Mahony Resources – Pre-2001
By John Dart
The chancery, the brick-and-black-marble headquarters for the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese for 35 years, was a fearsome stronghold of ecclesiastical power in the past.
An erring priest would tremble when summoned to the office of Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, a stately prince of the church who was gracious with the devout and deferential but impatient with dissidents and the derelict in duty. McIntyre was once seen trying to kick a priest in the pants as the cleric, who had received a third ticket for drunk driving, fled the cardinal's chambers.
A gentler approach was brought in 1970 by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Timothy Manning. Yet the day-to-day control over finances, priests and virtually every department of the growing archdiocese remained in the hands of an able but typically gruff administrator from McIntyre's days, Msgr. Benjamin Hawkes, whose decisions were opposed at great risk.
When the shepherd's crosier passed once again in mid-1985 to Archbishop
Roger M. Mahony, the climate at 1530 West 9th Street started to change
Priests have been increasingly supplanted in chancery posts by sisters and lay professionals, and new jobs have been created. Just this week, for instance, Mahony named a laywoman, Kate Lawler, as the first full-time executive director for the Archdiocese's Justice and Peace Commission.
Chancery offices have spread into six other nearby buildings. Records have been computerized (instead of handwritten ledgers in many cases) and separate accounting systems have been consolidated into one, revealing for the first time this year a clear picture of the $285-million-a-year operation.
Today, instead of one man, Hawkes, running the archdiocese for an archbishop, Mahony has seven secretariat directors dividing up responsibilities, five auxiliary bishops heading their own pastoral regions and a chief administrator, Msgr. Stephen Blaire, presiding over this 12-member cabinet in Mahony's absence.
"It's more decentralized now," said Msgr. Jeremiah Murphy, a former superintendent of archdiocesan high schools who is now a secretariat director overseeing chancery operations, among other duties. "A lot of things are done at the local level."
If a pastor of one of the 285 parishes is the subject of a complaint now, "rather than go downtown," Murphy said, he is more likely to talk it over in his pastoral region with one of four priests elected as deans or with an auxiliary bishop at the region's mini-chancery.
The Catholic Church of McIntyre and Hawkes was an authoritarian one reflecting
the period before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).
"There is a lot less (fear) now," said Murphy.
"In the old days, we didn't have personnel boards and placement boards," he said. Priests currently may bid for pastoral openings rather than simply accept the assignments made by one man (then Hawkes) with the approval of the archbishop.
Since September, 1986, Msgr. Blaire has been chancellor and "moderator of the curia" -- a combination that makes him Mahony's right-hand man. Not surprisingly, the courteous and attentive manner of the one-time high school principal matches the demeanor of Mahony.
Mahony, 52, has fulfilled many hopes within the nation's most populous archdiocese by increasing the advisory roles of women, lay people and minorities (at all levels of the church) and by actively expounding church positions on social issues.
At the same time, Mahony has a heavy national and international schedule with the Washington-based U.S. Catholic Conference, especially chairing the bishops' Committee on International Policy.
Chancery officials marvel at Mahony's tight schedule and the stream of distinctive pink-colored memos from his office. "He's very well organized," Blaire said.
"The organizational structure of the archdiocese is such that it enables him to truly function as an archbishop," Blaire said. "When it comes time to give a sense of direction, he is always available."
Financial Officer Jose Debasa said Mahony also delegates authority well. Prior to attending the month-long Synod of Bishops in Rome last year, Mahony sent a memo to all administrators, telling them to tke care of things . . . "I don't want to come back and find a zillion papers on my desk."
The expansion of the chancery complex to accommodate nearly 300 employees will end next April. "Then that's it," Debasa said, indicating that Mahony's organizational array will be set for at least the next two years.
Some grumbling has been heard about the "bureaucratic" thicket at the chancery, officials have acknowledged.
For instance, some matters undergo greater deliberation under the new apparatus.
Msgr. Joseph Pollard, who teaches at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, was personal theologian to Cardinal Manning but now is chairman of the 14-member Archdiocesan Theological Commission.
While expressing overall pleasure in the new archbishop's leadership, Pollard said, "I would make a decision or give my opinion when situations came up before. But if we get inquiries now, I feel honor bound to consult with commission members -- unless it's something like a medical emergency."
The consulting and research methods of the new administration also means more surveys and letters for pastors to answer.
"The main office keeps the men in the trenches busier instead of helping them to manage their local responsibilities," said one veteran priest who did not want his name used.
"And, why, with a hundred more employees, do we get mechanical answers?" he asked, referring to the chancery's telephone answering machines.
Even with organizational charts, it is difficult to determine "who
is doing what," added the priest. "The regions take care of
some matters but the power and money are downtown and the shots are called
That fact has long been recognized: Over the years, the chancery building has been picketed by lay Catholics seeking post-Vatican II reforms, feminists opposing the church's anti-abortion stance, and teachers on strike.
The chancery's more recent benevolent image didn't deter Catholic cemetery workers from voicing labor grievances in front of the building last summer.
