While this issue of AMDG contains much more information than past issues, it is by no means complete when it comes to RCFs activities. We have been busy gathering information in Joliet, Chicago, Detroit, Winona, San Diego, Oshkosh, and other locations. For the most part, our current ongoing investigations center around sexual misconduct and abuse of power by bishops and cardinals. Many of these investigations contain connections to teen sex abuser Bishop Daniel Ryan and the Bishops who support him.
We will be giving a short review of the Bishop Ryan situation in an effort to better explain his possible connection to other bishops.
Whenever possible we will pass on the results of our investigations to our members. Some of the information we gather, and several projects we are working on, must be kept confidential for various reasons. As space, time, finances, and prudence permit, we will report on all of our activities. Please continue sending information regarding questionable activities taking place in your diocese.
One last thing before you go on to read this newsletter. There are many holy priests who guide RCFs every move. What we expose in these pages is not Catholicism. It is a perversion of the Faith. It is the belief of the clergy who guide us that the laity must speak out.S. Brady
"For the love of God." "... It follows, therefore, that we can love our neighbor when displeasing him, when opposing him, when causing him some material injury, and even, on certain occasions, when depriving him of life; in short, all is reduced to this: Whether in the instance where we displease, oppose, or humiliate him, it is or is not for his own good, or for the good of someone whose rights are superior to his, or simply for the greater service of God.
If it is shown that in displeasing or offending our neighbor we act for his good, it is evident that we love him, even when opposing or crossing him. ...When we correct the wicked by restraining or punishing them, we do nonetheless love them. This is charityand perfect charity.
It is often necessary to displease or offend one person, not for his own good, but to deliver another from the evil he is inflicting. It is then an obligation of charity to repel the unjust violence of the aggressor; one may inflict as much injury on the aggressor as is necessary for defense. Such would be the case should one see a highway man attacking a traveler. In this instance, to kill, wound, or at least take such measures as to render the aggressor impotent, would be an act of true charity.
For His love and in His service we must not hesitate to offend men. The degree of our offense towards men can only be measured by the degree of our obligation to Him.Modern Liberalism reverses this order; it imposes a false notion of charity: our neighbor first, and, if at all, God afterwards. By its reiterated and trite accusations towards us of intolerance, it has succeeded in disconcerting even some staunch Catholics. But our rule is too plain and too concrete to admit of misconception. ...It (charity) is practiced in relation to a third party when he is defended from the unjust aggression of another, as when he is protected from the contagion of error by unmasking its authors and abettors and showing them in their true light as iniquitous and pervert, by holding them up to the contempt, horror, and execration of all. ...The Saints are the types of this unswerving and sovereign fidelity to God, the heros of charity and religion. ...Liberal charity is condescending, affectionate, even tender in appearance, but at the bottom it is an essential contempt for the true good of men, of the supreme interests of truth and [ultimately] of God. It is human self-love, usurping the throne of the Most High and demanding that worship which belongs to God alone." Liberalism is a sin by Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany, Tan Books.
Ravaging Wolves In Shepherds Clothing
by Stephen Brady
Why does the Holy Father allow dissident bishops to continue in office?
Fr. John Hardon responded: "We are in Schism." "The Holy Father wants to prevent a de facto breaka formal, explicit schismwith Rome."(As reported in the The Wanderer, July 23, 1998)
"the American bishops will not obey the Holy Father when he has sought to intervene in matters pertaining to the Church in the U.S." "The Church (in the United States) is in schism."(Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, Fidelity Magazine March 1990)
It is refreshing to hear someone in authority admit what most of us already know. The schism is here!
In this issue of AMDG we will continue the very painful but necessary task of exposing the corrupt and immoral activities of many American Bishops. Public exposure, the threat of litigation and the loss of funds is something the bishops fear.
RCF has followed a trail of perversion from Springfield to Chicago to Joliet, Detroit, Winona, San Diego, Los Angeles and beyond.
We have learned, from Vatican sources, that the late Cardinal Bernardin had called on several American bishops to support Springfield Illinois Bishop Daniel L. RyanWHY? Cardinal Bernardin was the glue that held the dissident American bishops together and Common Ground was his final attempt to pass on what he had helped build. Common Ground failed, (even though some bishops are still trying to implement it), and the structure he helped create is falling apart. One Chicago priest suggested that the hierarchy does not fear what RCF will find in Springfield, Joliet, Detroit, San Diego or Winona; what they fear is that we will expose the "Bernardin legacy." I am sure Ryan is just one little cog in the big picture.
Where do we begin?
CHICAGO AND THE COVER-UP
On June 24, 1996 I received a letter from Cardinal Bernardins office. I had written the Cardinal asking for his guidance, his help in correcting the many problems which existed in the Springfield Diocese. Bernardin was the Metropolitan and had a responsibility to watch over the Illinois Dioceses. The letter, which was signed by Bernardins chief of staff Sister Mary Brian Costello, stated: "Cardinal Bernardin has asked me to acknowledge your letter of June 10. He has carefully considered your concerns. He does not feel, however, that it would be appropriate for him to enter into matters not pertaining directly to his archdiocese". Those are strange words considering the fact that Bernadin called for fellow bishops to support Ryan. He was involved. The Cardinal wanted no dialog with RCF but allowed Call to Action to operate on Church property in Chicago. The September 20, 1996 issue of The New World (The official paper of the Chicago Archdiocese) devoted half a page to Call To Action and their upcoming conference. This is just one bit of proof that Bernardin had an agenda.
In November of 1996 RCF privately called for the removal of Bishop Ryan. We had notified Church authorities that we had statements, from clergy, concerning Ryans homosexual activities. RCF asked for and received the assistance of a prominent Catholic priest who was working for the Holy See. This priest traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with the Papal Nuncio who, after being given confidential statements, betrayed those who had turned to him for help and turned the information over to Ryan and closed the case without even interviewing the clergy who had given statements. Something was terribly wrong. At this point RCF went public.
The following statement was given to RCF the evening of our Feb. 11, 1997 press conference where we made public Ryans sexual misconduct. The person making this statement is the main priest accuser: "...my confessor, without my knowledge or consent, blabbed the whole business [of Ryans sexual advances towards the priest] to his Archbishop, Archbishop [John] May [now deceased], who in turn informed the [Illinois Province] Metropolitan, Cardinal Bernardin. And I know for a fact that Bishop [Ryan] made a point of letting me know he had to go to St. Louis. And another day, shortly thereafter, that he had to go to Chicago. So I know for a fact that Archbishop May and Cardinal Bernardin knew of the facts [Ryans homosexual behavior] at that time, and nobody did anything to Bishop Ryan. And nobody did anything for me. Thats ten years [ago]."
