A few thoughts:
– Let us all pray for the victims, first of course the children, but also the many good priests who now live under a shadow, and for the bishops who tried to do the right thing, and for the bishops who have to clean up the mess. Also, we must pray for the perpetrators, for their conversion and repentance and for God’s mercy on them and us.
– Some wag once mentioned that even Christ only got 11 good bishops out his 12 picks, and even that 11 had some pretty rough moments. We are saddened, but we can hardly be surprised that some bishops turn out not to be good. We should be thrilled, I should think, if the Church got anywhere close to 11 out of 12 good ones, Popes included. These are hard, hard jobs which put one in Satan’s cross-hairs.
– I grew up in LA. There always seemed to be a bit of princely lording from the Cardinal going on, a bit of ‘we know best and don’t answer to you’ attitude about the faithful. A little of something like this can be a good thing in doctrinal matters, if done with humility; as discussed here and here in a completely different context, it didn’t seem to happen. In fact, doctrine and dogma were pretty much dirty words back in the 70’s and 80’s when I was there, while projects that were more properly subjects of debate (like what kind of Cathedral would best serve Angelinos) were not debated.
– So, sadly, it seems that the hubris I thought I was sensing was real, and wasn’t limited to comparatively minor things such as ugly buildings, but also to the law, the truth and, most important, the safety of children. So now, people suffer and the Church is dragged through the mud, faith is damaged, and enemies exalt.
– This throws the relationship between Mother Angelica and Cardinal Mahony into a different light.
– Once spoke with a Catholic leader doing good work of a more theologically conservative strain, who had to work under Mahony’s jurisdiction. I asked him how that worked out. He said one had to be prudent about how one spoke to the Cardinal, but that’s all he’d say. He is very prudent, after all.