That said, I wonder more about the people who continue to put money in the basket where these bishops have been covering things up. We're supposed to support the Church, not predatory priests who prey on naive adolescent boys and girls.
Here, I would reference the article called The Teflon Cardinal
According to the article, it's because roughly 70% of the Archdiocese of LA is made up of Hispanic immigrants. Cardinal Mahony has spent his entire career working in favor of legal and illegal immigrants, so the parishioners see him as "one of their own", or even one of their only friends. Because of that, the parishioners are very much willing to look the other way, and according to surveys, the sex abuse scandal hasn't really affected them at all.
Far from resisting it, Mahony has welcomed the growing Latino nature of the church. Certainly no L.A. Latino was surprised when the cardinal participated in the huge pro-immigrant rally last spring (wearing not his usual cardinal's garb but a T-shirt that read "We Are America" in English, Spanish and Korean). He even tacitly encouraged parishes to involve themselves in the planning for the demonstration. As a result, the affection and respect in which Mahony is held in Latino Los Angeles is enormous and is unlikely to be shaken even by the pedophile scandal. To the contrary, "Rogelio" Mahony, as he is known in East L.A., will almost certainly retain the allegiance of the vast majority of his parishioners.
It is this fact that explains the difference in the way the church sex abuse crisis has played out in L.A. and the way it has played out in cities like Boston. As a shrewd lay Catholic friend of mine in Los Angeles pointed out to me recently, in Boston there eventually was organized lay opposition beyond that of victims organizations -- and that was what finally made Cardinal Law's position untenable. In the end, Law also lost the allegiance of many of his own parish priests. Nothing could be further from Mahony's situation.
When I spent six weeks reporting a long story last year on Mahony and the Catholic Church in L.A., not one Latino Catholic I spoke to at parish churches all over the city raised the sex abuse issue. Despite criticism of the cardinal from Anglo parts of town (Catholic and non-Catholic alike), the fact is that, like it or not, the pedophile scandal is simply not a central issue in most L.A. parishes.
Should it be otherwise, given the fact that the scandal is all too real? In considerable measure, this depends on who you are. Undoubtedly, many Latino Catholics are dismayed by the scandal, many of whose victims and perpetrators were Latino themselves. But Latinos in general and immigrants in particular have found a powerful champion in Mahony at a time when the powerful are more given to immigrant-bashing than to compassion or solidarity.
Viewed from this perspective, it should not be surprising if Mahony's congregants overwhelmingly choose to forgive him for what he did and did not do. Mature self-interest dictates nothing less. Whether Mahony failed to deal with the troubled priests, whose depredations he ignored for so long because it was a distraction from these social issues he deemed more important, is of course something only the cardinal could tell us. And with the settlement having relieved him of that obligation, he is unlikely ever to do so.