The censure followed the public release of more than 12,000 pages of confidential files unsealed as part of previous civil suits, revealing how numerous known or suspected pedophiles in the clergy were shielded from law enforcement scrutiny by Mahony and other church officials. However, Mahony retained his title as cardinal and his right to take part in the Vatican conclave that selects a new pontiff to replace retired pope Benedict XVI, an authority he chose to exercise.
The resignation of one of Mahony’s former top advisers, Thomas Curry, from his post as bishop of Santa Barbara was announced by the archdiocese in conjunction with the censure.
The church personnel files released earlier this year revealed that in addition to sending abusive priests to a church-run pedophile treatment center in New Mexico, Mahony and Curry sought to keep priests from later revealing their misconduct to private therapists, who would have been obligated to report molestation to police.
In one such memo about Baker’s return to Los Angeles, Curry wrote to Mahony suggesting Baker avoid any mention of “his past problem” to a therapist after release from the church treatment program, to which Mahony responded with the handwritten note: “Sounds good — please proceed!!”
Baker confessed his molestation of two boys to Mahony in 1986, early in Mahony’s tenure as archbishop. After six months in treatment, he was placed back in the ministry in the Los Angeles area, supposedly in a job precluding any contact with children, Finaldi said.
However, Finaldi said Baker was assigned to a residence attached to a church that also operated a school.