And the Oscar goes
to" "The Sting LA Style"
By Vinnie Nauheimer
Accepting the Oscar for "The Sting LA Style" are Roger Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Jose Gomez for their stellar performances in a remake of "The Sting." Produced, directed, and orchestrated by the Vatican, it is the story of two bishops who feign fighting with each other in order to collect vast sums of money from an unsuspecting laity. Gomez plays the part of a white knight who rides in, releases documents (which was his legal obligation), derides his predecessor, and saves the Los Angeles diocese from the last vestiges of child sex abuse. Mahony, for his part, takes umbrage at being silenced by his protege and being blamed for his dastardly deeds. Could we expect anything less from the diocese that contains Hollywood? Certainly not!
Anyone believing the sincerity of the this "made for public consumption" feud should reach into their Tinker Bell pouches and throw some pixie dust on themselves so they can remain in La La Land. Are we really supposed to believe that Gomez was unaware of the extent of Mahony's malfeasance? No more than that insulting excuse that Mahony made when he proffered, "nothing in my training prepared me for priests raping children." If true, we ought to put both their faces on the Naivete Awards! Mahony for not knowing that the rape, sodomization, and molestation of children was a heinous, immoral, and criminal act. Gomez, who obviously doesn't read, deserves his award in honor of his empty protestations that he knew nothing of how bad things were under Mahony. Really, did this man live under a rock for the past 10 years? As Mahony said, "Gomez never complained about me before." These pernicious lines were written by the Vatican spin masters to add drama to the feud, and Mahony followed the script perfectly, giving a convincing performance penned to create the illusion of a genuine feud. "Please Don't Throw Me into the Briar Patch, Archbishop Gomez!" wink, wink.
Why the wink, wink? Money, money, and more money!
Mahony has spent untold millions ,maybe even a billion dollars on PR Firms, lawyers, and buying the silence of survivors. As early as 2002, he hired one of the most expensive PR Firms in LA, Weber Shandwick, which was rumored to bill at $500 per hour. Mahony then hired J. Michael Hennigan, of Hennigan Bennett and Dorman, a creme de la creme lawyer, who in turn fired Weber Shandwick and hired Sitrick and Co., a Century City-based firm whose forte was crisis management. Can you see the dollars flowing out of the LA Diocesan coffers? The outflow begun in 2002 has continued for over ten years. It is not hard to imagine the coffers of the PR and Legal firms unnecessarily swelling at the laity's expense.
Since then, there have been suits, countersuits, appeals, and more appeals, especially when it came to the Herculean legal effort put forth, over the past six years aimed at preventing abuse files from being made public. The outflow of money had to be enormous, but because there are no checks and balances, no transparency, the sheep in LA's pews will never know exactly how much money Mahony spent keeping up his image, countering suits, filing appeals - and that doesn't count the six-hundred-fifty-million payout to survivors. The irony is magnificent. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent to protect an image that was ultimately sullied by his protege. Truly Machiavellian!
The Sting LA Style is on now because those monies have to be replaced! Mahony and Gomez publicly pretend to dislike each other like Newman and Redford did in the Sting, but the goal is not to fleece a mobster; their goal is to take more money from the laity. Los Angeles is the largest diocese in the richest country in the world, and both Gomez and Mahony are company men. Only those who still believe in the Easter Bunny would be naive enough to believe that the Vatican would give this prize diocese to anyone but a company man. This script was written as a contingency plan when Gomez was given the nod; of the five million Catholics in the diocese forty percent of LA Catholics are Latino. Coincidence?
Did the Vatican's plan work? Did Gomez become the knight in shining armor for forbidding Mahony to speak in public? Yes! Did this unprecedented move (according to the press) make national headlines? Yes! It has been national news and editorial fodder for over a week. Did the pew people all over the country bob their heads in agreement while saying, "It's about time!"? Yes! Is Mahony the bad guy? Yes! Is Mahony feigning hurt feelings? Absolutely! Is Gomez being perceived as the good guy? Yes! Has Mahony's lifestyle materially changed? No! He swore a blood oath to the pope, and this charade is a small price to pay for all he has been given.
Several papers have pronounced a bishop silencing another bishop as unprecedented. Not so. This same scenario was recently played out in Ireland where Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, made a big public display of demanding the resignations of three bishops, who like Mahony, had been instrumental in the cover-up of the sexual abuse of minors. After a suitable and very public fight, the bishops agreed to tender their resignations to Pope Benedict XVI who promptly refused to accept them. Martin went down as an Irish hero for battling the Vatican, and the three bishops went back to work, business as usual.
There is a very little known rite created by, oddly enough, Benedict XIV who wrote the rules for the degradation of a bishop. The Rite of Degradation starts out as follows: " If the degradandus [he who is about to be degraded] be an archbishop, the degrading prelate removes his pallium, saying: 'We deprive thee of the rights and privileges of the episcopal dignity, symbolized in this pallium, since thou hast abused them.'" If Benedict XVI had the chutzpah to use this rite, it would indeed be unprecedented!
However, I digress, and therefore, back to the point of this exposition: the fine acting performance of Roger Cardinal Mahony and his protege Archbishop Jose Gomez, the purpose of which is to put Gomez in the position of white knight so that he can ask for and receive more money from the good people of the Los Angeles diocese. Money, which most likely will cover the legal bills accumulated by his predecessor and those which may arise from criminal charges, if any, filed when the recently released documents have been examined.
Despite the protestations of the church to the contrary, the church can only use laity money. The Roman Catholic Church makes and sells nothing of material value. Therefore, they can only exist by virtue of what they either take or that which is given to them. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent defending the indefensible can be traced back to the laity's pocket one way or another.
According to the LA Times, Gomez has already been in touch with the New York Company, Guidance in Giving Inc. He is using professionals, like his predecessor, to study whether or not this charade worked and when the pew Catholics of Los Angeles will be ripe enough for another round of financial plucking. That folks is what this drama between Gomez and Mahony is all about.
It's all about the money!