One of the few positive transformations in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States over the last half-century has been its increasingly Aztlanista tendencies. This trajectory was helped along in the late 1960s and 1970s by no less a priest than Roger Mahony, now cardinal of the Los Angeles Archdiocese but then working in the churches of the Central Valley. He famously sided with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers despite pressure from church leaders and Catholic growers to stay quiet. Mahony has kept to that cause ever since, even if privately calling the Mexis in his flock “illegal aliens.”
Also working in largely rural diocese in those years was the current bishop of the Orange diocese, Tod Brown, in the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno (the same one Mahony worked). Just goes to show that two people in the same environments can take vastly different lessons from working with the meek–in Brownie's case, nothing at all.
The actions of local Unitarian-Universalists I wrote about yesterday got me thinking: why hasn't Brownie taken a more-active stance fighting the many Know Nothings in Orange County? The Orange diocese loves to tell anyone who'll listen that church leaders fought the Klan in Anaheim back in the 1920s, but the Klan then and there hardly expressed the venom now spewed against Mexicans, so many of them Catholics. While Mahony speaks out against SB1070 and marches in amnesty rallies, Brownie has done…nothing.
I'd ask his defenders to pipe up, but even most orthodox Catholics in the county despise the man. Instead of writing editorials in the diocese's own publication, Orange County Catholic, he runs something published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or a column run by an outside-OC priest. Instead of issuing proclamations against hate, Brownie would rather build unnecessary, lavish cathedrals. Instead of leading a discussion tomorrow at Holy Family Cathedral on this very issue, Brownie is…where? Lounging in the Jacuzzi at his million-dollar home–both of them? Heckuva job, Brownie!