Become an informed Catholic. Click here to join the fight.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (ChurchMilitant.com) - San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy was told of Abp. Theodore McCarrick's sexual predation as early as July 2016, but remained silent.
Richard Sipe, the renowned expert in clerical sex abuse who passed away Friday, published his private correspondence with McElroy proving that the bishop was made aware of McCarrick's sexual harassment of seminarians.
The 13-page letter, dated July 28, 2016 — which Sipe notes was "hand delivered" on August 30 — began: "It was clear to me during our last meeting in your office, although cordial, that you had no interest in any further personal contact. It was only after that I sent you a letter copied to my contacts in DC and Rome."
Several pages later, Sipe continues:
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been reported by numerous seminarians and priests of sexual advances and activity. A settlement with one priest was effected by Stephen Rubino, Esq.
In that record the operation of McCarrick in sexual activity with three priests is described. Correspondence from "Uncle Ted," as he asked to be called, is included. One of the principals is now a lawyer who left the priesthood, two men remain in the priesthood, but refuse to speak publicly despite the fact that the settlement document is open. One priest was told by the chancery office, "if you speak with the press we will crush you."
Priests or seminarians who speak up about a sexually active superior are threatened with the loss of everything — employment, status, etc. Those who report are greeted with disbelief or even derision if they know but were not personally involved. If they were a partner in the sexual activity and "come out" they become a pariah and labeled a traitor.
I have interviewed twelve seminarians and priests who attest to propositions, harassment, or sex with McCarrick, who has stated, "I do not like to sleep alone."
One priest incardinated in McCarrick's Archdiocese of Newark was taken to bed for sex and was told, "this is how priests do it in the U.S." None so far has found the ability to speak openly at the risk of reputation and retaliation.
The system protects its impenetrability with intimidation, secrecy and threat. Clergy and laity are complicit.
In spite of these detailed allegations about McCarrick's homosexual predation, McElroy said and did nothing, offering no response to Sipe.
This same letter was also sent to the papal nuncio and the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors — headed by Cdl. Sean O'Malley, who admits that his office received another letter from a priest in June 2015 detailing McCarrick's homosexual predation.
In at least two separate instances, then — once from a priest, another from a respected expert on priestly abuse — O'Malley was alerted to McCarrick's sexual misconduct. Like McElroy, O'Malley also chose to remain silent; even more, O'Malley continued to publicly welcome, laud and travel with McCarrick.
Other prelates mentioned in Sipe's letter include Cdl. Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, California; the late Bp. Thomas Lyons of Baltimore, Maryland; the late Bp. Raymond Boland of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri; Bp. Robert Brom of Duluth, Minnesota; and Abp. John Nienstedt, formerly of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, who stepped down from office for failing to report sex abuse.
The letter contains disturbing details about young males being sodomized and assaulted against their will, told by their assaulters they were "special" and that the violations were signs that God "loves" them.
The boy asked Boland why they were doing this and he responded, "God makes special boys and girls for pleasure, and you are certainly one of them." When he saw the erect penises of his abusers he was told, "See what you have done."
They said they were going to make him a "big boy" and show him how much God loved him. And breathlessly told him that it was, "the ultimate sign of love when a man 'came' with a special boy; that gave him, "the seed of life."
Lavin said, "when I was 12 years old that I would be taken on retreats were spiritual bonding between older men and younger boys took place." They assured him the pain would go away, gave warnings to keep secret and delivered threats of dire consequences if he told anyone. (He did tell his mother who slapped him and told him never to talk that way about a priest or nun.)
He made a first suicide attempt with aspirin.
Sipe addresses the problem of bishops being exempted from the 2002 Dallas Charter.
"Significant here is the operation of the National Conference of Bishops who in their 2002 Dallas Charter made provision for 'zero tolerance' of clergy abusing minors but neglected to address violations by bishops," he wrote. "Instead they appointed Brom, when allegations were known, to make 'Fraternal Correction' to other bishops accused."
Brom, who is currently a retired bishop in San Diego, settled a $120,000 sex abuse lawsuit with a seminarian who accused him of sexual assault.
McElroy is a leading liberal voice in the American Church known for pushing the LGBT narrative while condemning faithful Catholics as a "cancer" in the Church.
He has vigorously defended homosexualist Jesuit Fr. James Martin, and has proposed that the term "intrinsic evils" be dropped from the vocabulary of the Church, claiming the notion of intrinsic evils is an ineffective guide for Catholic voters. The comments came during the 2016 presidential election, when he stated that bishops should refrain from directing the faithful how to vote.
Father Richard Perozich, a San Diego priest who published a bulletin making clear Catholics could not vote in good conscience in line with the Democratic Party, was quickly marginalized by Bp. McElroy, who forbade the priest from publishing anymore columns in the parish bulletin.
"I had put other theological opinions in on Islam, sexuality," Perozich explained to Church Militant at the time. "He [the bishop] said that these were anti-gay, anti-Muslim."
Perozich is now retired and no longer in active ministry. (Although the bishop did not force him into retirement, the priest makes clear McElroy was quick to accept his resignation.)
McElroy was among the first bishops in the nation officially to open up Holy Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried, implying as well that active homosexuals were also welcome, following a diocesan synod on how to implement Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family.
During his Sunday homily closing the synod, the bishop went so far as to say that sometimes "God is asking me to do the opposite" of Church teaching. He also stressed the primacy of conscience as the main factor in making moral decisions.
"Many Catholics tend to think of our moral life as being rule-oriented," McElroy said. "Rules are important primarily as a check on rationalization. The real core of Catholic teaching is and always was a decision of conscience."
Catholics disgusted with the network of silent and complicit bishops are demanding an end to the hypocrisy and cover-up of homosexual predation. Thousands are expected to descend on Baltimore, Maryland at the annual meeting of the U.S. bishops November 12–15 to demand serious reform — including mass resignations of bishops who knew about McCarrick and remained silent.
Bp. Robert McElroy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858) 490-8300.