Father was asked if Ryan had promised him anything in exchange for sex. "Oh yeah. He said that I could have any parish in the diocese I wanted. He offered me money. And he said he could make me a bishop."
In December 1997, at the request of the Papal Nucio, Jimmy Lago, ( executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, under Bernardin) claiming to represent the Chicago archdiocese and Cardinal George, contacted RCF. We were asked to cooperate in an investigation of Ryan. Why? Why was our help needed now?
RCF had located Frank Bergen. Frank, at the age of 16, had been picked up off the street by Ryan and paid for sex. This went on for years.
Lago flew to Springfield and at his request RCF postponed its upcoming press conference and provided Lago with Franks statement (With Bergens approval ). We also produced other information to prove Ryans misconduct. A short time later, Lago told a Bloomington Illinois newspaper that RCF had "no proofno one even willing to come forward." At this point we broke off all relationships with the Chicago Church hierarchy.
To this day, no official of the Chicago archdiocese has interviewed Ryans priest accusers! Why?
Based on what I have learned, I believe Cardinal Bernardin was part of a large group of bishops protecting one another not out of love, but because each and every one knew too much. It has become clear to me that Bernardin was responsible for many corrupt individuals finding their way to chanceries.
In the case of Bishop Ryan, it would have been impossible for him to find his way to Springfield without the consent of Chicago.
RCF looks at Ryans past for answers
Why is Ryan being protected? And why was he allowed to function as a bishop when it was common knowledge that he had a drinking problem long before he came to Springfield? Why was he left in charge of the Springfield Diocese after he used his alcoholism as an excuse for his incompetence?
In this newsletter we will also take a close look at Copley Press (the reasons for this will become clear).
The Copley News Service covered Ryans installation as Bishop in Springfield. The Herald-News, (Joliet, IL, January 19, 1984) published the story. According to the Copley story Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, along with 260 diocesan and visiting priests, as well as 35 bishops and religious and ecumenical leaders, attended the Mass at the Cathedral in Springfield.
"Bernardin proclaimed Wednesday a joyful day in Springfield and a beginning of a new life for the diocese.
"Today there is excitement and joy because we are installing bishop Ryan. It signifies a new era," Bernardin said.Ryan has already earned the respect of fellow bishops and is a long-time friend and collaborator of many local clerics. Bernardin said. (Ryan, 53 years old, is a native of Minnesota.)"
In February of 95, we started publishing the newsletter Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,(For The Greater Glory of God). The first newsletter was sent out to several hundred Catholics in surrounding communities. It covered some of the problems and abuses at St. Peters Catholic Church in Petersburg, IL. (My home parish). The response was swift.
"I hereby demand that you immediately cease all further illegal and disruptive conduct as to Father Holinga and St. Peter Parish." signed, Carol Hansen Fines--Attorney at Law.
Father Holinga, who is Vicar General.Director of Clergy Personnel, responded in the only way he could. Holinga, bishop Ryan, and all those who pervert the Faith cannot debate the issue. If they did they would have to justify their violation of Church law as well as Gods law.
How could Holinga justify not purifying the Sacred Vessels? How could he justify changing the words of the Mass. How could Holinga justify allowing his religion teachers and/or extraordinary ministers to publicly support contraception?
In the next twelve months, with each additional newsletter, our numbers grew. With each passing day I learned more about the condition of our Diocese. The most disturbing information I received in regards to our children, was the fact that we had sex education in some of our Catholic grade schools. New Creation, Fully Alive and the like. I heard horror stories from parents all around the diocese. The abuses taking place at Mass were beyond my comprehension.
I knew we had the attention of bishop Ryan when his lawyer-assistant (Brother Shea) asked for a meeting. . When I met with Brother Shea I received another let down. He did not want to discuss the abuses, he just wanted me to lay off the bishop. Shea objected to some things I had printed in the newsletter and statements I had made on a local radio program.
During the month of October 1995, I attended four, Thursday night classes at Christ the King School in Springfield. The classes were offered by the office for Catholic Education, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, and approved for catechist certification. The class instructor was Sr. Helen Vahling. The title of the class was, Overview of Catholic Teaching.
During these four evening classes we were taught that contraception and masturbation were not sinful, the pope was not infallible, almost any marriage could be annulled, Christ did not establish the priesthood as we know it today, and on and on. There was no end to the heretical statements that came from this nun's mouth. But worst of all was the fact that the ten or so teachers attending this class went along with all that sister said. I was the only one that raised an objection. I spoke to the principal and the pastor about what went on but no one seemed to care.
May 15, 1996 RCF was incorporated and our membership grew. It was at this time I sent Cardinal Bernardin the letter asking for his help.
During the next few months we gained the trust of the clergy and began to receive information regarding Ryans homosexual activity.
On February 11, 1997, RCF held its first press conference accusing Bishop Ryan of sexual misconduct. Since that day; the main priest accuser against Ryan has been told, by a Vatican priest, to fear for his life and stay away from RCF; Father Alfred Kunz, a holy and orthodox priest working with RCF, was brutally murdered; and we are beginning to uncover what I believe to be a "good old boys" club of sexual perverts within the American hierarchy who scandalized the faithful, sodomized the innocent, and who are banding together out of need and greed. Satan seems to rule in their world.
Copley Press (The Springfield State Journal-Register) had several reporters at our press conference as did other media, including a local TV station.
The Journal-Register published a story covering RCFs press conference in the Feb. 15, 1997 edition of its paper. In the article by a Copley Press paper, RCF was referred to as an "ultraconservative Catholic fringe group." Why would a newspaper refer to RCF in such a manner? Could it be that someone who held a position of authority within Copley Press or the State Journal-Register had a problem with RCF "outing" a homosexual bishop? Or could it be something else? Could it perhaps have something to do with the fact that David Bakke, former editor of the Catholic Times (the official paper of the Springfield Diocese) quit the Catholic Times the summer of 1998 and went to work for Copley Press?
The Journal-Register criticized RCF for not providing names of those who were sexually involved with or propositioned by Ryan. Some months later, RCF set up an interview between the Journal and Frank Bergen, a former male teen prostitute Ryan had paid for sex. The Journal never covered the storyit was as though they just wanted to know what information we had. Of course, that is only my opinion.
On February, 17, 1997 I received a copy of a letter that was sent to The State Journal-Register. The letter was sent by persons unknown, who claimed to have knowledge of bishop Ryans homosexual activities. The letter went on to name Ryans sexual partners, including his current partner. I dont know if the Journal ever checked any of the names. We did eventually find the author of the letter to the Journal and this person told us that they had called a Copley paper and offered them a story. They were told "it is too hot to handle."
With the help of a private investigator, RCF was able to make contact with three of the young men named in the letter. Two admitted a sexual relationship with Ryan, the third only said he had known Ryan for years and refused to speak with RCF about the matter.
