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As the cardinal exits

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Compelling column in the Los Angeles Times by Tim Rutten -- who conducted an "exit interview" with Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Here, Mahony covers a range of topics that thread through his 25 years as archbishop of Los Angeles. (He retired last week when he turned 75 years old.) It's interesting to read a tour of issues and societal changes by a man who left a large imprint on Southern California.

This is Mahony on why he would not refuse to give Communion to elected officials who stray from church teachings: "You know, throughout the Gospels, Jesus never appeals to punitive measures to change anyone's life," Mahony says.

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He then asks: if you're going to punish an official for, say, a pro-choice vote, where does it stop? "Does that mean the chief of staff who didn't stop him or her from voting that way also can't go to Communion? Does that mean that the secretary who handles their paperwork also can't go? I mean, where does it end?"

Mahony adds an analysis that displays his understanding of real as it is lived, of the society in which the church exists, and how best to achieve what matters in this very real world: "Americans -- Catholic or non-Catholic -- always side with the individual faced with punishment by the institution. Anything punitive always rebounds against the institution doing the punishing rather than the person receiving it."

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August 28-September 10, 2015

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