Four priests, four friends: Bishops witness historic changes in Catholic life

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Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who recently retired as archbishop of Los Angeles, gives Communion during Mass in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 3. RNS photo by Paul Haring/Catholic News Service.

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(RNS) Released from the Catholic cocoon of seminary in 1962, the four young priests faced a church on the brink of volcanic reform with the opening of the Second Vatican Council. After being schooled in a Vatican I church, the foursome would step down as powerful American prelates, five decades later, as quintessential Vatican II men. By Peggy Fletcher Stack.

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  • Fr. J

    So superficial when things are described as “Vatican I” or “Vatican II”. Not to mention the tired old sentences in this article about the Mass changes in the language and the direction of the priest. 50 years after the start of the council and everything isin decline. Can’t we stop kidding ourselves and try a different way of looking at things and move forward, out of the 1960s and 70s?

  • Amy

    There are so many mistakes in this article, it is pathetic.
    “No more Latin Mass” no true. First of all, the extraordinary form of the Mass is NOT the Latin Mass. ALL Masses in the Latin rite are Latin Masses. And VC2 never called for an end to the use of the language of the Church,

    “Priests now faced the people, not the altar.” Wrong once again. The 2VC NEVER called for this.

    The mistakes continue, including the mistake to allow the continued use of the seminary that produced such heterodox men.

  • Ditto Amy, these men are part of the problem in the great Catholic Church, not the solution. The new Archbishop of L.A. has his work cut out for him cleaning up the mess made by “Cardinal” Mahoney.

  • irreducibleamphiboly

    Not really the focus of the article, but we were told when visiting Rome (the city, not a synecdochicthe reference to the Vatican complex) that wearing shorts was considered low-class and rude (as was ordering tap water at restaurants).

  • Texas

    Gomez “clean up LA” ? All he cares about is illegal immigrants.

  • mary

    Peggy Fletcher Stack has obviously not followed the history of sex abuse in the Church in America. St. John’s Camarillo, and that era, was an incubator, and all the the clerics metioned are connected by failures of one sort or another.

  • Old Roman Collar

    Well, Thank God Roger Mahoney is out, a true devil of Vatican two, and Thank God that that group of priests, Bishop and hasbenns are dying out soon, This Pope is Trying to clean up the church, where the last Pope tried to clean up the world and forgot about the churchmen, no wonder with Priests like Mahoney, and Rigaili (class mates) are gone for good, Please keep out of the church.

  • James Donner

    Four pillars of the downfall of the church….what a pathetic article! Let’s look at the state of the church in their respective diocese before and after their respective reigns of error,,,,

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  • angela

    The 4 of them combined had almost as much horrific influence as C. Bernardin.

    From the article: “But St. John’s, the only seminary operated by the archdiocese, also has produced a disproportionate number of alleged sexual abusers as it prepared men for a life of ministry and celibacy, records show.

    About 10% of St. John’s graduates reported to have been ordained in the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1950 — 65 of roughly 625 — have been accused of molesting minors, according to a review of ordination announcements, lawsuits, published reports and the archdiocese’s 2004 list of alleged abusers. In two classes — 1966 and 1972 — a third of the graduates were later accused of molestation.”

  • angela

    AB Niederauer: Gives the Blessed Body and Blood of Our Lord to transvestite “nuns” Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on the day of the Castro (homosexual) Street Fair. This is the clip of them receiving communion.

    Bishop Tod Brown refuses communion to a woman because she was kneeling. (absolutely contrary to canon law) (Bishop Brown is the priest in the background – kneeling woman – dark hair, black top, white skirt)

    The book – Goodbye Goodmen, by Michael Rose was released in 2002 with interviews of seminarians at St. John’s Seminary who had to leave there because of the “requests” of the professors.

    They were all put in place by C. Mahony – Yes, they are “very good friends”.

  • Kenneth M. Fisher

    bob epperly,

    When is the new Archbishop going to start cleaning up the mess? He sure hasn’t made any great strides to clean up the mess at the Archdiocese of Lost Angeles Religious Education Congress. Have you seen the sorry list of this year’s speakers?

    How many souls have to be lost before Gomez finally starts to take action? Or is he actually part of the problems?

    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
    Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

  • Treasa

    All part of the dark history of the Church – when invisible men spun the Church around and created the havoc and destruction we suffer from today. Thank God for good priests and bishops now within the Church and the growth again of the Mass of All Time and the traditions which never go out of ‘fashion’. This article was painful to read due to its misinterpretations and incorrect reporting. Obviously the author has viewed from the window ledge.

  • Mary Ann

    I think they should be silenced in their retirement and stay home, they are an embarrassment to the Church.

  • Catholic Joe

    I concur. This article is not substantive and provides nothing other than typical Vatican II “change” veneer.

  • And so it is all over the country with our church. It is in a state of extreme crisis. It needs to bite the bullet of Vatican II misinterpretations and their subsequent applications, and spit out those misinterpretations. Meeting hall churches – auditoriums -assembly hall “churches” are the things which ought to be closed, or rebuilt, and made sacred temples for the Sacrifice of the Mass. And the Mass needs to be done in a way befitting what Jesus did for us, and what He continually does for us in each Mass. There should be no room in the priesthood for pedophilia, and I think that the church has made it very clear to all that the evolvement of this is absolutely not acceptable, period, thanks to the great work of Archbishop William Lori and others who have led the fight through the years to put a real end to this tragedy which has stalked our church. The church needs to come to grips with its historical tradition, accord canonical status to the SSPX, and get on with its first purpose: the salvation of souls. This requires saintly priests and bishops. Pope Benedict is on the right path; may God give him great help to set things right. For sure, the SSPX could/would be a great help in the restoration of our church, and I think that as a group they could be savvy about finding more tactical ways of developing Christian unity. They are us, folks, and we should do all we can to have them recognized as such. We need to clean up this mess brought on by Vatican II aftermath of misinterpretations and painfully inept applications of those interpretations.
    We also ought to have sense enough to know that this cannot be done over night, but we need to get started.