This third young man (whom we will call Evannot his real name) had a police record just as the letter had stated. In May of 1998, we located "Evan," who was living in an apartment on North Seventh Street in Springfield, Illinois. I contacted the landlord and was told that Bishop Ryan had paid Evans rent for the short time he lived there.
While looking into court records in the Joliet, IL diocese (Ryans original diocese) we found an interesting advertisement that was placed in The Joliet Herald News:
The Herald News is a Copley newspaper. Why would a Copley paper not cover this case of a homosexual priest abusing children? Could it have any connection to Bishop Ryan who was bishop of Springfield at this time? Or could it have anything to do with the fact that Ryan was instrumental, as Chancellor of the Joliet Diocese in 1973, in bringing Gibbs into the priesthood even after Gibbs, according to court documents, admitted being "very strongly attracted by members of my own sex." Could it have anything to do with the fact that Ryan was an auxiliary Bishop in Joliet in the early 80s at a time when parents had written the diocese complaining of Gibbs inappropriate behavior with their children?
In July of this year, James Bendell, RCFs attorney, traveled to San Diego seeking information, for RCF, regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by four Catholic bishops which was supposed to have taken place at a seminary in Winona, MN. While in San Diego, Jim went to see if Bishop Brom would be open to an interview. Brom declined, but something tells me he may change his mind in the future. At any rate, Jim found something outside bishop Broms office that we thought was worth reporting. The Bell Tower outside Broms office has a plaque on it with a dedication to Helen K. & James S. Copley, the parents of David Copley, who is the president of Copley Press based in San Diego.
RCF located a story in San Diego Magazine (on-line). The story, by Ron Dohono, "Rent Boys/ Notorious trophy boy Andrew Cunanans relationships with rich older men were not unique. A look inside San Diegos silent subculture", covered the gay lifestyle of Andrew Cunanan and others in San Diego. For those who dont remember, Cunanan was the homosexual who was reported to have supported himself by providing sexual services to older wealthy business men. He was said to have found out he had AIDS and went on a serial rampage killing prominent homosexual businessmen. Cunanan took his own life after shooting designer Gianni Versace outside his home in Florida. According to the Dohono story: "But let San Diegos ABC-TV affiliate report that San Diegans-Blanchford, ex-cop novelist Joseph Wambaugh and publishing executive David Copleyare on a list of people warned by the FBI to beware of a still-at-large Cunanan, and tongues begin to wag....An incredulous Copley told the Union-Tribune [ a Copley paper] he had not been warned by the FBI..." But wait! There is more!
The San Diego Reader published a story on the Copley family in its June 20, 1991 issue. The complete story has been reprinted with permission in this newsletter. For now I would like to quote a few short paragraphs from the story: "In the mid- '70s, about the time John (Davids father) was starting up his law practice, his son David was graduating from tiny Menlo College in Atherton. He was soon employed by his mother's giant newspaper company, said to be worth as much as $750 million. For a time, David was listed as publisher of the Borrego Sun, a small biweekly the company owned in conjunction with its interest in a desert resort. Later David became vice president of the Copley Press and was named president three years ago. David's hasty rise up the employment ladder was ostensibly to prepare him to take over from his mother someday. But the publishing heir was more inspired by other diversions.
He liked good liquor, fast cars, designer clothes, ostentatious houses, electronic gadgets, gourmet food, fine art, and the international social circuit. But David could also be a source of embarrassment to the conservative Republican executives who actually ran the newspapers in their president's stead. On one occasion, they killed a proposed Union story about a noted San Diego transvestite and political activist after the subject of the story threatened to write about David in a gay newspaper.
But the Copley papers were not so hesitant about reporting David's life as a lover of luxury. A writer for the Tribune once described his bachelor pad in La Jolla. The rooms, she wrote, were "aglow with hot pinks, purples and greens.... Indirect and neon lighting, and sunlight from a skylight reflect off mirrors, brass, glass and stainless steel." David, she noted, had a well-appointed bar, along with a VCR and more than 300 tapes in a lavishly decorated pool house he called "Carmen Veranda," where he went to "leave everything else behind." A "curving sofa," the writer added, "opens into a bed for guests." The article, describing each amenity in excruciating detail, went on for two pages.
On July 25, 1998, the San Diego Union-Tribune, a Copley paper, ran a story on "Lesbian and Gay Pride weekend marches on with annual parade" and provided readers with a map of the parade route.
On August 16, 1998, attorney Bendell and I were in Winona for an RCF meeting. RCF was the lead story on the NBC affiliate in Rochester, MN nightly news. NBC was very fair in their coverage of our meeting. It seems Winona has had quite a problem with sex scandals among Catholic Clergy.
Why is RCF in Winona? While investigating the connection between Bernardin, Ryan, Imesch, Brom, Roach and others, we found that then-Bishop of Winona John G.Vlazny paid out thousands of dollars (nearly $100,000) to at least one seminarian, from IHM seminary in Winona, who had accused 4 bishops of sexual misconduct. The case was sealed. This was also confirmed by a story in the April 21, 1995 issue of the National Catholic Reporter. Sources close to the story informed RCF that the 4 bishops engaged in a kind of sexual activity with seminarians that involved the use of a coffin and cord from priestly garments.
Bishop Vlazny came from Chicago where he was an auxiliary bishop under Bernardin. On May 9, 1987 he was installed as bishop of Winona and was recently sent to Portland Oregon, the former diocese of Cardinal George.
More on San Diego, Winona, Chicago, Detroit and Joliet in upcoming issues.
Whats going on in Springfield?
Since RCF has been exposing Ryans misconduct, his Secretary, Director of Office of Worship, Director of Religious Education, Director of Youth Ministry, Editor of the diocesan newspaper and other staff members have resigned. But Ryan is still doing damage.
In 4 weeks RCF members will be handing out information packets at the Cathederal in Springfield. One weekend RCF members will be at every Mass handing out material to all who enter the Cathederal. Other churches that will be covered are Blessed Sacrament & Christ The King Parish, both located in Springfield.
I received the following statement July 4, 1998.
I had the dubious pleasure of attending 2:30PM confession today at the Cathedral (where Ryan resides). They have a new young priest helping out for a few months. His name is Fr. _____. You would not believe the things he told me.
"First of all none of the sins I confessed were mortal sins. (WRONG) He then said I was over-scrupulous in going to confession every 2-4 weeks. He then said the reason I was so scrupulous was because I was celibate (I'm single). When I realized where he was coming from I asked him some questions
He said that it was not sinful for two people to live together (no mention of marriage) in a committed relationship. "He went on to say that homosexuality was not a sin as that was the way God made those people and God loved us all. He stated that it was O.K. for homosexuals to live together in a committed relationship as long as each loved himself and loved God. He mentioned love of self several times.