And only a week ago Friday, about 50 girls from Our Lady of Loretto High School chanted, "We have pride . . . We won't go . . . We love Loretto," in front of the chancery to protest plans to close the high school and consolidate it with Bishop Conaty Memorial High School. Dwindling enrollments at the two schools and the costs of making them both conform to earthquake safety standards were given as the main reasons for the decision.
Five years ago, the archdiocese was forced to back off plans to close another inner-city school, Cathedral High. But the recent consolidation decision reflected months of negotiations with representatives of both schools and a reversal of plans announced last January to close Bishop Conaty, according to Msgr. Aidan Carroll, superintendent of schools in the archdiocese's Education Department.
Sister Cecilia Louise Moore directed "thorough" studies of projected enrollments, building costs and neighborhood financial support as the secretariat director for educational concerns, Blaire said. Yet, the "nitty-gritty level where things happen" in most cases is at the department level, Blaire said.
The most influential posts now at the chancery, aside from the archbishop,
are held by Blaire, Debasa and Msgr. Thomas Curry, according to officials.
Curry is not only the secretariat director overseeing matters pertaining
to the nearly 1,400 priests and more than 2,500 sisters in the archdiocese
but also will remain the "vicar for clergy" through 1990.
To some extent, the auxiliary bishops are not the forces at the chancery they once were. They have "work stations" at the chancery rather than separate offices and some held secretariat or vicar posts only temporarily before being asked to devote full time to their pastoral regions. One consolation, however, is that many auxiliary bishops in Los Angeles have been tapped by Rome to lead other dioceses.
One who wasn't, Bishop John Ward, 68, a close co-worker with McIntyre, Manning and Hawkes, observed 25 years as an auxiliary this month. Mahony praised Ward in one tribute for having "shifted and adjusted his own pastoral ministry to conform to the pastoral priorities of each successive archbishop."
A subtle influence in archdiocesan affairs has been wielded by Al Antczak, 66, managing editor of the archdiocesan weekly newspaper for a quarter century -- even though The Tidings has tended to reflect the teachings and personality of each archbishop.
That influence has waned somewhat in recent years. From a peak circulation of 125,000 in the 1950s, when all church activities had higher rates of participation, the newspaper presently is bought by about 47,000 -- within an archdiocese estimated to be much larger than the official figure of 2.65 million Catholics.
David Moore, director of the communications department, said that two committees of the national Catholic Press Assn. have studied the newspaper's news content and business side and were about to make recommendations. Moore said he hopes to increase circulation beyond what he believes to be a generally older, conservative readership.
In keeping with Mahony's policy of hiring lay professionals when priestly
expertise is not required, a new archdiocesan press spokesman named this
year was William Rivera, longtime press spokesman for the Los Angeles
Unified School District. Mahony, a frequent news maker, said when he first
came to Los Angeles that strengthening that position would be a high priority.
Los Angeles journalists have complained for years about the difficulty of getting information from the archdiocese. Rivera's predecessor, Father Joseph Battaglia, very visible before and during Pope John Paul II's September, 1987, visit to Los Angeles, is currently on "inactive leave" from the church, according to Curry.
The legacy left by the old chancery is not entirely unappreciated. Debasa said that Hawkes, despite his antiquated methods (including no evidence that he ever put projected annual budgets on paper), left the archdiocese in strong financial condition.
"I never met the man, but I really admire the fact that he was able to run such a major operation by himself," said Debasa, a Cuban-born layman who was the University of Santa Clara's vice president for business and finance for 10 years.
The archdiocese has between $900 million and $1 billion in building and land assets, and is continuing to look for new parish sites, Debasa said.
Officials are seeking to stabilize at about $6.3 million the annual subsidies made to relatively poor inner-city parishes -- a figure that has grown from $4.5 million in 1984.
The archdiocese's financial statement for the fiscal year ending last June, to be published in The Tidings next month, shows that operating expenses of $285 million exceeded income by about $5 million, but other revenues offset that deficit.
Debasa's office is in the process of establishing one computer system to link all the parishes. "One-quarter of the parishes already have computers, but they are different systems," he said.
By getting a single system for all 285 churches, Debasa said, "you can buy a computer for one-tenth of what it would cost each time a pastor contacts a company on his own and tries to get a system."
Rather than imposing chancery control on parishes, Debasa and other officials
see the computerization and standardization throughout the archdiocese
as providing better service and, in some cases, equity for people who
work for the church.
Pastors are receiving a fat, loose-leaf notebook called the Parish Administration Manual, which Debasa said attempts to answer any question that might arise as well as assure "that everyone follows the same policies."
The chancery is "not going to take over all responsibilities; we just want to be of more service to the pastors," Blaire said. As for complaints about bureaucracy, Blaire said, "I think that (pastors) cannot deny that many additional services are being provided."
In 1986, through an unprecedented parish survey of 320,000 Catholics and later convention-style voting at an archdiocesan-wide convocation, priorities were established from a long list of ministries and services that parishes want from the archdiocese. Church officials admit that the day of reckoning may come now that the restructuring and expansion of the administrative hierarchy is virtually complete.
