Tuesday, March 30, 2010


On Monday night of Holy Week, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was overflowing with priests, deacons, women and men religious, seminarians, and all of God's people for our annual Chrism Mass. For me, the Chrism Mass is one of the most meaningful Liturgies of the entire year because the full unity of the Body of Christ is so evident among all who are present.

During the Chrism Mass, the Holy Oils used in administering the Sacraments during the course of the year are blessed: the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and the Sacred Chrism.

Almost 500 priests and 60 permanent deacons concelebrate this Mass with the Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishops showing vividly the gift of Holy Orders to the Church and to our Archdiocese.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, also honored 14 of our priests with special Papal Honors. These were announced at the end of the Chrism Mass.

Three Monsignors who had been Chaplains of His Holiness for many years were elevated to Prelates of Honor to His Holiness: Monsignors Helmut A. Hefner, Timothy J. Dyer, and Michael W. Meyers.

Eleven priests were elevated to Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor: Monsignors James R. Forsen, Richard M. Martini, Sabato A. Pilato, Lorenzo Miranda, Richard G. Krekelberg, Antonio Cacciapuoti, Thomas M. Acton, Jon F. Majarucon, Gerald McSorley, Robert J. McNamara, and Nestor Rebong.

A large number of laity across the Archdiocese will be honored in the near future with either the Benemerenti Medal or the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal in recognition of their outstanding discipleship with Jesus Christ and their service of the Church here in our Archdiocese.

Having the newly blessed Holy Oils taken to all 288 parishes this week helps strengthen those bonds of unity in diversity which so signify our Local Church of Los Angeles.

May your sharing in the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday lead you to the fullness of God's graces on Easter Sunday!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


While I have no personal information on some of the specific allegations against our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, when he served the Church of Munich in Germany, I am able to assert without hesitation the action steps which he undertook in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when he served as Prefect of that Congregation.

Beginning in that dark year of 2002, the then Cardinal Ratzinger responded quickly and affirmatively to all of our requests for assistance here in the United States.

Recall that Canon 1324, par. 4, states that in Canon Law a minor is a person under the age of 16 years. However, in the civil laws of the United States, a minor is deemed to be a person under the age of 18 years. After we brought this gap to the attention of Cardinal Ratzinger, the canonical age was also raised to 18 years to accommodate civil law in our country and in other countries.

With respect to the processes of dealing with cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests in our Archdiocese, Cardinal Ratzinger and his Congregation responded swiftly and gave us advice on how to proceed with each of these cases. We never had delays or a lack of proper response.

Whenever I proposed that a certain priest be returned to the lay state and no longer serve as a priest, the Congregation responded quickly and in accord with my recommendations. Whether the priest petitioned himself for a return to the lay state, or whether I insisted upon his return to the lay state, Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation responded in favor of the Church, not of the priest individually.

Without the proactive and helpful assistance of Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation over these years, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles would never have been able to move forward aggressively to remove priests from ministry who were proved to be guilty of the sexual abuse of minors.

The Congregation continues forward with the same vision and policies of then Cardinal Ratzinger, and I am grateful to the present Prefect and staff of the Congregation for their proactive efforts to assist us in our local Dioceses and Archdioceses to remove from active ministry any priest or religious found guilty of the sexual abuse of minors.

We have had a large number of former priests and religious returned to the lay state under the auspices of Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Without those insights by the Congregation, many guilty priests would still be considered priests in our Church. That is no longer the case.

All of the procedures and processes which Cardinal Ratzinger implemented over the years have helped me and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles resolve many unfortunate cases in a manner to make certain that the Church is a safe place for all peoples, especially children and young people.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


On Sunday March 21, some 200,000 people gathered in Washington DC for a Rally in favor of immigration reform legislation.

This Rally was historic because it occurred during the final hours of debate about health care reform. Yet, these thousands of people came to the Capitol Mall to show their support for all of our immigrant brothers and sisters who are seeking a legal path to legal residency here in our country.

It was impressive to see people from almost all the States of the Union here to urge President Obama and the Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Health care reform passed on Sunday night, and brought millions of people out of the shadows of living without health care coverage. We have reached out to them precisely to include them fully into American life and protections.

Now we need to do the same thing with our millions of immigrants who are living in the shadows of our society but without protections and guarantees--because they do not yet possess legal status. We need to devote ourselves to bring about a comprehensive bill which will bring them into full participation in the life of our country.

I am encouraged by the words and promises of President Obama and the Senate leadership:

January 27, 2010

In his State of the Union speech to Congress January 27, President Obama reaffirmed his Administration’s commitment to immigration reform, calling on Congress to “continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system to secure our borders, enforce our laws and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.” In comments made subsequent to the President’s speech, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) restated his commitment to moving immigration reform this year: “It is something we are committed to do. And we will do it as soon as we can.” Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) offered that he was making “good progress” in negotiating a bipartisan bill with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

For further information and ways you can participate, please visit the website for Justice for Immigrants: www.justiceforimmigrants.org

I am hopeful that all of us who are Catholics can move together towards an immigration reform that will bring respect, hope, and a new future for the millions who work so hard to make our country so great.

God's blessings be upon all of us!

Photos: CNS/Nancy Wiechec

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today as part of our annual Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA we had 15,000 young Catholics gather for a day of reflection, prayer, workshops, and sharing.

There is nothing as encouraging for our Church than to see such dynamic faith being expressed in the lives of these terrific young men and women. Most came as members of parish youth groups, and many wore distinctive t-shirts with all kinds of Christian messages emblazoned on them.

At the Mass in the Arena, two young people gave personal testimony about how God has guided them through difficult family situations at home. Both Samantha and Daniel spoke about the difficulties they had growing up with various tensions and rifts within their families. But they also shared the great power of God's love and grace working through those problems, and how their faith in God's love and mercy helped them through the years. Really inspiring!!

Our seminarians from St. John's Seminary put on workshops about vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the seminarians shared their own journeys and stories--how God led them to seek a life of service as a priest. At the end of our Mass I asked those young men present who felt that maybe Jesus was calling them to consider serving as a priest to stand--and there was an overwhelming number who stood. And to the great roar of applause by thousands of their peers. We concluded Mass with everyone praying the prayer for priestly vocations.

All Catholics should be both encouraged and hopeful about our Catholic young people and their awesome role in our Church now, and as great leaders in the coming years. With them, Jesus Christ is front and center in their lives and they aren't afraid to shout that "good news" out loud for all to hear!