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Today’s Mahony sandwich is dry and stale

The idea that the US bishops ever countenanced targeting politicians or public servants in any branch of government at any level was never going to happen and everybody who matters knew it – even and especially the ones who were ginning up opposition to the idea.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles, Theodore E. McCarrick, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and Cardinal Adam J. Maida, retired archbishop of Detroit, attend Pope Francis' meeting with U.S. bishops in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington Sept. 23, 2015. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

To be perfectly frank, the Fall Meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, Md., is near the top of the list of things about which I could not care less. I can’t even get up for the race handicapping part, which in other years has been fun. It’s just pointless, if you ask me.

There, I said it.

What’s interesting this time is the stuff that’s been on the sidelines and … ahem … peripheries of the meeting.

If Rome can be counted among the peripheries, the interview released by Vatican News on Monday morning – right about the time the US bishops were sipping their coffee – probably takes the cake.

It was an interview with Roger Cardinal Mahony, the archbishop-emeritus of Los Angeles, and it was mostly about the endlessly controversial draft document on “Eucharistic coherence” the bishops ordered at their spring plenary.

Cardinal Mahony doesn’t like it.

I think it’s unfortunate that we’re even having this document before us,” he says, and calls it “totally unnecessary.” OK, he really doesn’t like it.

[T]he document as we have it is being passed just as we come up on the holiday season, no one is going to read [it],” he says. He’s not wrong about that – and wouldn’t be wrong about it, were it written by St. Thomas Aquinas himself.

Remember,” he says, “this document was intended primarily to go after and penalize Catholic legislators.”

Only, it wasn’t.

The idea that the US bishops ever countenanced targeting politicians or public servants in any branch of government at any level is one that played a big part in the pageant of idiocy that took place around the bishops’ last big pow-wow in June, but it was never going to happen and everybody who matters knew it – even and especially the ones who were ginning up opposition to the idea.

Anyway, that Cardinal Mahony doesn’t like the draft document is not exactly surprising. It also isn’t really any sort of news. What’s news is that the Vatican’s official information outlet ran an interview in which he says so, on the opening day of the US bishops’ fall gathering.

Now, it may be that Cardinal Mahony asked the pope’s news organ for some space, and they obliged. It may be that the editorial powers at Vatican Media sought him out, and he obliged.

I asked a couple of the senior people in the organization, but they hadn’t answered by late this afternoon EST – I’m stateside these days – and, anyway, it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that the Vatican’s official communications outfit is running an interview with a senior US red hat – one with a dismal record on child protection and clerical discipline – in which the prelate criticizes his brethren in the American episcopate for doing things their way, rather than letting Pope Francis call the plays.

The Holy Father,” says Cardinal Mahony, “is always, always looking for the path of encounter and dialogue to deal with issues like this, especially among the bishops.” He mentions the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Louis Cardinal Ladaria SJ, who sent a letter to the US bishops at Francis’s behest, in which Ladaria outlined “a wonderful three-step process” for the bishops.

[W]e would meet regionally for maybe 2 or 3 days together,” step one. “And really come to know each other, to understand what was going on, what our differences were,” step two? He never got to step three.

In any case, the bishops never got to step one “because of Covid,” but “if we had done it I think we [bishops] would be in a far different situation,” and “would have decided we do not need this document.”

Three quarters of his brother bishops disagreed last June, though, and here we are.

Never mind that Cardinal Mahony’s preferred “way forward” would have involved more dialogue with the 60 Catholic US federal lawmakers who wrote a “statement of principles” including their belief that the “weaponization” of the Eucharist to target politicians who – like them – support legal abortion is “contradictory.”

I suppose folks may find Cardinal Mahony rather too sanguine when it comes to the possibility for dialogue with such figures, but really, it’s neither here nor there.

Kind of like him, these days.

Pope Francis wasn’t wrong when he decried the abuse of narrative in news media. Maybe his people didn’t get the memo?

It wouldn’t be the first time.

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About Christopher R. Altieri 245 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, editor and author of three books, including Reading the News Without Losing Your Faith (Catholic Truth Society, 2021). He is contributing editor to Catholic World Report.


