Sunday, June 15, 2003

Neumayr sorts out Mahony and Keating

(Written before Keating's resignation)

Tod Tamberg, Mahony's artless spokesman, dismissed Keating's criticism as "extra zeal." Keating, said Tamberg, is "not an authority on California law or the pastoral concerns of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles."

One of those pristine pastoral concerns was to short-circuit Keating's survey seeking a definitive number of American priests accused of abuse. Even as he twirled before the cameras as a "reformer," Mahony was quietly telling his brother bishops not to cooperate with the survey, lest it provide more fodder for the media and the courts.

"In April, Mahony wrote to all U.S. cardinals and major archbishops calling for the review board to terminate its contract with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, which the panel had hired to conduct the study," reports the Times. "In May, California's bishops followed Mahony's lead and passed a resolution -- previously unpublicized -- declaring that they would not participate in the survey."

His gambit foiled, Mahony says that he will now cooperate with the survey. Meanwhile, Los Angeles prosecutors are waiting for a judge's ruling on Mahony's refusal to turn over to them 2,000 pages of "church communications that lawyers for Mahony insist must remain secret under the Constitution," reports the Times.