Cardinal Roger Mahony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, announced to a conference of priests that he had been attacked by a man angry about the sexual abuse scandal, the Los Angeles Daily News reported yesterday.
According to Father Sal Pilato, a high school principal who attended the October conference, the cardinal said that the attack occurred in July near Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral. He was dropping off letters at a mailbox when a man recognized him, began shouting expletives and knocked the cardinal to the ground.
"It was shocking because it was an act of violence and it was someone we know and respect,” said Father Pilato.
Cardinal Mahony reportedly was telling the priests they all had a price to pay for the sexual abuses perpetrated by other clergy. He relayed the story of the assault as an example of the personal toll he's endured, several priests said.
Carolina Guevara, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, did not confirm the report. "Whatever conversation might have taken place between the priests and their bishop was a private conversation and not meant to be public," she said.
Victims of sexual abuse and their attorneys had accused Cardinal Mahony of moving sexually abusive priests to different parishes and blocking efforts in court to expose them.
The archdiocese has made two legal settlements with victims, one costing $660 million, and another costing $114 million. The combined sum is the largest settlement for sexual abuse paid by any archdiocese in the country.
Barbara Blaine, national president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, commented on the report: "If this happened, we feel sorry for Mahony as we do anyone who's been assaulted in any way," she continued.
Cardinal Mahony apparently did not report the assault to police. Los Angeles Police Department officials said they were
unaware of any such incident.