Cardinal Roger Mahony, who was once well respected in the local Latino community, has been relieved of all public duties in the L.A. Archdiocese over his mishandling of clergy sex abuse of children decades ago.
A loss of faith in priests and the Catholic church. That's how some Hispanic Catholics feel after the fall of Cardinal Mahony.
Documents revealed last week show Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry plotted to keep law enforcement from learning that children had been molested at the hands of priests. Mahony was not only known for reaching out to Hispanics, but was heavily involved in fighting for farmworkers' rights, fighting alongside UFW Co-founder Cesar Chavez.
Once placed on a pedestal, some locals say they now regard priests differently.
"As Catholics, we think of a priest as holy man that are close to God. But, knowing he failed to do the right thing, I don't feel that way anymore," said farmworker Yolanda Cruz in Spanish.
Mahony resides at a North Hollywood parish and remains a "priest in good standing." He continues to celebrate mass and will be eligible to vote for a pope until he turns 80.
Friday afternoon, Mahony posted a letter on his blog, addressed to the man who replaced him, Archbishop Jose Gomez.
It reads in part: "Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors. I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s. I apologized for those mistakes and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone."
The United Farmworkers of America would not comment on the Cardinal's situation.