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When Timothy Christopher Passow converted to Catholicism as a young adult, it was in part because he believed the pro-life and pro-family teachings of the Church were more authentically Christian than those of other denominations — almost all of which compromised on issues like abortion and homosexuality. In choosing to become Catholic and follow what he considered to be a more religiously demanding path in life, he achieved a sense of pride — the kind of pride soldiers might have about their branch of the military. In the span of about six years, this gradually led him to discern a vocation to the priesthood.
While living and working in Florida, Timothy first reached out in February of 2020 to the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri — often abbreviated as C.O. and whose members are commonly referred to as Oratorians. The Oratorians are secular priests who live in community under a rule without taking religious vows. In New York's diocese of Brooklyn, the Oratorians staff two parishes (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Boniface).
After spending December 2020 at the Brooklyn Oratory, Timothy quit his job, sold his home, gave away most of his earthly possessions and informed his grown children — a daughter in Florida and a son in California — he was leaving to become a Catholic priest.
Timothy entered the Brooklyn Oratory as a novice in March of 2021 under the mentorship of novice master Fr. Michael Callaghan, C.O.
Timothy was not at the Oratory long before he became uncomfortable with Fr. Callaghan, who he thought was more "touchy" than a priest ought to be. He found it unnerving that Callaghan would offer him shoulder massages or touch his waist and lower back. Timothy was ill at ease when Fr. Callaghan tried to get him to spend an overnight with him at his house in Delaware.
Within two months of his arrival, while working alone on reupholstering pews in Assumption parish, Timothy discovered that Callaghan downloaded the gay dating apps Grindr and Growlr onto an iPad in the Church sanctuary. Disturbed by what he saw, Timothy took screenshots of Fr. Callaghan's profile.
This discovery led him to conclude Callaghan's uninvited affection and invitations were attempts at grooming — a behavior which, unfortunately, often occurs in seminaries today.
Both heterosexually and homosexually oriented seminarians can be targets of homosexual predation. The fact that Timothy had been married and raised two grown children did not deter Callaghan.
Likewise, Fr. Miroslaw Krol, the chancellor of the Orchard Lake Schools, allegedly sexually harassed a straight musician who was married with a family.
Timothy brought his concerns about Fr. Callaghan to the attention of the provost, Fr. Anthony Andreassi, C.O.
Timothy became all the more scandalized when he came to believe that Fr. Callaghan was not the only member of the Oratory with a double life.
According to Timothy, Fr. Mark Lane, C.O., one of the other six members of the Oratory, claimed he had a relationship with a man outside the Oratory whom he referred to as his "life partner."
When it appeared Fr. Andreassi was not going to remove Callaghan and Lane, Timothy decided he could no longer stay and study with the Oratorians if they were going to cover up immoral behavior among their members.
On Aug. 27, 2021, after returning to Florida, Timothy wrote about his unfortunate experience to both the diocese of Brooklyn and Fr. Marco Guillen, C.O., the delegate of the Holy See for the Oratory. Timothy did not know the bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, just had a second abuse lawsuit filed against him in early 2021.
Even though the Vatican cleared DiMarzio after an investigation, the cases are still ongoing. In my estimation, they will probably result in out-of-court settlements.
Very little came of Timothy's communications. He saw that Fr. Callaghan was not removed despite the evidence presented to Fr. Andreassi. So, Timothy sent an email to members of the parish council of Assumption of the Virgin Mary parish. It contained incriminating photos and texts from Fr. Callaghan's Grindr account on the parish iPad.
According to the screenshots, Fr. Callaghan advertises he embraces "all races and ethnicities" and welcomes "duos" (i.e., when an escort is willing to service two clients of the same sex at once (usually male). He also wrote, "Regular FB or FWB would be ideal."
In this context, FB means f--- buddy. Meanwhile, an FWB is a friend with benefits.
In January 2022, Fr. Guillen, the Holy See delegate, wrote to Timothy stating, "In view of the fact that the officers of the Confederation [of the Oratory] have no power of authority over the houses, I rather encourage you therefore to make a formal complaint to the provost of the Brooklyn Oratory [Fr. Andreassi]."
No real investigation of the Oratory was undertaken either by Vatican or Brooklyn diocesan officials. Therefore, it was clear the homosexual culture of the Oratory was not going to change.
Timothy wrote to Fr. Guillen on Jan. 19 of this year, accusing him of abdicating his "duty to the people of the Church" and covering "for the deviants in the Church."
In June 2022, Timothy looked online and noticed Fr. Callaghan was no longer listed as pastor of Assumption parish and was conspicuously absent from celebrating the Mass posted on the Oratory's YouTube channel.
However, when Timothy later discovered Fr. Callaghan had been restored to ministry in August, he expressed to Fr. Andreassi his concern that Callaghan presented a clear and present danger to young men.
On Aug. 12, Timothy wrote to Fr. Andreassi recounting the phone conversation they had the previous week. He claimed, among other things, Fr. Andreassi justified Callaghan's return to ministry in part by referencing Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill's return to ministry after he too was caught hooking up with other gay men using the Grindr app.
Timothy also addressed how his life, a year after having left the Oratory, "was thrown into a tailspin." When he walked out of the Oratory, he wrote, he found himself "homeless, jobless and a thousand miles from home."
When Timothy calculated how much money he lost as a result of joining the Oratorians, the sum came to $137,939.40. When Timothy asked to be reimbursed by the Oratory for his loss, Fr. Andreassi replied to him on Sept. 7, 2022:
I am somewhat at a loss as to how you see all the expenses being the responsibility of the Oratory. When you came to me in August of last year to tell me you were leaving, I specifically asked you why. Your response was that after being away from Florida for several months, you realized how much your children still needed you around them for regular support. Thus, it was your decision to leave the Oratory. I never asked you to, and in fact, suggested you slow down in your decision. So, again, I do not see how these expenses should be borne by the Oratory.
Timothy interpreted Andreassi's email as designed to deflect and protect the Oratory from a lawsuit. Timothy said he never spoke to Andreassi or anyone about his children needing him and that his departure was the direct result of the hostile homosexual culture he encountered at the Oratory.
In keeping with journalistic due diligence, Fr. Andreassi was contacted on Sept. 12, 15 and 18 for evidence disproving the allegations made by Timothy Passow.
Andreassi wrote on Sept. 13 that Timothy's "insinuations about Father Mark Lane [were] untrue."
Subsequently, he was invited to provide a copy of Fr. Lane's phone log, and an offer was made to have Lane investigated. Unsurprisingly, there was no response.
Timothy says his issue is not with priests who have a homosexual orientation but with priests who openly flout their vows of celibacy and who prey upon seminarians. He believes "if a priest wants to be openly gay, then he should consider joining a denomination (e.g., Episcopal, United Church of Christ, etc.) where he could live his life and still be faithful to the dictates of the church to which he is part [sic]."
Over the past decades, the Catholic Church has accepted countless gay candidates for the priesthood, some of whom went on to become bishops and even cardinals. Instead of leaving the Catholic Church and joining a denomination that does not view homosexual behavior as immoral, there are pro-LGBTQ prelates attempting to change the Church's official teaching on homosexuality.