The more things change … the more they stay the same.
This morning the Vatican announced the appointments of three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
And one of them is a problem: vicar general and moderator of the Curia of the archdiocese Joseph Brennan.
LA’s vicars general have been a sorry lot.
Former vicar general Msgr. Michael Myers resigned in 2009 after a New York Times article showed that he allowed a self-admitted sex addict and molester to be a priest in the archdiocese.
Another former vicar general, Msgr. Richard Loomis testified in 2009 that “Mahony ordered him not to inform parishes of allegations against the now defrocked Rev. Michael Baker.” So he didn’t.
What did Brennan do as vicar general?
Well, we know that he used LA’s Catholics to lobby lawmakers on behalf of Archbishop Gomez. In a 2013 email, he asked Catholics to write and call their state representatives and tell them to vote no on SB131, the California Child Victims Act. If passed, it would have opened the doors of the civil courts to victims of child sexual abuse.
The bill ended up passing through both houses. It was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, at the behest of the bishops.
It’s no secret why Gomez and Brennan lobbied so hard against the bill. A similar bill in Minnesota unearthed decades of child sex abuse and cover-up. The cover-up was so bad, in fact, that one archdiocese is subject to a criminal probe and St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstadt just resigned in disgrace.
Heaven forbid something like that happen in LA.
But it gets better: one of the three new bishops will be assigned to head the San Gabriel Region. Its former bishop, Gabino Zavala, resigned in 2012 after it was discovered that he had fathered two children.