  1. It’s a sad time in the Church. Here we have these hirelings – who for more than 40 years had people board buses to go to DC to stand and march in the dead of winter – and they cannot even bring themselves to write a meaningless, toothless paragraph on the Eucharist. Come out Mahoney, Cupich, Tobin, Gregory come out from the shadows and admit it, you were never really all in on this meddlesome abortion thing, were you? You have pro-life collections, run a pro-life office at USCCB, show up to be with the young people at the Shrine pro-life Mass, pat the high schoolers on the shoulders for their pro-life convictions – and you run for the hills when it requires a risk that you won’t be invited to the dinners and banquets of the elite. You’re a sorry bunch. The very people you are kissing up to are the ones who sneer at religious faith and especially the Church. And you are on their side. You and our “Holy Father.” Sad times, indeed.

    • Agree wholeheartedly. These prelates and the pope are more interested in finding favor with the media than preaching truth. I did find the article difficult to follow – maybe just me.

    • So right JP. Every day I wake up dreading what our self proclaimed Uber-Catholic President will say or do next to further destroy Christendom and every night I go to sleep disheartened by the inaction, wrong action or just plain go with the flow attitude of our Catholic leadership. What else can I do except pray and go to confession? I trust in the Holy Spirit and have an inkling of what will happen next, (Have a look at the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Roubini, Hanson, Trueman, and Attenborough – they’re talking about the same thing but from different perspectives). I say come Holy Spirit.

  2. Mahony – a prelate whose ministry to Christ’s Church was a miserable failure. Not unlike his ‘best bud’ at the Vatican. All these purveyors of the homosexualist agenda have miserably failed to be what Christ asked of them. Shame on them. However their pride renders them incapable of experiencing any shame at all. These charlatans are a disgrace.

    • yes, and in the wine there is the truth, never old nor stale, always blessed to the taste….quite precociously perspicacious, thank you…one has taken us to to new heights, not simply good for the body but for the flight ascendancy of soul as well….blessings

  3. The bishops will leave truly devout Catholics on the sidelines when they refuse to stand up for the teaching of the Catholic Church. The problem? Church “leaders” have both sought and accepted funds from the government to support their efforts. They are beholden in too many ways to the power of Washington, D.C., which strips them of the authority they are granted by Jesus Christ to teach the tenets of the faith and to uphold them in the public square. The USCCB sold out a long time ago.

  4. Its unfortunate you didnt mention the fact that ChurchMilitant is holding a prayer rally right next door to these red hat cowards with the sole purpose of holding them accountable. Church World Report and Church Militant have a lot in common and might consider merging??

  5. My objection to this article is that it suggests the author’s dismay over the “US bishops [that]never had the slightest intention of singling out US President Joe Biden over his supposed worthiness to receive” (Altieri Catholic Herald). As if he’s frustrated with the US bishops’ exercise in futility and bogus media coverage. Whereas Chris Altieri, ever the cryptic supporter of Pope Francis seems to agree more with Cardinal Mahony’s “The Holy Father is always, always looking for the path of encounter and dialogue to deal with issues like this, especially among the bishops.” What a Pageant of idiocy! That is, Eucharistic cohesion and the slaughter of the innocents to be dared addressed by the bishops. Idiocy to even suggest it should be addressed, when we have such a realistic [Realpolitik] Pope who wisely proposes dialogue, consensus, respect of conscientious objection by dissident bishops who accuse the faithful majority of weaponizing. We’re facing a monumental moment of truth and we suffer this.

    • I never quite understand your train of thought and only rarely catch on to your references. I think we might be more in agreement than not, but after reading your posts I am usually unsure.

      • At times I use satire, allusion in a free style that some readers might find difficult. What I’m saying here is that Chris Altieri is critical of the Bishops intention to address Eucharist cohesion. He calls it a “Pageant of idiocy” in the Catholic Herald. He appears to be critical of Cardinal Mahony but seems more in favor of Mahony’s approval of Pope Francis’ negotiating approach rather than direct address of Eucharistic cohesion in politics.

  6. Considering Mahony’s record, especially on abortion and the abuse scandal, and before he was removed in Los Angeles, nothing has changed and he is not a prelate with any credibility on the Eucharist and its abuses.

  7. Cardinal Dannneels of Belgium helped Francis become pope as did Mahony. Danneeles was right by Francis on the balcony at St. Peters when Francis was introduced as pope. Both Danneels & Mahony covered for homosexual child abusers. The Vatican has done nothing about these two enablers. We don’t need to ask why, it’s apparant. And people are suppose to listen to these men? Sorry, outrage is not strong enough.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Today’s Mahony sandwich is dry and stale – Catholic World Report – The Old Roman
  2. Mahony baloney on Eucharistic Coherence - JP2 Catholic Radio
  3. Vatican gives Cardinal Mahony platform to attack other bishops - California Catholic Daily

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