"In fact, since he minimized my sins so much I thought he might not give me absolution but he finally did. He kept me in there for almost 15 minutes telling me that all my problems stemmed from my celibacy.
"I don't know where they found this man but he is going to be around for several months. I certainly will not go to him again.
"I thought you should be aware of this if no one has already informed you."
RCF has contacted church authorities concerning this matter.
It gets somewhat depressing dealing with these scandals day after day. The calls, the letters, the cries for help all add to the pressure. But no matter how bad it gets one only has to consider the alternative to speaking out forcefully. The past silence of many has brought us to this point. Silence no more. If depression is all we have to deal with well be OK.
I often wonder what goes through the minds of some of these bishops. They cant believe in the true Faith. They wouldnt be able to sleep at night if they believed there was such a place as Hell. How miserable they must be. How can they teach the truth when they are living a lie.
by Matt Potter (San Diego Reader, June 20, 1991) Reprinted with permission
For Margaret Helen Kinney Hunt, the two-lane highway from Cedar Rapids to the town of Anamosa, snaking its way through the verdant hill country of east Iowa, was both an end and a beginning. The route today is probably little different than it was in the fall of 1951 when she set out on the 18-mile journey. After leaving the city, it passes through sleepy farm towns named Hiawatha, Marion, and Springville, where dogs run along the streets, barking at travelers in the afternoon humidity and remarkably large hogs wallow in their troughs by the roadside.
The highway enters Anamosa from the south and turns sharply east at the courthouse, which sits solemnly at the top of a long, grass-covered slope. Looming just behind are the antique stone walls of the men's Reformatory of Iowa, a state prison as quaint as the Tower of London. A discrete sign at the curb in front of the warden's residence advises that cars should be locked when parked. Across the street is a quiet neighborhood of Victorian houses, each with a well-tended lawn and a white picket fence.
Inside the courthouse, two gray-haired women sit side-by-side at their desks under a big ceiling fan and politely inquire how they may be of assistance. Upon request, one of them consults a dusty index and goes to the basement to retrieve a slim folder, sliding it gingerly across the old marble countertop. "In the District Court of Iowa, In and For Jones County," it reads.
"Margaret Hunt vs. John Hunt." The day was October 13, 1951; a marriage was being quietly dissolved. Only 20 days earlier, the Hunts had been hastily wed in Marengo, the seat of Iowa County, 30 miles on the opposite side of Cedar Rapids. On the day of their wedding, both signed a prenuptial settlement agreement, which seemed to anticipate an early divorce. It was a marriage of necessity. She was pregnant, and the child needed a name.
"Plaintiff is present in person and by her counsel. Defendant not present nor anyone for him," says the court log. Margaret Hunt of Cedar Rapids was almost 29 when she stood alone before the judge in the dingy Anamosa courtroom. She had met John Hunt earlier that year at the Borden dairy company in Cedar Rapids, where she was a stenographer and he a clerk. It had been a fleeting, unadorned encounter, as was their decree of divorce: "It is ordered that plaintiff be and she is hereby awarded full care, custody, and control of the unborn child of the plaintiff and defendant."
The final document is entitled Stipulation of Settlement: "Margaret Hunt does hereby waive and release any interest that she might or could have in any portion of the estate of John Hunt ... in return, John Hunt will pay to the plaintiff, Margaret Hunt $1000." After the dissolution, Margaret, who went by her middle name, Helen, moved from Cedar Rapids to San Diego with her widowed mother. More than two decades later, when she was rich and powerful beyond dreams, Helen was asked about the father of her child. "I never talk about him," she replied. "I don't know where he is, and I don't want to know."
After their arrival in San Diego, Helen and her mother bought a small house on 54th Street, near University Avenue, and Helen went to work as a secretary for the Union-Tribune Publishing Company. Her son, David Hunt, was born at Mercy Hospital on January 31, 1952. Many years later, in an odd twist of fate, Helen married her boss, Jim Copley, and David Hunt became David Copley, who would grow up to be president of the Copley newspaper chain, heir-apparent to a troubled dynasty.
Five hundred miles west of Anamosa, in a booth at a Denny's restaurant just outside Omaha, Nebraska, Lee Hunt nervously chews a piece of ice. She is the third and present wife of John Hunt, who is undergoing a series of tests in a nearby hospital. He turned 65 this spring and has fallen ill, too sick to be interviewed, says Lee. "He's always had this drinking problem. Even after he got diabetes about eight years ago, he wouldn't give it up," she says. "Then his heart problems started about three years ago. They say he has a spot on his liver, and he's lost about 50 pounds in the last six months." She wears a worried expression. "The only reason he finally quit drinking was that beer made him sick and he couldn't hold it down anymore."
Lee says David doesn't know about John Hunt's illness because, although they've met at least once, father and son never communicate. "Apparently David could care less," observes Lee. "It's strange in a way. You'd think that David would want to know about his father's health problems, to know what he might be in for if he doesn't take care of himself." (Lee was prophetic. Two weeks after the interview, David Copley suffered a heart attack and entered Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.)
Fiercely protective of her husband, Lee seems mildly contemptuous when she speaks of David, whom she says she has never met. Shown a newspaper photo of David, now approaching 40, her expression softens. "He looks a lot like John, you know, when he had all the weight. He looks more like John than John's other son, the one who was killed on the motorcycle. His name was John too. It happened two years ago, out in Tucson. I don't know whether it was caused by alcohol or not. I know it happened early Sunday morning. I just assumed I mean he did like his beer, you know. He had three little children, it was terrible. John has never mentioned it since. That's how he copes."
Lee and her husband began their relationship in the mid- '70s and, after a few ups and downs, finally married in 1980. Despite his battle with alcohol, Lee is proud of John. "He is a good man." Near the end of World War II, he enlisted as a Marine. In the early 1950s, he joined the Air Force and became a pilot who flew support missions in Korea and, in the '60s, Vietnam. After his dalliance with Helen, he married Eleanor, his second wife, and settled down to have four children. The couple was divorced in the early '60s, says Lee.
When john retired from the Air Force in 1972, at the age of 45, he wound up in Southern California and abruptly decided to become a lawyer. "He got tired of doing nothing, so he went to law school at Western State University in Fullerton." The couple, she remembers, wanted to "get out of the California rat race," so they packed their modest belongings into the family car and returned to Independence, Iowa, John's home town, about 40 miles up Interstate 380, due north of Cedar Rapids. The stately Independence courthouse became the center of John's modest legal practice. He bought a little house in Winthrop, a farm town about seven miles away, and made it his office.
