Each side accused the other of using the children as political pawns. Davis staffers said the priest knew of and approved the scheduled event. Kavanagh said his staff had been misled. The event was moved to the state Capitol. Details about who-knew-what-when are in dispute, but the priest made his point.
It was classic Kavanagh.
"I wasn't surprised when I heard about it. If he thinks someone is wrong, he'll tell them. He doesn't care who it is," says the Rev. Richard Doheny, pastor of St. Mel's parish in Fair Oaks and Kavanagh's closest friend. The two grew up together in Urlingford, Ireland, and have known each other all their lives. Doheny adds: "He's always been like that."
Taking on the governor did not bother Kavanagh.
"Was I intimidated because he is the governor? What kind of question is that? Of course not," says Kavanagh, sitting in the school library last Sunday after Mass. "I have nothing against the governor personally, and I'm not going to pass judgment. But I think the man has to re-examine his conscience."
This does not go over well with the governor's staff.
"It's unfortunate the monsignor continues his political attacks on the governor," says Russ Lopez, a spokesman for Davis. Lopez says the governor is a practicing Catholic who regularly attends Mass. "With all due respect, I think the monsignor needs to get a reality check."