Happy 75th Birthday to Cardinal Mahony

Today is Roger Cardinal Mahony’s 75th birthday, and thus the day of his mandatory retirement. We have learned that Pope Benedict has sent along his birthday wishes with a special birthday cake from the papal bakery.


In a liturgy this morning in the Los Angeles Cathedral the torch was handed on to Bishop Jose Gomes, Mahony’s successor and priest of Opus Dei. Let us offer our prayers for Bishop Gomes and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as they open this new chapter.

Here is a video of the closing liturgy of Mahony’s last R. E. Congress. I wonder if there will be a dancing deacon in the entrance procession this year?

28 Replies to “Happy 75th Birthday to Cardinal Mahony”

  1. I wish Cardinal Mahony a long and happy retirement. I think wonderful things are ahead spiritually and liturgically in LA with Archbishop Gomes! Great looking cake, by the way!

  2. I made the mistake of pressing play on the video. As the performance progressed, my 8-year-old daughter came in the room, watched a bit, and asked, "Is this Church?" Before I could respond, she followed up with, "It seems more like Vacation Bible School than Church." Out of the mouths of babes.

  3. Jake T, your daughter has better judgment and taste than many of her elders. Ex ore infantium! Congratulations you're raising her right!

  4. The really sad thing is that most everyone there thought that this was liturgy at its best with happy clappy music, dancing deacons and all. I saw a couple of Eastern Rite bishops in the procession – I wonder how out of place they felt? And, OMG, the commentator – made it all sound so legit.

  5. The mariachi bands and the singing of Happy Birthday led by the new Archbishop were hardly promising omens.

  6. "Conservative Catholics: our own worst enemies"

    I don't see any ad hominem attacks just comments on how the Liturgy was being implemented. Following your logic, conservatives would have no place in the public debate as to what is proper Liturgy.

  7. Anon at 12:51…

    I don't see your point. While one has to demonstrate the appropriate respect for a Cardinal such as Card. Mahoney simply because he is a Cardinal and demands such respect, there is nothing disrespectful about pointing out the dismal condition of liturgy as is demonstrated by the RE Conferences which he so heartily endorsed during his time in LA. They are insulting reminders of a time which is quickly becoming "long gone", passing into memory at the same rate as its advocates age.

  8. I agree with anon 12:51. The sarcasm of the post's title, first paragraph and photo, cross a line.

    Nothing good (ever) comes from bishop bashing.

  9. Just to note that many progressive Catholics have never considered Cdl Mahony progressive; when he came aboard, he was considered a conservative (yes indeed) and his authoritarian approach (not just on the Cathedral but most saliently in matters relating to the Scandal) has only intensified this sense.

    Mother Angelica's attack on him did create something of an enemy of my enemy current in certain circles.

    As for the Religious Ed confabs, understand that many progressive liturgists fight the same battles people here do with the DREs in their parishes, so don't assume those confabs represent a distillation of all things progressive in matters of Catholic liturgics.

    All that said, the gleeful aspect of the post has nothing Christian whatsoever to it. And, it should be remembered, Cdl Mahony asked for a coadjutor and this process; he did not, for once, dig his heels in. At least his departure was gracious, and I must hand him that. Would that others might do so.

  10. i think it is ok to be glad that a liturgically destructive cardinal has now retired and will be less destructive in the future. as much as i agree on the need to respect all our princes of the church we need not do a mea culpa everytime we are glad to see one leave active service.
    i too wish the best bfor cardinal mahoney. may he learn the folly of his ways and continue to serve in a positive way the church that he and i both love.

  11. Liam, surely you jest! Mahony a conservative? Maybe in a liberal alternate planet of reality. Nice to know you are the judge and jury as to what constitutes a Christian. Most folks posting here have wished the old boy well but are quite glad he's gone.

  12. Conservative
    Liberal
    Progressive
    Meaningless hogwash
    Just be Catholics and leave political designations to the secular realm.