In the mid- '70s, about the time John was starting up his law practice, his son David was graduating from tiny Menlo College in Atherton. He was soon employed by his mother's giant newspaper company, said to be worth as much as $750 million. For a time, David was listed as publisher of the Borrego Sun, a small biweekly the company owned in conjunction with its interest in a desert resort. Later David became vice president of the Copley Press and was named president three years ago. David's hasty rise up the employment ladder was ostensibly to prepare him to take over from his mother someday. But the publishing heir was more inspired by other diversions.
He liked good liquor, fast cars, designer clothes, ostentatious houses, electronic gadgets, gourmet food, fine art, and the international social circuit. But David could also be a source of embarrassment to the conservative Republican executives who actually ran the newspapers in their president's stead. On one occasion, they killed a proposed Union story about a noted San Diego transvestite and political activist after the subject of the story threatened to write about David in a gay newspaper.
But the Copley papers were not so hesitant about reporting David's life as a lover of luxury. A writer for the Tribune once described his bachelor pad in La Jolla. The rooms, she wrote, were "aglow with hot pinks, purples and greens.... Indirect and neon lighting, and sunlight from a skylight reflect off mirrors, brass, glass and stainless steel." David, she noted, had a well-appointed bar, along with a VCR and more than 300 tapes in a lavishly decorated pool house he called "Carmen Veranda," where he went to "leave everything else behind." A "curving sofa," the writer added, "opens into a bed for guests." The article, describing each amenity in excruciating detail, went on for two pages.
David's flamboyant, three-story townhouse on the ocean in Mission Beach was christened "Casa de Bananas," according to a plaque next to the front door. The Tribune also disclosed that David had made use of a number of "family heirlooms" gleaned from his adoptive father Jim Copley's estate in Aurora, Illinois. "We weeded through pieces in storage to see what might work best and what holes needed filling," confided David's interior designer.
A hand-lettered sign on the front door of John Hunt's office in Winthrop, Iowa, lists his office hours. But it seems the old country lawyer hasn't been there for a long time. The front yard is overgrown with weeds, and the rusting hulk of an old car he was planning to fix up for his wife Lee blocks the gravel driveway. The pungent smell of manure from the surrounding fields wafts by on a moist wind.
His old drinking buddies at one of the town's two bars at the bottom of the hill say they haven't seen him for a while. "He's a good old boy, John Hunt is," says a wizened farm hand, hoisting a mug of dark beer. "He used to come in here, sure he did. Here's to John Hunt. He did my taxes."
For Lee, the beer and the bars are the only thing she would change about her husband. "He has led a very upstanding life. It's just that he never could stop drinking, no matter what. Even after his car wreck, which, thankfully, didn't hurt anyone, everybody in that small town knew about it. You'd think he'd quit. I've been trying and trying for a long time now to get him to stop." Told that John's birth son David Copley has a reputation for throwing drinking parties and has been arrested twice for drunk driving, she shakes her head slowly. "I guess it may be true what they say, that it's all in the genes."
That reminds her of something else, she confides. "John isn't the first one to make the first step to get in touch with his children. That's just the way he is." After David, his son by Helen, he fathered another son (now dead) and three daughters by Eleanor, his second wife. "The oldest teaches nursing, the middle one is a doctor, and the youngest works for an insurance company in Des Moines. They don't know about David. Never heard of him. Don't even know he exists," she says matter-of-factly. "I don't know why John never told them. It happened before they were born, before he was married to Eleanor. That thing with Helen was just a brief affair. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. They only saw each other once or twice," she says.
"He was already going with Eleanor when it happened, and he just had to go ahead and get married to Helen. That was the way things were in those days. He never, ever heard from her again. And then, 30 years later, that private detective called up out of the blue, asking about the divorce from Helen, about whether it was valid or not, or something like that. I guess there was a lot of money at stake, you know, for those other two Copley children. That's how John finally got to meet David. He didn't even know his name before then.
"In December 1905, I bought my first newspaper and used that pretty vigorously to write 'ex' in front of the name of a United States senator who lived in my precinct," Colonel Ira Clifton Copley once boasted. He had served with the Illinois National Guard, which put down the bloody Pullman Palace Car Company strike of 1894, and adopted the title of colonel for life. Copley made his fortune turning a small, financially troubled, family-owned gas works in Aurora, Illinois, into one of the biggest gas and electric utilities in the Midwest.
In 1910, with the resounding endorsement of the first newspaper he owned, the Aurora Beacon, he was elected to Congress as a Republican. He remained there until 1924, when he lost his seat in a landslide, which a biographer later said was caused by "wets" voters who wanted to repeal Prohibition. Col. Ira Copley drank only in moderation and behind closed doors.
Two years after his defeat, bored with his life in tiny Aurora, he sold off his giant utility holding company and embarked on a newspaper-buying spree. In 1928 alone, he purchased 24 of them, mostly small-town dailies in Illinois and California. He personally negotiated the purchase of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune from the estate of John Spreckels. Later, he bought the San Diego Sun from the E.W. Scripps Company and merged it with the Tribune. In the teeth of the Great Depression, he successfully battled to hold on to most of his media empire, selling off or folding only the most marginal papers. Someday, he said, he wanted his sons to take over the chain.
In 1920, Ira Copley had adopted a four year-old named Jimmie from an orphanage in New York City. Not long after, he adopted another young orphan, of different parents, named Billy. Ira had seen all three of his natural children die of childhood diseases 20 years earlier. Now, starting a new family at age 56, he was determined that his two adoptive sons, both in poor health from their days in dank New York orphanages, would grow up to be strong enough to continue his fledgling newspaper dynasty.
Under Ira's tutelage, the boys were raised to be men's men. They learned to ride horses, Western style. They were taught to sail, and they were tutored in the classics. Both were dispatched to Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts and then on to Yale, the Colonel's own alma mater. When the war came, Bill fought in the rugged North Africa campaign. Jim held a Navy desk job in Washington, D.C. The boys turned out to be different in other ways as well. Bill wanted to run off to Paris after the war and become an artist. Jim had already worked in the circulation departments of various Copley papers in California and was determined to run his father's business.
Near the end of the war, Ira took Jim aside to make a surprising disclosure. Jim had a blood brother named John Satterlee who was trying to track him down. Satterlee, chief inspector for an adding machine company in upstate New York, had contacted the orphanage where he had been left after their parents died. Their father, John Lodwell, a dancer on the vaudeville circuit, had been stricken by a heart attack in 1917, and shortly afterwards their mother Flora was taken by the flu epidemic of 1918. The orphanage had passed Satterlee's letters along to Ira Copley, who finally decided to tell Jim about them. "It will not be a weakness on your part to look him up," the Colonel advised his son. "You may have a chance to help him sometime."
