Monday, April 23, 2007

Mahony's influence dwindling in LA

~from LA Times

There was a time when Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, leader of the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States, was a formidably influential political figure. A decade ago, he was a member of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's inner circle and the spiritual leader of a growing community with exponentially expanding power.

Today, Mahony remains one of the region's most recognized leaders and a sought-after voice on certain issues. But time, scandal and the shifting demographics of Los Angeles politics have diminished Mahony's might to the point that his recent remonstrations — in which he took to task Fabian Nuñez, the speaker of the California Assembly, for endorsing an assisted suicide bill — have served more to emphasize Mahony's weakness than to deter Nuñez.....

...Instead, the cardinal's dwindling throw-weight reflects several intersecting trends as well as the damage done to the church — and to Mahony personally — by the long, painful scandal over pedophile priests. Those cases have eroded the church's authority generally and have specifically embroiled Mahony in charges that he protected priests rather than taking steps to ensure the safety of children.

Moreover, Mahony's influence oddly may be waning in inverse proportion to the power of some of his flock....

..."The cardinal's influence is not what it once was."

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