The Cardinal has chosen the author: His own Cardinal’s Theologian, Dr. Michael Downey, professor of Systematic Theology and Spirituality at what’s left of St. John’s Seminary.

... The story says, “Downey described Cardinal Mahony as ‘the most significant and influential moderate voice in the American Catholic hierarchy. So many people all across the country, and in different parts of the world, look to him as a paragon of the middle way and of moderation, an embodiment of the Common Ground so dear to the heart of his brother bishop and good friend Cardinal Bernardin.’”

Now there’s an oxymoronic book title worthy of a Rush Limbaugh parody: “Great Moderates of History.” Yes, everybody loves someone who is moderate: Don’t get too passionate. Straddle that line. Don’t take a stand. Be lukewarm. Sure, the Lord says He’ll vomit you forth, but look at you staking a firm position right in the mushy middle.

Of course, self-professed moderates rarely are so, but are usually liberals with a guilty conscience. “No, no, I’m not liberal. I couldn’t be. Oh yes, that’s sort of a liberal belief and, yes, that is too, but hey I’m conservative on this one inconsequential other thing.” What does moderate even mean in the context of the Catholic faith? What part of Catholic faith and belief should we “moderate”?

Where in all of Christian history—2,000 years of inspirational teaching and writing starting with Jesus in the Gospels and St. Paul in the Epistles—did we ever hear a bishop admonished to “seek out the middle way of moderation?”

Pathetic. Your copy will be reserved for pickup in February 2011. That’s Cardinal Mahony’s 75th birthday.

Incidentally, Dr. Downey should make he doesn’t forget to include this information from the “Bishop Accountability” web site on Mahony’s actions with pervert priests, especially this transcript of emails among his inner circle during Lent and Holy Week 2002. That should make for some fascinating chapters.

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