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Roger Michael Mahony (born February 27, 1936) is an Americanmarker cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the fourth and current Archbishop of Los Angeles and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1991.

Early life

Roger Michael Mahony was born in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. The son of Victor and Loretta (née Baron) Mahony. His father was a poultry processor. He has a twin brother, Louis, and an older brother, Neil. As a child he attended St. Charles Grammar School, North Hollywood and, at age 14, he entered the minor seminary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles|Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

After studying at the Our Lady Queen the of Angels Seminary and St. John's Seminary, Mahony was ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 1962, by the Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, Aloysius Joseph Willinger, CSsR. He graduated from The Catholic University of Americamarker in 1964 with a master's degree in social work. For the next 13 years, he held pastoral and curial assignments in the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno and the newly formed Diocese of Fresno. He was named a monsignor in February 1967. He also taught social work at Fresno State Universitymarker during this period.

Church career

On January 7, 1975, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Fresno and titular bishop of Tamascani. Mahony received his episcopal consecration on the following March 19 from the Bishop of Fresno, Hugh Donohue, with Bishops William Johnson and John Cummins serving as co-consecrators. That year, the Governor, Jerry Brown, appointed Mahony the first chair of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, where he worked with the United Farm Workers and various growers in the state to resolve agricultural labor disputes.

On February 15, 1980, Mahony was appointed Bishop of Stockton by the nuncio, Jean Jadot. Mahony terminated two extern priests for sexual abuse during his tenure at Stockton.

On July 16, 1985, Mahony was promoted to Archbishop of Los Angeles, the first native Angeleno to hold the office. Mahony was created Cardinal Priest of Santi Quattro Coronatimarker by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of June 28, 1991.

After the former Cathedral of Saint Vibiana was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Mahony began plans to construct the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angelsmarker, one of the largest Catholic churches in the United Statesmarker. It was dedicated on September 2, 2002.

Mahony was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. Mahony will be eligible to participate in any future conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on February 27, 2016.

Civic involvement

Mahony serves on a number of committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including those on Liturgy Pro-life|Pro-Life Activities, and Migration & Refugees.

He was a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (1984-1989) and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants (1986-1991), Pontifical Council for Social Communications (1989-present), and Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (2000-present).

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America.


A few Catholics were upset about the money that was spent on the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angelsmarker. Mahony defended the expense of the new cathedral to replace the previous earthquake-damaged church citing the need for a community to have a religious center that unites people in faith and spirituality. Today, the new Cathedral averages one million visitors each year. The Cathedral is a "House of Prayer for All Peoples," Isaiah 56:7.

To prepare for the new Millennium, Mahony wrote a Pastoral Letter on the Mass entitled "Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass". The Letter called all parishes to plan and celebrate each Sunday Mass in order to deepen the faith-life of all Catholics through the Eucharist.

Mahony spoke out on provisions in immigration bills, such as the Sensenbrenner-King Bill, debated by Congress in late 2005 and 2006. He wrote to President Bush that certain proposed measures would effectively outlaw the provision of charitable assistance and religious ministry to individuals not in valid immigration status. On Ash Wednesday, 2006, Cardinal Mahony announced that he would order the clergy and laity of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to ignore H.R. 4437 if it were to become law. He personally lobbied senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to have the Senate consider a comprehensive immigration reform bill, rather than the enforcement-only bill that passed the House of Representatives. Mahony also blamed the Congress for the illegal immigration crisis due to their failure to act on the issue in the previous 20 years, opposed H.R. 4437 as punitive and open to abusive interpretation, and supported S. 2611.

In July 2007, Mahony claims to have been knocked down by an unknown assailant who recognized him while he was mailing a letter near the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels; he did not report the minor incident to police and it only came to public attention after it was mentioned at an October gathering of priests.

Sexual abuse cases

On July 16, 2007, Mahony and the Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles apologized for abuses by priests after 508 victims reached a record-breaking settlement worth $660m (£324m), with an average of $1.3m for each plaintiff. Mahony described the abuse as a "terrible sin and crime", after a series of trials into sex abuse claims since the 1940s were to begin. The agreement settled all outstanding civil lawsuits against the Archdiocese. The $660m-deal dwarfs the $157m settlement paid by the Archdiocese of Boston since Massachusetts law places a legal dollar cap on how much money a non-profit group can be required to pay.

Beginning in 1987, the Archdiocese published its first set of written policies and procedures to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy. The first lay Board was established in 1994--called the Sexual Abuse Advisory Board. Increasing steps were taken to improve application procedures for all seminarians, and to promote the protection of children and youth. In 2002 a stronger plan was implemented, and a new Board created: the Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board. Finger printing for all Archdiocesan employees and people in minstry were required; background checks on volunteers were implemented; all clergy are required to undergo the Virtus training program, and to keep current with that program; programs such as "Good Touch, Bad Touch" were instituted across the Archdiocese. Every possible step is being taken to make all programs and apostolates of the Church as safe as possible for children and youth.

The 2006 documentary Deliver Us From Evil (an Academy Award nominee for Best Feature Documentary) chronicles accusations that Mahony knew his priest Oliver O'Grady had a 20 year history of raping and molesting children (including one infant) but failed to keep him away from children. In 1984, a Stocktonmarker police investigation into sexual abuse allegations against O'Grady was reportedly closed after diocesan officials promised to remove the priest from any contact with children. Instead, Mahony reassigned O'Grady to a parish approximatly east, in San Andreas, where O'Grady continued to molest and rape children. Not long after, Mahony was promoted to archbishop of Los Angeles. During one line of questioning, Mahony was asked why he claimed not to remember multiple allegations of rape by one of his own subordinates (O'Grady) when he was the Bishop of Stockton. Mahony was advised by his attorney not to answer the question.

Episcopal succession


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