Msgr. Benjamin Hawkes

In the post­war boom that cre­ated mod­ern South­ern Cali­for­nia, Ms­gr. Ben­jamin Hawkes was a power­broker. But Hawkes’ revered place in the arch­diocese’s his­tory is be­ing re­con­sidered in light of his re­cently re­leased con­fid­en­tial church per­son­nel file.

Read the story: A church lead­er’s posthum­ous fall from grace

— Harriet Ryan

Ad­dress giv­en by Sir Daniel J. Dono­hue on Jan. 2, 1986, in the Sun­set Room of the Cali­for­nia Club.
Ms­gr. Ben­jamin Hawkes’ repu­ta­tion grew bey­ond the church. “One of the most power­ful men in the city,” Los Angeles magazine pro­nounced. “A le­gend,” The Times said. Robert DeNiro pre­pared to play a monsignor in “True Con­fes­sions” by watch­ing Hawkes say Mass.
An ob­it­u­ary for Ms­gr. Ben­jamin Hawkes pub­lished in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 23, 1985.
The night be­fore Hawkes’ 1985 fu­ner­al, Arch­bish­op Justin Rigali, a Vat­ic­an of­fi­cial who had gone to sem­in­ary in Los Angeles, de­livered a eu­logy prais­ing the monsignor as a gift from God. Hawkes had ment­ored Rigali, who even­tu­ally be­came a car­din­al and ended his ca­reer amid a scan­dal in the Phil­adelphia arch­diocese over the hand­ling of sex ab­use cases.
Ten years after Hawkes’ death, a former al­tar boy at St. Basil’s sent this let­ter to the arch­diocese of­fi­cial who handled sex ab­use cases.
In a let­ter the day be­fore Hawkes’ death, Ma­hony told him he was be­com­ing “more per­son­ally in­volved in all ma­jor trans­ac­tions of the Arch­diocese” and would as­sume many of the powers the monsignor had held.
The last will and test­a­ment of Ms­gr. Ben­jamin Hawkes.
Hawkes fre­quently gave speeches about his ap­proach to hand­ling the church’s money, in­clud­ing this 1981 talk called “The Los Angeles Plan.”
After meet­ing with Arch­bish­op Ro­ger Ma­hony, the second ac­cuser wrote this let­ter to the car­din­al re­quest­ing $1.9 mil­lion in com­pens­a­tion.
Vat­ic­an Sec­ret­ary of State Agostino Cas­aroli passed along Pope John Paul II’s con­dol­ences in this tele­gram. Hawkes and the pope had cel­eb­rated Mass to­geth­er in Rome the week be­fore Hawkes’ death.