Just when you think that a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church has done the right thing by stating unequivocally that he will release the names of priests and bishops involved in abuse cases, the bishop cowers. This latest case involves the Rev. Michael Barber, S.J., Bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, California.
Barber announced on October 8, 2018, that the diocese would publish the list of names within 45 days, or to be specific, on November 22, 2018. November 22 came and went, and the names were not released. On Friday, November 23, the last weekend of the Catholic liturgical calendar, CBS News reported the Diocese of Oakland issued a statement delaying the release of names until after the first of the year. Why? Who got to Barber and told him to delay?
My guess, the Catholic Mafia. Think about it…you have the Godfather, the Boss of all Bosses; then you have the Underboss or Lieutenant; then there is the consigliere, who is not officially part of the hierarchy of the Mafia, but who is very powerful in the organization. Then you have the Capo, the Captain of the crew. Let us not forget the attorneys who defend these scumbags.
With an understanding of the hierarchy of the Mafia, here are some names to consider: Pope Benedict XVI is the Godfather who according to a December 2018 issue of the Vanity Fair, lives in a monastery he remodeled, paid for by the Vatican, after he displaced a group of cloistered nuns who were living there. The Underboss or Lieutenant is Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, current Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Although DiNardo has been one of the most vocal critics of the church’s handling of its sex abuse scandal, he is now accused of protecting two priests: Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez and Rev. John Keller. La Rosa-Lopez, a priest whom DiNardo promoted, was arrested for allegedly molesting two children in the summer of 2018; Rev. John Keller, whom DiNardo allowed continuing to preside over one of the largest Catholic churches in Houston is accused of molesting John LaBonte when he was 16 years old. CBS News reported that in 2002 LaBonte spoke out about being molested by Keller who acknowledge in a letter from the archdiocese he held “[LaBonte] in a manner inappropriate for a priest,” but “[denied] any sexual intent.” Ultimately, Catholic Church officials “could not conclude that what happened constituted sexual abuse.” Keller remains the pastor at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Houston, Texas.
The Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, currently the Archbishop of San Francisco, and wannabe Cardinal is the Capo, the Captain. Hand-picked by Benedict XVI to shepherd the flock of Catholics in San Francisco, Cordileone was the architect of Proposition 8, a law passed in 2008 defining the term “marriage” is solely between a man and a woman. In 2010, however, the law was ruled unconstitutional. In 2014, Cordileone, Chair of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, was the featured speaker at the June 2014 March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. Critics of Cordileone accused the gathering as anti-same-sex marriage and defamatory of the LGBT community.
There is Cardinal William Levada, former Archbishop of Portland and San Francisco, and Prefect emeritus for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. Levada is the consigliere of the group because he is retired and no longer involved in the day to day operation of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Prior to being the Archbishop of San Francisco, Levada was Archbishop of Portland from 1986 to 1995. In 1992, Levada removed the Rev. Joseph Baccellieri after learning about complaints stemming from cases involving teenage boys in the 1970s. Two years later, Levada allowed Baccellieri to return to his ministry on a limited basis under close supervision. The problem for Levada is that he never told the parishioners he brought back Baccellieri. Ultimately, the Portland archdiocese settled its sex-abuse lawsuits for more than $50 million in 2007, which resulted in the Diocese becoming the first Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to declare bankruptcy.
The attorney for the Archdiocese of San Francisco is Larry Jannuzzi who is employed by the Archdiocese and by the Weintraub Tobin law firm. Jannuzzi’s character is one similar to Al Capone’s accountant portrayed in the movie Untouchables, someone with little integrity, who thinks he has a lot of power, yet runs scared behind the scarlet colored robe and yes, socks, of Archbishop Cordileone.
Extortion money is the last item associating the mafia with the Catholic Church. This is well worth mentioning because the Bishop’s Annual Appeal requires each parish to donate a specified amount based on the number of parishioners. This is extorted money because if a parish church does not reach its revenue goal, (arch)diocesan officials will mandate that money collected during Mass will be deposited in the Annual Appeal fund. It is despicable to think that parishes and schools in poor neighborhoods run the risk of losing their programs such as providing confirmation classes.
Catholics have a choice and their question is whether they want to take on the Catholic mafia? Do Catholics in San Francisco have the resources to stand up to the Catholic mafia? Perhaps Catholics in the city named after Saint Francis will take their lead from Pope Francis who on September 18, 2018, told the mafia in their own backyard in Palermo “You cannot believe in God and be mafosi.”
DiNardo, Levada, Cordileone, if you are listening, “You cannot believe in God and be mafosi.”