"Certainly people look for results," Blaire said. "The No. 1 priority set by the convocation was youth. As a result, we created in the last few months the whole Office of Youth Ministry, which trains youth ministers. What the long-term effect on youth will be may be hard to measure."
CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES
Press Release from Media Relations Office
Cardinal Roger Mahony announced that he has appointed Father Paul Albee, pastor of Nativity Church, Torrance, his new priest-secretary, succeeding Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik who will become the first pastor of the new Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.
At last September's ground blessing ceremony on the cathedral site at Temple and Grand in downtown Los Angeles, the Cardinal made the announcement that Monsignor Kostelnik would become the pastor. Ordained in 1982, he has been the Cardinal's priest-secretary since August 1, 1989. Before that, he had served as associate pastor of St. John Fisher Church, Palos Verdes, and of St. Andrew Church, Pasadena. Pope John Paul II named him "Chaplain of His Holiness with the Title Monsignor" on January 10, 1992.
Thanking him for his "friendship, dedication and loyal service," Cardinal Mahony said that Monsignor Kostelnik will focus on working with the various committees involved in building the cathedral, establishing a parish staff, and drawing up an instructional program on the meaning of the cathedral in the life of the local Church.
He said that Monsignor Kostelnik will continue to live at the old cathedral rectory and will have an office in the Archdiocesan Catholic Center until the new cathedral facilities are built.
Father Albee was ordained in 1984. He has served as associate pastor at St. Bruno Church, Whittier; St. Pancratius Church, Lakewood; St. Rose of Lima Church, Simi Valley; and St. Jude Church, Westlake Village. From 1987 to 1988, he served on the Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal while in residence at St. Pancratius.
He was financial administrator for St. Francis of Assisi Church, Fillmore, and associate pastor pro-tem at Our Lady of Grace Church, Encino, before being appointed pastor of Nativity Church on July 1, 1997.
Father Albee will assume his new post full-time on February 1, 1999. Besides secretarial functions, the Cardinal's priest-secretary accompanies him to various liturgical services and serves as master of ceremonies.
Cardinal Mahony said, "It is a demanding job, so you need someone who is upbeat, joyful, organized and flexible. Father Albee will be a fine successor to Monsignor Kevin."
Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission
A SPECIAL MASS WAS HELD at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood, Sunday, January 9, by the archdiocese of Los Angeles' office of Pastoral Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics. As his December 10, 1999 letter to members of the ministry discusses, and as he related during the Mass, Father Liuzzi, director for the archdiocesan gay and lesbian ministry, has recently been disturbed by the decision of the California bishops' conference to support Proposition 22, the "Limitation of Marriage Initiative," as well as by the conference's contribution of $300,000 to help fund the initiative. As he explained in his December 10 letter to ministry supporters, in response to his sorrow at the bishops' decision to support and fund the initiative, and as an act of support for the gay and lesbian Catholics of Los Angeles, Father Liuzzi decided to hold the special Mass at Blessed Sacrament under the theme, "Called for the Victory of Justice."
As the ministry's choir gathered near the tall granite columns at the entrance to the sanctuary to prepare for the Mass, a large crowd, almost exclusively male, began to assemble. As the choir sang the entrance hymn, "Gather Us In," the procession entered the church. With Father Liuzzi were approximately eight other priests. The chief celebrant was retired Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, Juan Arzube. Father Liuzzi described how Bishop Arzube called him and personally asked to be the presider at the Mass.
The initial greeting by Father Liuzzi was followed by a few words from Bishop Arzube. Instead of the penitential rite, Father Liuzzi presented a scriptural point on which he wanted the assembly to focus. Father Liuzzi was also the homilist of the Mass. Referring to the Gospel lesson on the baptism of Jesus, Father Liuzzi based his homily on the words, "you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Father Liuzzi explained that, "since the Father was pleased with Jesus and we belong to Jesus, the same words are true for all of us -- in us he is well pleased." Father Liuzzi had all members of the assembly stand and repeat the words, "I am God's beloved child. In me he is well pleased."
In his homily, Liuzzi said that he had wept before the Blessed Sacrament due to the California bishops' support for the Limitation of Marriage Initiative and the plight of the gay and lesbian Catholics of the archdiocese. He asked the assembly, "is there a Francis or Clare among us who will rise up and teach the Church about love and compassion?" He asked the community not to be angry with the bishops, but to be peaceful, to "forgive the sins committed by the Church," and to "offer to each other the kind of support that we had expected from the Church until one day the Church has been changed." Father Liuzzi asked the assembly to join him in fasting on Fridays in order to bring about a change, as he had understood from the scriptures that "there were demons that could only be dispelled by fasting."
Father Liuzzi, in his homily, described a meeting he had two weeks prior
with Cardinal Mahony where he had discussed his dismay at the bishops'
conference's support for Proposition 22. Father Luizzi stated that he
was pleased with Cardinal Mahony's recent response to the bishops' conference's
support, and told him, "Roger, we are making progress."
Bishop Accountability © 2003
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