Area Residents Share Memories of Cardinal Mahony

Lodi News-Sentinel [California]
November 20, 2004

Roger Mahony, cardinal of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, was bishop of the Stockton Diocese from 1980 to 1985, when Father Oliver O'Grady was a priest in the Stockton Diocese.

Mahony is being questioned about what he knew about possible sexual abuses that O'Grady committed while O'Grady served in the diocese.

O'Grady was a priest at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Lodi from 1971 and 1978, but served elsewhere in the Stockton Diocese until 1993.

Although Mahony ended his tenure as bishop of the Stockton Diocese nearly 20 years ago, the memories of his time here remain strong with many area Catholics.

Father Michael Kelly, St. Joachim Catholic Church, Lockeford:

"He was very personable; he made sure he knew everybody's name. He was always friendly toward everyone.

"I know that during his time here, he put together a convocation in Manteca of all the people from all of the parishes. He made an attempt to listen to people and listen to what their needs were."

John Manly, Orange County attorney prosecuting one case against the Stockton Diocese:

"I know what he did with Oliver O'Grady and countless priests in Los Angeles. He consistently put them in positions where he was going to abuse children when he had unequivocal information that these priests were molesters. That, in my opinion, is inexcusable. He has demonstrated over 25 years that he is more interested in building cathedrals than protecting children."

Larry Drivon, Morada attorney who has prosecuted numerous clergy abuse cases:

"I don't know him personally.

"We have uncontradicted evidence that Mahony hid pedophile priests, kept their activities secret and moved them to new parishes where they continued to molest children after he knew they were pedophiles.

"I can only assume he has confessed his sins (spiritually)."

Father Michael Walker, St. Michael's Catholic Church, Morada:

"I met him two or three times when I was in seminary. A brilliant man, very eloquent speaker, extremely competent in terms of managing his time. He would get up early about 5:30 in the morning and run around Victory Park in Stockton. He would start his day with prayer. That was the centerpiece of his day. He told us as seminarians that if we were not men of prayer, we would not be good priests. He looks taller than he actually is. I think that gives him a presence among people you don't forget easily. He has a sense of humor, but he's also very focused."

Nancy Sloan, plaintiff in lawsuit against Stockton Diocese and co-director of the Stockton-Sacramento chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest:

"His 'legacy' involves the largest archdiocese with one of the largest pedophilia stories and cover-up histories on record, this, of course, starting in Stockton. There are good things he has helped do in his career, but the failings in Stockton as evident by the Howard civil trial in 1998 is what I will always remember him for. He will always be one of two things (and I know this is harsh) ... either an inept leader ... not having read Oliver Grady's files and psychological reports as he claimed, or equally worse, a liar. If Stockton Police were not lied to by the Stockton Diocese while he was the bishop, O'Grady would have been arrested in 1984. I wish with all my heart that the cardinal would as passionately embrace victims as he does his precious files."

Nick Felten, longtime St. Anne's parishioner:

"I felt he was a very good administrator. He had a sterling reputation here. We were just dumbfounded when these things came out. Everybody is so fast to criticize and find fault with the leaders. They are not always super conscious of all the implications and details. I never thought Mahony did a poor job handling this thing."


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