The two brothers finally met at 5 o'clock in the morning on June of 1945, on the concourse of Washington's cavernous railroad station. "It was quite a morning," remembers Satterlee's widow Frances. "I know that my husband was so nervous, he about chewed his nails off. We came through the gates, and we put the bags down, and I finally spotted Jim in his Navy uniform, so thin and slender. And I said, 'John, I believe that is your brother there.' "
During their reunion, says Frances, "Jim says, 'John, I want you to tell me all you can remember about our real parents,' because John was older, and so he tried to recall everything he could for Jim. And I just stood there crying. It was a very happy reunion." Frances also remembers young Jim Copley making a solemn promise that morning. " 'John, I want to help you,' he says. 'I'm in a position where I can help you, and I'm going to do all I can for you.' "
John Satterlee ultimately went to work for the Copley newspapers, moving to Springfield, Illinois, where he became director of the company's newspaper education program, distributing copies of newspapers to be used in local school classrooms. Following 30 years of faithful service, he retired in 1979 and died last July at the age of 77, 17 years after the death of his younger brother Jim. "When Jim died, on October 6, 1973, John just couldn't get over it," says Frances. "It was a hard blow."
Her husband, she recalls, became even more troubled when Jim Copley's will was read. "Jim always said to my husband, 'John, don't worry about anything. If anything happens to me, you'll be taken care of.' But Jim left him only $50,000, that's all. Towards the end, I guess, Jim was just too sick to know what was going on, that's all I could think of. I don't know what to make of it, to tell you the truth. A lot of people felt the same way. They said, whoever made the will, it wasn't done like it should have been done, you know? Jim and John were blood brothers. They truly loved each other."
By the fall of 1955, Jim Copley had begun to consolidate his hold over the Copley Press and was busy expanding its reach and using it to cultivate political influence, particularly with the country's young vice president, Richard Nixon. Colonel Ira had died at age 83 in 1947. He left each of his adoptive sons, Jim and William, a 4/9 share of his total estate, including the newspapers, with the remaining ninth going to his widow Chloe, who had been Ira's last wife.
At the time, William Copley was in Paris and already becoming famous in the art world by producing a series of trendy paintings that one critic described as "most often cartoonish tableaux of naked ladies and bowler-hatted men cavorting in bordellos, saloons, and Paris Cafes. [The paintings] radiate a cheerful exuberance in the presentation of themes more commonly spiced with the odor of decadence and excess." One exhibit of his work in New York was entitled "Tomb of the Unknown Whore." Noted a critic, "For him, the whore is not a devalued object, but a symbol of unbridled sexuality and freedom." One of Copley's most famous works is his own version of the American flag. The painting was described by a critic for the New York Times: "The stripes designate walls, a bosomy female behind a barred window substitutes for the stars, and, waiting for her are convicts in striped suits lined up in order of height."
Still painting today, at age 72, in his Connecticut studio, William has been married and divorced five times and remembers his philosophy of life being changed forever by his Army duty. "When I came out of the war, I was no longer a Republican. The war opened my eyes to things I didn't know about, like people being killed. Actually, I'm not really a Democrat. I'm what they call a bleeding-heart liberal."
Before William left for Paris in the late 1940s, he ran a successful California gallery featuring avant-garde artists like the now-legendary Man Ray, who was a personal friend. But his new colleagues in the West Coast art scene made fun of the right-wing political content of the Copley newspapers. "My friends would hand me a copy of the San Diego Union and ask me to eat it!"
Later, during his Paris sojourn, the artist contributed occasional op-ed pieces to the San Diego papers, describing his Bohemian life on the continent. But straight-laced Jim was not impressed with William's dispatches, and he was particularly galled by conjecture among outsiders that his wayward brother might somehow seize editorial control of the papers and alter their conservative, pro-Nixon, Republican slant. Democratic congressman-to-be Lionel Van Deerlin, who during the 1950s was a columnist for a local magazine, predicted that William, who "long ago shook the San Diego Republican dust from his heels to live in Paris," would eventually wreak havoc with the staid newspapers.
William, however, was interested in art, not newspapers, and he wanted cash. From his Paris studio, he dispatched his lawyers to a Chicago courtroom, where they filed suit to liquidate the Copley empire. After several years of quiet negotiations, the brothers announced that they had settled. Jim paid William about $12 million for his share of the company and bought out the heirs of Ira's widow as well. It was 1957, and the deal, which valued the newspapers at about $26 million, finally gave Jim Copley the sole control and ownership he had sought for so many years. William and Jim never spoke again. Notes Bill today, "That's how the cookie crumbles."
Jim Copley's biography was published in 1964. "It's one of those vanity books," observes brother Bill. "He had to justify himself." Written by a sycophantic Copley executive, its 347 minutiae-filled pages chronicle everything from Copley's childhood illnesses to the recipe of his favorite cocktail (a personal concoction called "Happy Daze"), but they shed little light on certain sensitive aspects of the publisher's private life. Helen Hunt, who became his secretary during his final, tumultuous dispute with his brother, is only mentioned in passing: "The youngish man with hair that turned prematurely gray, a decade or so ago, touches a buzzer and calls to Helen Hunt. Tall, self-possessed, efficient, she brings in a particular book."
Thirteen years after she first went to work as a stenographer at the San Diego Union-Tribune, Helen was married to James Copley in August of 1965. She was Catholic, and although he wasn't, Jim made sure their vows were sanctioned by the Church. Until the wedding, the affair between Helen and her boss had remained a closely held company secret; Jim's divorce from his first wife, Jean, an heir to the Ridder newspaper fortune, had become final that same month. Shortly after the wedding, the publisher adopted Helen's 13-year-old son David, an overweight and introverted boy, who had never met his real father and who now found himself abruptly faced with the prospect of having to share his mother's time and attention with her new husband.
Helen and David moved in with Jim at Foxhill, the publisher's 12-acre La Jolla estate, and embarked on their new life. David was soon packed off to prep school in the East. By all accounts, the former stenographer from Iowa made a fine wife and showed well on the La Jolla social circuit. But Helen was not merely a social ornament. in the years before going to work for Borden in Cedar Rapids, she had traveled east to attend hunter college in Manhattan. The experience of the big city hadn't agreed with her, and she beat a hasty retreat to Iowa, but she retained a shrewd grasp of numbers.
After marrying Jim, she took a growing interest in the financial affairs of the publishing company, and, as her husband poured out the details of the day's business to her over evening cocktails, she learned about each newspaper's bottom line. For her it was to prove a valuable education. She and a small circle of intimates knew that Jim Copley was slowly dying of cancer.
