PHOENIX - The cardinal of Los Angeles needs to make sure his own house is in order before he starts trying to shame Arizona's efforts to enact tough new anti-immigrant laws, the architect of the plan said Wednesday.
"He's not a guy to be calling names," said Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa. Pearce said Roger Mahony has plenty to answer for in his own backyard, including what he called the cardinal's role in protecting child molesters.
Mahony started a war of words by posting a blog on his site criticizing of the legislation, which directs police officers, when practicable, to check whether those with whom they come into official contact are in this country legally.
The measure, which has been approved by the Legislature and awaits action by Gov. Jan Brewer, specifically precludes race or ethnicity as being the sole factor for deciding when to question someone. But it does permit either to be used as a factor.
Another section makes it a state crime to not have proper documents to be in this country.
Mahony, in his blog, called the measure "dreadful."
"I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation," the cardinal wrote.
But Mahony, Pearce said, is "part of a group that have buried and hidden information on predators, moved them around, while kids' lives are destroyed. He has no room to call names."
The senator said his comments are not anti-Catholic; they're just "factual."
"I've seen it in the paper; I've seen the history," he continued. "I just think it's rude for him to call names when he lives in a glass house."
Mahony has been named as a defendant in several lawsuits accusing him of failing to remove priests who he knew or should have known were pedophiles.