WHO WAS CARDINAL McCARRICK?
(First posted August 2018)
Cardinal McCarrick is the first cardinal in history to be removed from the priesthood because of allegations of sexual abuse. The open secret that he assaulted, or coerced seminarians and young priests during his time as a bishop and the allegations that he had sexually abused a teenage altar boy while serving as a priest in New York many years ago were found substantiated. Following the latest scandal Pope Francis accepted his resignation, McCerrick renounced his position in the College of Cardinals but remained a priest pending the outcome of a Vatican trial.
Six priests, former seminarians of the diocese of Newark have recently come forward with allegations of a culture of depravity and abuse by senior catholic clergy in the diocese of Newark.
‘HIDE THE HANDSOME ONES’
McCarrick’s reputation was apparently so well known that there was a standing joke that when he would a visit the seminary they had to “hide the handsome ones” before he arrived. A priest who worked with the archbishop for a number of years said: “There were the ‘nephews,’ for sure,” he said. “He had a type: tall, slim, intelligent – but no smokers.” Cardinal McCarrick would invite young men to stay the night in the cathedral rectory in central Newark where they allegedly shared his bed. One priest ordained in the early years of McCarrick’s term in Newark said that “a lot of people lost their innocence in the seminary.” Another priest told CNA that, as a senior seminarian and transitional deacon, young seminarians would come to him in tears. “They were just so scandalized by what they saw, these upperclassmen flagrantly carrying on with each other in gay relationships.”
John Monaco, one of two former seminarians at St. John’s making allegations this week, attended the seminary from 2014 to 2016, is currently a graduate student in theology at Boston College. An article posted online by the ex-seminarian led to an inquiry into allegations of “sexual deviancy and improper conduct” at the seminary. Fr. Desmond Rossi was a seminarian in Newark in the late 1980s. He has publicly alleged that, in 1988, two transitional deacons sexually abused him. Rossi, states that he told archdiocesan authorities about the assault and went before a review board. He said that his story was “found credible, but nothing happened.” Instead, he claims, the archdiocese turned against him for bringing the allegation forward. “They tried to turn it on me,” In 2004, the Archdiocese of Newark agreed to an out-of-court settlement of approximately $35,000 with Rossi, in response to his accusations. One of the alleged abusers (identified by other priests as Father James Weiner) was left in active ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark until recently removed from his post due to the reopened enquiries.
‘YOU NEED TO TRY SOMETHING MORE GIRLY TONIGHT’
Fr. Weiner was known for his homosexual parties. One priest recalled that he attended a cocktail party, thinking he had been invited to a simple priests’ dinner. “I was led into the room to a chorus of wolf-whistles,” he said. “It was clear right away I was ‘on display. ” Another priest told CNA that he was also invited to a party hosted by the priest. “They were all carrying big mixed drinks, pink ones, it was like something out of Sex in the City.” He recalled that after asking for a beer, he was told by his host, “you need to try something more girly tonight.” I was fresh meat and they were trying me out.” “Everyone was getting loaded and getting closer on the couches, I wanted out of there,” “Everyone kept calling me a ‘looker’ and saying they had to ‘keep me around’ from now on.” All three said they left quickly upon realizing what was going on.
One priest who studied during that period recalled being told, as a newly arrived seminarian, to lock his bedroom door at night to avoid “visitors….. I thought they were kidding – they really weren’t,” he said. One Newark priest said that he had direct knowledge that in 2014 Fr. Mark O’Malley was removed as rector of St. Andrew’s Hall, the archdiocesan college seminary, after an allegation that he hid a camera in the bedroom of a young priest at the seminary. Several Newark priests told CNA that the same atmosphere existed under Archbishop John Myers, who led the archdiocese from 2001-2016. A priest commented “When I was sent for graduate studies I heard the jokes from guys from other dioceses – ‘what the world disdains, Newark ordains’ One said that priests living unfaithful lives are a scandal playing out “with the mute button on.”
Cardinal Wuerl (left) who succeeded McCarrick (right) as Archbishop of Washington in 2006 was named more than 200 times in the Pensilvania Grand Jury Report, criticized for his failure to act in dealing with allegations of abuse made against Cardinal Mc Carrick. Weurl denies any knowledge of settlements related to sexual abuse or of any complaints about sexually abusive behaviour on the part of cardinal McCarrick.