Archdiocese fights back at Lopez

LA-ClergyCases.com was started in 2005 by by the law firm (Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman) that represents the Archdiocese over sexual abuse allegations against priests and defends Cardinal Mahony against accusations that he made the situation worse by protecting pedophiles. The site tells the Archdiocese side of the legal cases and also criticizes coverage by local media, especially the LAT. Its current favored target is Times columnist Steve Lopez, who recently poked fun at Mahony (again). In this piece, the website kinda suggests that he might die soon and gets awfully condescending in its critique. Is this what they're getting for all that money paid to Sitrick?:

Pity the poor columnist.

The Los Angeles Times' Steve Lopez, for instance. This unfortunate fellow has to churn out two - Two! - columns a week, week after week, month after month. It's amazing the poor guy has time for anything else with a backbreaking schedule like that.

So we understand that sometimes he just has to take a break from the grind and ease his burden by producing a little piece of meaningless fluff, even if that entails rearranging a timeline, omitting a fact or two and puffing up a stupid, meaningless and non-existent controversy so that he can take one more gratuitous swipe at his favorite target.

Take his Feb. 18 column for instance.


Here's the background:

Lopez' most recent Chicago-to-LA bosses, Publisher David Hiller and Editor James O'Shea, were invited to the Cathedral by Cardinal Mahony, the standard sort of invitation community leaders will extend to Times newcomers for a private and serious discussion of downtown issues, like homelessness, poverty and crime. The meeting in question included a visit to the gift shop, where the Times bosses accepted gift baskets of wine, olive oil and other goodies. (This, by the way, surprised Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg, who, unlike his boss, the Cardinal, is well aware that for most newspaper people accepting freebies is a non-no.)

The Cardinal took the two Times bosses on a tour of the Cathedral, including the crypts in the basement.

It was here where, according to the story the Times bosses later told Lopez, the Cardinal pointed to an empty crypt and said that it was being reserved for his erstwhile critic, Steve Lopez.

Now, we don't know if the story is true, since the Cardinal, at least, respected the privacy of his conversations with the Times bosses, but it was all the excuse Lopez needed to embark on a two-month crusade to get his own Cardinal-led, private tour of the Cathedral. The suggestion that he could easily take his own tour made no impression, despite the fact that Tamberg sent Lopez a basket of gifts just like those picked out by the Times bosses, with one addition: a guide book to the Cathedral. (Neither it nor the gifts were returned either. Nor did Lopez ever tell Tamberg that he intended to return the gifts. See emails below.)

All of this must seem awfully silly, but bear in mind how busy Lopez is - TWO columns a week - and how eager he is to take another swipe at the Cardinal. So in his Feb, 18 column he begins by throwing out a bunch of verbiage about the tour and the crypt and then leaps to the attack - if his lengthy columns can ever be said to leap - by arguing that his sole intention with all of this was to encourage the Cardinal to get Catholics off their duffs and be part of the solution to the homeless problem.

Oops.

Lopez may be seeing the inside of that crypt sooner than he had anticipated; at the very least he needs to be on the lookout for stray bolts of lightning. Because the fact is that only two blocks from his office at First and Broadway, Catholic Charities staff and volunteers by the hundreds have been tending to the homeless and others in downtown for 80 years. They provide counseling services, offer job placement programs and distribute food, among other things.

In his defense, Lopez probably didn't have a clue. After all, like most Times employees, he had been stepping on and over the homeless to get to his office for years - until one day he apparently finally stumbled on one that he couldn't ignore.

So now he thinks he's the only person doing anything.

To that we can only say: What utter, unmitigated, arrogant, self-righteous gall! High-and-mighty Steve Lopez lecturing the Cardinal? Where does he get off, talking like that to a man who has done so much on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants, the poor and those deserving of fair wages and decent working conditions.? Has he given the same lecture to the Times bosses? Wouldn't we all like to know how much money Times charities spend on helping the homeless who live right under their noses?


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