(The fourth of four blog entries that originally appeared on Beliefnet when I was guest-blogging for Charlotte Hays.)
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles is set to give his first deposition in the lawsuits combining hundreds of sex abuse allegations against him in both LA and his former diocese of Stockton, California. While the time and location are secret, it is expected that the deposition itself could become public next month. That would be devastating for him.
Time and again, we have seen that when bishops are put in the legal hot seat, whether it’s Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston or Archbishop Flores in San Antonio or Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joliet, when you get these bishops out from behind the pulpits and their official spokesmen and PR flacks, you get right to heart of what’s wrong in the Church in the US, problems that have yet to be corrected by the “reforms” put in place by the bishops’ conference. For example, check out this excerpt from a 1985 deposition by attorney Mark Bello of Bishop Imesch:
Bello: What do you feel, or do you know, is the penalty for violation of these premises?
Imesch: Eternal hellfire. I—you know, what’s the penalty? Put in that I laughed.
Bello: At the question or the answer?
What rhetorical gems and “nuances” of Church teaching can we expect from Cardinal Mahony’s deposition? Perhaps these 2002 emails between the cardinal and his inner circle offer an interesting preview, of temperament if not content.