One of the Catholic prelates who got out of Dodge…er, Boston…ahead of the posse was Alfred Hughes, who served as Cardinal Bernard Law’s Vicar General prior to becoming, first, Bishop of Baton Rouge and now Archbishop of New Orleans. For example, back in 1992, Hughes “rallied to the defense of Fr. John
Hanlon, indicted for sex abuse charges, even though [he] knew of more
recent allegations that he did not reveal,” as the National Catholic Reporter‘s John Allen put it a few years ago.
In New Orleans, Hughes (now pushing 80) was not exactly a no-show after Katrina, which devasted his archdiocese; but he has managed to alienate parishioners by inept handling of parish closings, not least by having parishioners arrested for occupying their to-be-shuttered churches. Earlier this year, hundreds signed petitions to the Vatican asking that he be replaced.
Otherwise, Hughes has bestirred himself publicly on the pro-life front, declining to attend commencement exercises at Loyola honoring the city’s prominent Landrieu family because a couple of members are pro-choice, warning of the dangers of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), and, most recently, chastising Notre Dame for its commencement invitation to President Obama. But not a peep about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s announcements that he would refuse to let Louisiana accept federal stimulus funds to help the poor, the sick, and the unemployed. Pope Leo XIII, he of the social encyclicals, is likely turning over in his grave. WWJD? I won’t presume to say.