Cardinal Roger Mahony – now 86 – never seems to display an instinct for laying low or maintaining a discreet profile. And a recent letter from the cardinal might take the cake.

On July 25, Mahony wrote to Los Angeles priests — the archdiocese confirmed for me yesterday the “personal communication from the Cardinal to his brother priests.”

The letter notified priests that Mahony has had a new self-portrait made.

The photograph, in which Mahony is holding a basket of loaves, is “meant to harmonize with the call of Pope Francis for us to be humbler, showing compassion and mercy, and being with our people in servant leadership.”

That’s right, the cardinal wrote to the L.A. presbyterate to notify them of his “humbler” self-portrait.

But…that’s not all.

Mahony wrote that he would “be more than delighted to send signed copy to any Archdiocesan priest who requests one.”

“I already sent a signed an 8 x 10 copy to all the Archdiocesan priests whom I have had the privilege to ordain to the Sacred Priesthood,” Mahony explained, lest any of them feel they’d be forgotten.

Still, for other interested priests, “the 8 x 10 photo will be sent, of course, free of charge.”

The above comes from an Aug. 2 posting on The Pillar.