    I did not see the post as taking sides. It was quite tame. Happy Birthday, indeed!
    MACW

  13. The Chant Cafe, in the opinion of dozens of clerics who have been following it for the fine chants and excellent tutorials, nonetheless confirms the working experience of many of us: you can talk about liturgists being terrorists, but when it comes to facing off against traditional Church musicians – there ain't NO CONTEST, ladies!

  14. Chironomo:

    Unable to tell the difference between "pointing out" and being bitchy?

    Come, come now!

  15. Considering all the years of crazy stuff coming out of Los Angeles, directly from the Cardinal, I think that the Catholic blogosphere has been remarkably restrained. (Either that, or everybody's on Facebook.) Tongues have been bitten everywhere; or at least there's been so much else going on in the world that nobody has had energy to do the Munchkin Dance.

    Like many of his episcopal generation, I suspect he'll be a much better emeritus bishop than he was in place. Let him go with what dignity he can, then.

  16. It strikes me that in the way they did things in those far-off days to which Chironomo think we're returning, faithful (observant, orthodox, conservative) Catholics WOULD NOT HAVE DARED even HOLD, let alone EXPRESS ANY opinions WHATSOEVER about ANY Priests, let alone BISHOPS!

    So, in going "back" we're not going "all the way back" . . . ?

  17. Anon at 5:24

    What opinion, negative or positive, have I expressed about any Priest, and in particular about Cardinal Mahoney? The point of my comment was just that…there is no reason to attack the Cardinal, but there is every reason to object to the liturgical nonsense that has gone on. Get it? It's about the liturgy and abuses…not about the Cardinal. If you can show me where I said anything negative about the Cardinal and NOT about the liturgy, then I'll stand corrected.

    As for returning to some Utopian era of Orthodoxy and Obedience, you obviously are talki9ng about someone else. I have no such ideas, and no such desire. Perhaps you have mistaken my ardent desire to move past the malaise of the past 45 years that has been brought upon the liturgy by destructive progressivism and implement the reforms of the Vatican Council, for the liturgy in general but specifically as regards music… perhaps you have mistaken that kind of forward movement for wanting to "turn back the clock", a mistake that is understandable since such talking points and throwaway phrases are all that one can come up with when one doesn't have anything useful to say.

  18. Anon @ 5:24

    Please disabuse yourself of the notion that pre-Vat 2 Catholics were 'dumb dogs' who didn't dare question ecclesiastical authority. My great-grandfather, a devout man, called the bishop a liar to his face (this is pre-war Ireland!) although he was polite enough to add "my Lord". Priests who exceeded their authority were told as much by an educated laity who were well-cathechized and knew what they were talking about.

    I'm not going to get involved in US ecclesiastical politics, but having watched the video clips posted above, I would say that any prelate who presides over a sacrilegious neo-pagan ritual like the one shown here deserves public ridicule as well as excommunication.

  19. Perhaps the irony in the title of this post was pushing it. But honestly, that "liturgy" was beyond awful.

  20. Irish here too. Cardinal Mahony allowed if not led systematic destruction of the liturgy, lay (always female) pastoral associates to lead parishes which had priests, to lead communion services when churches with priests are nearby or it's Saturday soc you only have to wait till Sunday for a Mass, who tried to forbid kneeling, who approved an almost impossible to find tabernacle at the cathedral, who broke more church laws than Luther – glass vessels, contempt for not only the TLM but those who attend it, who said his view on abortion was that it was not his "brief", his "brief" was immigration. Guys, come on. Oh and read his own words – Mother Angelica was so right. God bless her for not giving into clerical bullying. And yet – at the end of it all – he posts a blog defending transubstantiation. Perhaps in his twilight years he has come home after all.

  21. 11.46am poster here – OK I went over the line by saying he broke more church laws than Luther (whose belief in the real presence was never in doubt). But I stand by the rest and really do think finally he has accepted the teachings of the Church.

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