In the meantime, the party continued. Many times each year, hundreds of guests would show up at Foxhill for specially catered dinners in the garden. In August 1968, after Richard Nixon's nomination to the presidency, he flew to San Diego, his "lucky city," where a joyous Helen and Jim hosted the candidate and his vice presidential nominee, Spiro Agnew. "It was," said Herb Klein, then a Nixon staffer, between stints as a Copley editor, "Probably the only small dinner party [Nixon and Agnew] ever attended jointly." Nixon's slim November victory was a glorious reward for all the years of editorials and stories in the Copley papers touting the California Republican. Jim Copley had reached a pinnacle of political influence far higher than that ever attained by his father. And Helen Copley, the former dairy company steno from Cedar Rapids, suddenly found herself on a first-name basis with the president of the United States.
In 1974, the final year of Watergate, a lawyer from San Diego slipped into the offices of the Journal-Register, the Copley-owned newspaper in Springfield, Illinois, on an important mission. Jim Copley had finally succumbed to a combination of brain and lung cancer a year earlier at the age of 57. He had left control of his publishing empire and the bulk of his fortune to his widow Helen, to whom he had been married eight years. Now trouble was brewing, and the lawyer needed to have a word with John Satterlee, Jim's blood brother. "They called and said they wanted John to go see them immediately," remembers Satterlee's widow Frances. "They were very insistent, so we went down to the paper right away."
Helen's lawyer explained that a bothersome suit had been filed in San Diego. Michael and Janice Copley, the two adoptive children from Jim's first marriage, were charging that Helen had looted the trust fund their father had set up for them and had otherwise schemed to consolidate her vise-like grip on the Copley Press by fraud. In a 1978 newspaper interview, Michael painted an ugly picture of Helen's behavior toward him prior to his father's death, claiming that she plotted to keep him from getting in to see the publisher as he lay dying at La Jolla's Scripps Clinic. The son also alleged that almost from the beginning of her marriage to Jim in 1965, Helen had taken advantage of the publisher's illness to cut him off from Michael and his sister.
"The lawyers wanted John to side with Helen, which he did," recalls Frances Satterlee. "He had no choice. He was getting close to retirement from the Copley company, and our daughter is the head librarian for the Copley paper here. He thought maybe if he sided with Michael and Janice, the company could get rid of my husband and our daughter." As she left the meeting with the lawyer, Mrs. Satterlee remembered Jim Copley's long-ago promise to her husband. "If anything happened, he said my husband would stand to inherit half the company. It was in the first will he made out. I don't really understand what changed his mind." For their part, Janice and Michael never talked to the Satterlees again, says Mrs. Satterlee. Nor, for that matter, did Helen Copley.
A decade or so later, not long before John Satterlee died, he and Frances came out to San Diego from Springfield for a final visit. Frances, ever cheerful and friendly, decided to ring up Helen just to say hello. "Her secretary said she was out of the state, traveling somewhere," recalls Mrs. Satterlee. "She said I could leave a message and Helen would get back to me just as soon as she could, but we never heard from her after that. Last year I heard Helen wasn't feeling good, and that's why she couldn't come back to Springfield for my husband's funeral."
In January 1977, an unusual bill began a swift course through the Iowa legislature. It was intended to correct an odd quirk of state law that made it illegal to obtain an Iowa divorce in any county other than the one in which both parties had lived. "As I recall, this thing just sailed right through," recalls Walter Conlon, an Iowa attorney who was then a freshman legislator and sponsor of the measure. "It's possible that somebody was trying to lobby this thing through and told somebody in a position of power to get it taken care of. I may have been given a fast track on this thing without even knowing it had been fast-tracked. When you're a freshman and you've been handed a sure thing, you don't ask questions. But I swear to you, I never heard of Helen Copley."
Whether by coincidence or not, the bill's passage helped sustain a major victory for the publisher from San Diego. As their case against Helen dragged on, lawyers for Michael and Janice were desperate to seize any advantage. They had discovered that Helen's divorce from John Hunt at the Anamosa courthouse had occurred in a county in which neither was a resident, and thus, under the old statute, it was illegal. Despite Conlon's new law, the two children filed a brief with a California court seeking to invalidate the Hunt divorce. If Helen had never really divorced John Hunt in accordance with Iowa law at the time, the attorneys reasoned, then her marriage to Jim Copley was also void, and so the trust powers that gave her total control over the Copley newspapers would also be illegal.
In the end, though, the ploy failed. The best efforts of the attorneys for Michael and Janice could not convince the California court to accept their argument, especially after passage of the Conlon law. The children's plans to contest Helen's divorce from John Hunt died quietly.
Later, Michael and Janice Copley won a temporary courtroom victory, expelling Helen from her stewardship of their trust and forcing her to give back most of the Copley company stock that she had taken to pay off inheritance taxes and other debts. But an appeals court later overturned that verdict, restoring Helen's powers as trustee even as it upheld the ruling requiring her to disgorge the misappropriated stock. When the tortuous legal battle finally drew to a close in 1982, Michael and Janice had to settle for lifetime annual cash payments from their trust fund. They would never be poor. But based on information in the public record, neither they nor their progeny would ever gain ownership or influence in the mighty Copley newspaper chain. Helen Copley had prevailed. At last she was alone at the top.
David Copley finally met John Hunt, his birth father, in the late '70s. The reunion, as most of the other events in the painfully disjointed saga of the Copley lineage, was almost inadvertent, according to John's wife Lee. A private investigator contacted John, wanting to know the details of his unusual marriage and divorce so many years before. It seemed there was a lot of money at stake, Lee remembers John saying, and some other children were challenging some kind of will. As a result, John sought out Helen and was told it was suddenly very important that he fly to La Jolla, where Helen lived, to talk to her.
"He went over to her house and met David," Lee says in flat tone of voice. "When he came back, I asked him, 'What makes you think it's your son?' He had never seen him before. And John, who used to be overweight - he was very big - says, 'He looks just like me.' " It was probably the first and only time he's ever seen David, according to Lee. "I don't think he had any idea that Helen had married the man she worked for. I think that it was a surprise to him that she did so well. He had to brag about it a little."
Helen Copley has not been active in public for many months now, giving rise to the usual round of speculation and rumors. (Attempts were made to contact Helen and David for this story; but despite assurances they would call back, by deadline neither had.) But whatever the explanation for Helen Copley's recent low profile, the newspapers are suffering. Like many American dailies, circulation is flat and revenue is threatened. Readers, especially those under 40, have lost their loyalty and are not subscribing regularly. Morale lags following a bitter labor dispute, and many workers worry about losing their jobs. Copley executives have hired a former Harvard business school professor to tell them how to stem the decline...
In her prime as publisher, Helen backed Pete Wilson to the hilt and helped him become the only California mayor ever to step directly into the United States Senate. She dated now-disgraced financier Dick Silberman when he was aide to Governor Jerry Brown. She shared the credit for the demise of Roger Hedgecock and the election of Mayor Maureen O'Connor, his arch foe. She boasted that her son David, now 39, would burst from his shell and one day run the newspapers. Now her public voice has grown strangely silent. The only thing certain, it appears, is that she will face the future alone.
