All Stories, General Fiction

St. Peter Interview with Cardinal Chester Mahoney by Frederick K Foote

“Cardinal Mahoney, this is your official interview for acceptance into Heaven. I will ask you questions, give you time to respond and close this interview by giving you a chance to make any corrections or to add any information. Cardinal, do you understand this process?”

“Oh, no. Of course, not. I, I am waitlisted! It is incomprehensible. I have given my life and soul to the Church and, and I’m waitlisted. I’m subject to this, this humiliation this, debasement. I’m forced into the company of whores, thieves, and common merchants. No! I don’t understand this process at all!”

“Cardinal during your tenure there were over three-hundred allegations of child abuse and molestation in your dioceses.”

“Empty, spurious allegations promoted and spread by a vile leftwing antireligion, antichurch media.”

“Your Eminence, here is your chance to clarify, these issues and clear your name of any hint of scandal. Are you asserting that the allegations against you were false?”

“I state unequivocally that I never harmed or molested a child and those disgusting, abhorrent behaviors are foreign to my nature.”

“There is no accusation that you committed any of these heinous acts, rather that you were aware of many of the accusations and failed to take actions to protect or care for or comfort the alleged victims.”

“Many, many cases were the words of children against the words of outstanding priests with years of service. I weighed these factors, and I acted accordingly.”

“Cardinal Mahoney, are you saying there was such a pervasive lack of evidence in these three-hundred-plus cases that you believed that these alleged molest did not occur?”

“St. Peter, I’m saying that these kinds of allegations have been, unfortunately, raised many times and the Church has inevitably found the accusers to be manifestly unreliable, often faltering in faith and suffering from various mental deficits.”

“Your Eminence, you state, state quite correctly, there has been a history of allegations of child abuse, molestation, rape and other depravities by our priest and lay staff, are you claiming that none of these allegations are true?”

“Dear, Sainted One, I lay before you the history of the Church on these issues and I have yet to find the Church giving credence to allegations on the level or scope of these unsustainable barbs and slings against my dioceses.”

“Dear Cardinal, is it possible that the allegations are, for the most part, accurate and true, and the Church is wrong in not accepting the truth of these matters and addressing them honestly?”

“I humbly submit that I have followed the examples of my peers and predecessors in these matters.”

“And I, with all due respect, ask again, could the Church be in error and the victims be accurate and true in their allegations?”

“St. Peter, I acted with a good heart and a clear conscience and with the support of the Church in these matters. What more can I offer you?

“Cardinal, you do understand that all human judgment is subject to error and that it is the responsibility of a Prince of the Church to use reason, reflection, and divine guidance to ferret out and expose such errors and make amends where appropriate?”

“I understand your point. I do. For me to find the church in error would be an act of hubris I could never aspire too.”

“Of course, your humility and obedience are examples that all humankind should take note of.”

“I, I, have only done what is expected of me.”

“As to the suffering of the victims, even if such suffering is based on false memories, did you address this suffering and if so how did you comfort them?”

“Prayer. I offered prayer and renewed faith and commitment to the Church. I offered religious instruction, direction, and my blessings.”

“And, did you follow up to see the effectiveness of your prescriptions?”

“Oh, I wish I had the time for each member of my flock, but a Cardinal’s work is never done even though I was task driven from dusk to dawn.” The Cardinal pauses to wipe his brow. “I honestly do not see how I could have done more.”

“And, what, if any, actions did you take with the alleged molesters?”

“Listen, St. Peter; I took many actions. I moved priests to new assignments. I had some evaluated by medical professionals. I didn’t feel I had the skills to determine if the accused had the disposition for child abuse and such. I leaned on the advice of the experts and I was later berated for my attempts to approach this matter rationally, scientifically.”

“Did you refer any of the cases to law enforcement?”

“Oh, Heavens no. Why would I do that? First and foremost, I was protecting the good name of the Church. And I was right to do so. Look at the resulting scandal. Nearly some hundred-million dollars paid, and the leeches keep coming sucking the lifeblood from the Church. St. Peter, you most of all, must see that I was protecting the Church.”

“And who was protecting the child victims in your dioceses?”

“Victims? I was a victim. Who was protecting me? Who protected me from the relentless oppression of the popular press? Who protected me from the mob mentality of my congregation? Who is protecting me here, now?”

“Am I correct in saying that you see yourself as the victim in the abuse cases?”

“Oh, don’t look so high and mighty. This pattern of what the press has labeled as ‘abuse’ has existed for decades or even centuries. The Church knows that. In every one of these cases from Ireland to Chile allegations of abuse came from outside the Church. The Church has never acted to clean its own house. No Prince of the Church has ever indicted his subordinates on these allegations.”

“Cardinal, are you now saying the allegations of abuse have merit?”

“Others, outside the Church, have accepted the evidence of abuse, but the Church still questions the adequacy of this evidence in many cases.”

Your Excellency, is it not true that some priests have admitted to decades of abuse and scores of victims?”

“Confessions can be coerced or enticed. I have no personal knowledge of these confessors and the circumstances of their admissions.”

“Dear, Cardinal. Would you have Heaven populated with the unrepentant protectors and promoters of child abusers? How could you condone that?”

“If you keep me out if you reject me, how can any prelate, how can even the Pope be admitted to Heaven? Is that what’s going to happen to His most dedicated servants?”

“Every case is different. Some have seen the error of their ways and begged for forgiveness and now reside with us.”

“The Church would rather hide than stop the abuse, alleged abuse.” Cardinal Mahoney stops to catch his breath and wipe tears from his cheeks. “My sin is following the rules and will and history and guidance of my Church and the Holy See.”

“Your defense is that you relied on error-prone man and his schemes and organizations and not the unfailing God and his Holy word.”

“If, if I’m in error so were all around me from spire peak to basement deep.”

Cardinal, are you telling me that you do not see any sin on your part and, therefore, no need to ask for forgiveness?”

“St. Peter, without the Church the besieged Christian religion would falter, fall, and eventually fail. I place my soul in your hands. However, if we do not protect the Church, we give the world over to the heathens and nonbelievers, and the word of God will perish.”

“Cardinal Mahoney, do you have anything else to add or corrections to make?”

Cardinal Mahoney smooths his vestments, stands tall and speaks, “I feel blindsided and betrayed, but I stand before you willing to accept His judgment. Amen.”


Frederick K Foote

Banner Image: Art work by Patrick Hicks

1 thought on “St. Peter Interview with Cardinal Chester Mahoney by Frederick K Foote”

  1. Hi Fred, there are so many sections in this that emphasise hypocrisy, unwillingness to blame, arrogance and guilt by ignoring.
    I keep going on about the travesty that we have here in Britain regarding historic child abuse within Westminster. There are supposed to be investigations but the silence is deafening and disgusting. We have a tip your hat culture to our ‘betters’ and until all of that is removed, we will continue to be abused and ignored by the very establishment that is abusing.
    Your story just points out that this has been and probably will always be a part of the church.
    Relevant and thought provoking!


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