Another day, more hypocrisy to report. Specifically, more hypocrisy from Cardinal Roger Mahony. Even more specifically, more hypocrisy from Cardinal Roger Mahony and his involvement with covering up years of child abuse.
We now find out that Religious Roger took money intended to maintain cemeteries and redirected it to settling the horrific cases of child molestation. After all, thought he, $660-million is a lot of CYA money. Of course, he failed to disclose that after cashing in various investments, “the main asset liquidated was cemetery money.”
Not exactly holier than thou. Not exactly doing unto others. Not exactly kosher.
Under his leadership in 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles quietly appropriated $115 million from a cemetery maintenance fund and used it to help pay a landmark settlement with molestation victims.
The church did not inform relatives of the deceased that it had taken the money, which amounted to 88% of the fund. Families of those buried in church-owned cemeteries and interred in its mausoleums have contributed to a dedicated account for the perpetual care of graves, crypts and grounds since the 1890s.
Now for the highly frustrating answer to the question we’re all asking:
The church’s use of fund money appears to be legal. State law prohibits private cemeteries from touching the principal of their perpetual care funds and bars them from using the interest on those funds for anything other than maintenance. Those laws, however, do not apply to cemeteries run by religious organizations.
Maybe someone needs to rethink that exception.
Mary Dispenza, who received a 2006 settlement from the archdiocese over claims of molestation by her parish priest in the 1940s, said her great-uncle and great-aunt are buried in Calvary Cemetery in East L.A.
“I think it’s very deceptive,” she said of the way the appropriation was handled. “And I think in a way they took it from people who had no voice: the dead. They can’t react, they can’t respond.“
Family values my ass.