UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 29, 2009

POPEPOURRI

LA Times - The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles has launched a federal grand jury investigation into Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in connection with his response to the molestation of children by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case. The probe, in which U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien is personally involved, is aimed at determining whether Mahony, and possibly other church leaders, committed fraud by failing to adequately deal with priests accused of sexually abusing children, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

Authorities are applying a legal theory in an apparently novel way. One federal law enforcement source said prosecutors are seeking to use a federal statute that makes it illegal to "scheme . . . to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."

In this case, the victims would be parishioners who relied on Mahony and other church leaders to keep their children safe from predatory priests, the source said.

To gain a conviction on such a charge, prosecutors would have to prove that Mahony used the U.S. mail or some form of electronic communication in committing the alleged fraud, the source said.

NY Times
- Pope Benedict XVI addressed for the first time the uproar over his decision to rehabilitate a Holocaust-denying bishop, expressing solidarity with Jews and strongly condemning Holocaust denial. In his weekly audience with the public on Wednesday, Benedict said he "renewed with love" his "full and indisputable solidarity" with Jews, whom he called "our brothers of the first covenant.". . .

The pope revoked the excommunication of four schismatic bishops from a traditionalist sect, including Bishop Richard Williamson, who in an interview broadcast in Sweden last week and widely available online said he believed that no more than 300,000 Jews perished during World War II, none of them in gas chambers.

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