BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) - A primary sex abuse victim of disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick put the U.S. bishops on notice at a gathering of faithful Catholics in downtown Baltimore Tuesday.
James Grein spoke to more than 2,000 faithful gathered at the MECU Pavilion while hundreds of bishops gathered a stone's throw away at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel. The faithful were attending Church Militant's "Bishops: Enough Is Enough" prayer rally, an impassioned appeal to the bishops to put an end to the homosexual corruption coursing through every artery of the Church.
Grein has moved from the role of "McCarrick victim" to outspoken critic of the powerful homosexualist lobby in the Church to advocate for other victims, a journey many hope is emblematic of the larger Church. His almost 20-minute presentation early in the day-long event earned several standing ovations.
Grein began self-reflectively, "I must be patient, work hard, be true to myself and God, and God will take care of the rest for He is never late."
He said of his post-abuse life that at first, he thought he was OK. "I thought I had removed McCarrick from my life when I became clean and sober," he recollected.
But he added, "I was hateful [and] deceitful," and conflating himself, the abused, with his abuser said, "I was him [McCarrick]."
Grein continued the hard work of pulling himself up from the depths of trauma, thanking Church Militant Senior Executive Producer Michael Voris for checking in on him frequently and for giving him a platform to speak from to aid in healing.
Three years ago, Grein realized he was able to help himself heal by helping other victims. In 2019 he was instrumental in advocating for the New Jersey Child Sex Abuse Law, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims to file civil suits against their abusers and the institutions that enabled the abuse.
He said he came from a large family — three girls and three boys. "We were white doves when a blackbird came into our lives and destroyed it," he said about McCarrick's ominous presence in his youth.
Grein alluded to the bishops next door at the Marriott, pointing out some of them were coconspirators in his abuse. He also asserted that there were 51 men in what he called a "criminal bubble" with detectives and civil lawyers writing up cases against them even as he was speaking.
"I'm stronger than ever," Grein concluded to thunderous applause. "I will never give up." But he warned the attendees of the importance of keeping eyes wide open to the reality of the clerical abusers. "If you don't want to open up your Catholic Church and know what's going on, you are as bad as they are," he admonished.
James Grein is the most well-known victim of now 91-year-old McCarrick, the former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, D.C. who is currently facing multiple charges of indecent assault and battery on a person over age 14 in Massachusetts.
Grein was molested by McCarrick for nearly 20 years, beginning when he was 11 years old in the 1960s. He finally went public with his abuse in July 2018, after McCarrick was suspended as a result of a decades-old allegation of sex abuse against an altar boy in New York.
"I got down on my knees and I thanked God that I am not alone and it is going to be OK," Grein told The New York Times in tears at the time. "And I can tell somebody, and someone is going to believe me."
McCarrick baptized Grein and was a friend of the family. McCarrick took Grein on trips around the country and to Rome, introducing him as his "special nephew," Grein told AP.
"I was introduced as 'his special nephew' to presidents and heads of state, to the pope, bishops, cardinals and the rich and famous, and to other predators across the world as his 'special boy,'" Grein told AP. "The word 'special' was a signal that I am groomed. How sad is that?"
In 2019 Grein filed a lawsuit in New Jersey against McCarrick, the archdiocese of Newark and the diocese of Metuchen for McCarrick's repeated sexual abuse against him in that state. He refused money that was offered to him at the time.
Church Militant fought an uphill battle to hold the "Bishops: Enough Is Enough" rally. In August, Baltimore City Solicitor James Shea abruptly canceled the event, citing groundless fears of "violence." But justice prevailed — with the help of Church Militant's attorney Marc Randazza, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and countless prayers.
It was federal district judge Ellen Lipton Hollander, who, protecting the First Amendment, ruled the city of Baltimore "shall not prohibit or impede SMG [the company that manages the MECU Pavilion] from entering into a contract with St. Michael's for plaintiff's use of the MECU Pavilion for its planned rally on Nov. 16, 2021."
Grein has also accused now-deceased Cdl. Joseph Bernardin, another powerful player in 20th-century Church hierachy, of sexual assault. In a rendezvous arranged by "Uncle Ted" in the 1970s at a private resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a young Grein found himself between Bernardin and McCarrick, he alleges.
The U.S. bishops present an annual award named after the very same Bernadin. The CCHD [Catholic Campaign for Human Development] Cardinal Bernadin New Leadership Award gave the dubious prize this year to Ogechi Akalegbere. Akalegbere identifies as an "[e]xperienced and trained diversity practitioner in school and government settings," according to her LinkedIn profile.
Other speakers at the day-long rally included persecuted priests Fr. Paul John Kalchik and Fr. James Altman as well as Stephen Brady, founder of Roman Catholic Faith, and firebrand Michelle Malkin. Milo Yiannopoulos served as the rally's emcee.
The enthusiastic reception of Grein's testimony — and the rally overall — promise the fight for Holy Mother Church against homo-clerical predation has just begun.