Update, 9/17/2019: George Neumayr is reporting that Jack Anderson is resigning as defender of the bond on the diocesan marriage tribunal.
WILMINGTON, Del. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A gay ex-cleric who "wed" a fellow former priest is serving on a diocesan marriage tribunal in Delaware.
In a bombshell report published Sunday, investigative journalist George Neumayr revealed that one-time priest Jack Anderson is serving as a defender of the marital bond for the diocese of Wilmington.
Neumayr uncovered the scandal while investigating Anderson's relationship to pro-gay Pennsylvania Bp. Joseph Bambera, who after seminary served with Anderson on the Scranton diocesan marriage tribunal.
In the course of his investigation, Neumayr discovered that Anderson quit the priesthood and later "married" former Wilmington cleric Ted Olson.
Neumayr contacted Olson, who confirmed that he is Anderson's "spouse." The ex-priest verified that Anderson and Bambera had worked together on the Scranton tribunal — in fact, he told Neumayr, he had "met Joe a few times." He also confirmed that Anderson remains a defender of the marital bond despite having left the priesthood and entered into a same-sex "marriage."
Olson also revealed that he and Anderson had abandoned Catholicism altogether: "We're Episcopalians," he told Neumayr.
In spite of all this, reportedly, neither has been laicized.
The Wilmington diocese lists Anderson as a defender of the bond on their marriage tribunal website.
Neumayr reached out to the diocese of Wilmington to ask "how a former priest who rejected the Catholic faith (and therefore in the eyes of the Church is a public heretic) and entered a gay marriage could licitly serve as a 'defender of the [marital] bond' on a Catholic tribunal."
"The Wilmington officials to whom I reached out either declined to answer the question or ignored my calls," he reported.
Neumayr describes the story as "a window on yet another travesty in the American Catholic Church."
"To call Anderson's status irregular is an understatement," he noted. "It is an open scandal — a scandal that both Bishop Bambera and Wilmington Bishop William Malooly have facilitated, insofar as Anderson's presence on the tribunal requires their knowledge and approval."
In light of this, observers are asking why both bishops would risk scandal by allowing Anderson to serve on the Wilmington tribunal.
"What accounts for his protected status?" Neumayr asked. "Is it possible that the bishops haven't removed him from the tribunal due to dirt he might have on priests in Wilmington and Scranton?"
"Anderson's departure from the priesthood is said to have been 'ugly,'" he noted, adding: "I had been told Anderson's decision to leave the priesthood was problematic, in light of his close and complicated ties with various Scranton priests, including Bambera."
Neumayr pointed to "an angry" 2012 letter to the editor in which Anderson challenged Bambera — one of the nation's most LGBT-friendly bishops — come clean on his stance on same-sex "marriage."
Anderson accused the Scranton prelate of hypocrisy, publicly opposing gay unions while privately backing them.
"Bishop Bambera, I'd like to hear your personal position regarding the marriage between two Catholics of the same sex," he wrote. "Please don't quote canon law."
Reflecting on Anderson's challenge, Neumayr underscored the scale of the scandal:
Here was a former priest turned Episcopalian in a gay marriage telling a bishop who has approved his presence on a canon law tribunal that he shouldn't "quote canon law" and that he should come clean about his real opinion of gay marriage. Extraordinary. Could the dysfunction in the Catholic Church in America be any clearer?
Church Militant reached out to the diocese of Wilmington for comment on Monday, but received no response as of press time.
Bishop William Francis Malooly can be contacted through his assistant: email@example.com, (302) 573-3100