Trying to Make Sense of Shame:
Policies of Cover-up and False Denial
There is a merciless tedium to recent reports of clerical scandal. Painful reminders of human frailty and sin, these recurring reports hammer upon the numbed and incredulous Catholic heart. There is another emerging aspect to the stories, as well, that is even more disturbing, if thats possible. In too many dioceses, the Catholic hierarchy seems to have followed a policy of buying the victims silence while putting his or her offender back into a position to abuse again. There is a fine line between a morally justifiable attempt to contain scandal and the morally reprehensible act of collaborating and nurturing corruption. Too often, that line has been crossed and not only the sexual abuser, but the diocesan hierarchy, is responsible for great suffering. At least, this is what the civil courts have determined.
Connecticut: Reverend Lawrence Brett of the Diocese of Bridgeport was sent to New Mexico in 1964 for treatment after having been accused of sexual misconduct with a teenager. From New Mexico, where he is alleged to have abused other children, Father Brett was shuffled to Sacramento, California, and Baltimore.
In 1993, one victim not only brought suit against Father Brett, but against the Diocese of Bridgeport as well, contending that the Diocese had attempted to cover up complaints against Brett. Newspaper reports exposed absurd and unnecessary diocesan prevarication:
· The diocese claimed that Brett had been granted laicization in 1993 by Bridgeport Bishop Edward Egan, while the concurrent diocesan telephone directory listed him as a diocesan priest. The diocese later reversed itself.
· In another instance, Egans predecessor, Bishop Walter Curtis, stated that the abusive priest had not returned to Connecticut after his treatment in 1964. It was demonstrated, however, that nine months after treatment Brett celebrated Mass in Seymour, Connecticut.
· Despite the canon law stating "Priests can only exercise their ministry in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him," the diocese attempted to defend itself against responsibility for Brett by arguing that priests are not employees of the diocese.
· Most outrageously of all, the diocese denied prior knowledge that priests were abusing children, only to be confronted with a 1966 letter sent to then-Bishop Curtis in response to a mothers complaint against Bretts molestation of her son.
In the face of such blatant false testimony, a federal civil jury awarded the plaintiff $750,000.[ "Judge Rules Against Connecticut Diocese in Abuse Trial," Catholic News Service, August 27, 1997; "Bishop Challenges Suit Against Priest," Bridgeport Daily News, August 23, 1997; Daniel Tepfer, "Vatican Told Diocese to Act on Priests Sex Abuse Cases," Connecticut Post, April 8,1997.
Texas: The nationally publicized trial of convicted molester Rudy Kos ended in a sensational monetary judgment of $120 million against the Diocese of
Dallas. The primary reason for such an enormous award was punitive: the Kos case exposed a long record of diocesan culpability. Too many in positions of diocesan authority failed to investigate charges of sexual misconduct that had been reported over a period of decades.[Paul Likoudis, "The Wanderer Interviews Attorney Sylvia Demarest" The Wanderer, August 28, 1997.]
That derelict attitude prevails in other Texan chanceries. Archbishop Patrick Flores of San Antonio, for instance, recently had a diocesan letter read in all parishes announcing a $4 million negligence settlement against the diocese in the case of Father Xavier Ortiz-Dietz. "We wish we had known in time to prevent this tragedy," the letter read. Yet it is precisely because the courts determined that the archdiocese did know, and knew for years, that Ortiz-Dietz was a pedophile, that the 7 victims received such a large settlement.[Brooks Egerton, "Pedophile Priest was Protected, Victims Say; Archdiocese Denies It Covered Up Abuse," Dallas Morning News, June 12, 1998.]
Florida: In 1967, Reverend Rocco DAngelo admitted to molesting 5 boys and underwent psychiatric treatment. Parents were assured that DAngelo would not
work around children again and agreed not to take the case to the police. However, DAngelo was merely moved from the Boynton Beach area of the St. Petersburg Diocese to Tampa, where he was given charge of two more parishes.
In 1996, DAngelo was accused of further sexual abuse. Diocesan officials broke faith as well as common sense. Why?
The then-Chancellor of the St. Petersburg Diocese was Bishop Joseph Keith Symons, who has himself resigned over accusations of pedophilia. Although one victim of the several who have stepped forward complained to a neighboring Florida bishop 4 years ago, in yet another example of perverse inaction, Symons remained in office until 1998. There is every reason to think he would have remained there indefinitely if the injured man had not energetically protested. What a mistake it was to wait so long.
A bishop stained by such a past is in an insecure position at best. It is unlikely that he will boldly uphold the Churchs teaching about sexual purity when he has been unable to live those teachings himself. Therefore, diocesan-
wide complaints from the faithful that Bishop Symons permitted Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent, who have promoted same-sex relationships, to run a retreat for the parents of lesbians and homosexuals on church property were clearly resented rather than welcomed by the Bishop. The man with a conscience corrupted by hidden sin is a poor tutor of ethics.[ Scott Gold, "Bishop Unlikely to Be Tried for Abuse," The Palm Beach Post, undated; Dan Moffett, "Church Did Nothing about Sex Abuse, Records Show," The Palm Beach Post, July 31, 1998; "Florida Bishop Gives Imprimatur to Homosexual Agitprop Team," The Wanderer, May 22, 1997.]
California: "The Catholic Diocese of Stockton went on trial to face allegations that its highest-ranking clergy knew for 17 years that one of its priests was a child molester but did nothing to prevent him from preying on children," reads the opening sentence of a Stockton Record article in June 1998. The priest in question, Reverend Oliver Francis OGrady, is serving a 14-year sentence for child molestation.
Complaints of child molestation surfaced against OGrady as far back as 1976. Five years later, despite this knowledge, the then-Bishop of Stockton, Roger Mahony (now Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles), appointed OGrady as a special delegate serving students at a parochial school. Then, in 1982, Mahony assigned OGrady to the Church of the Presentation in Stockton.
By 1984, the police became involved and investigated OGrady for new molestation charges. The Stockton Diocese mendaciously assured police, however, that this was an isolated incident and that OGrady would not be assigned to work with children. Mahony testified that he then referred OGrady to a psychiatrist, whose written evaluation stated that "Father OGrady reveals a severe defect in maturation, not only in matters of sex, but
more importantly in the matter of social relationships .Perhaps Oliver is not truly called to the priesthood." Despite the negative evaluation and diocesan
assurances to the contrary, Mahony appointed OGrady pastor of Saint Andrews Parish in San Andreas, where he had a fresh source of children to abuse. The courts found this to be reprehensible. The Diocese of Stockton was ordered to pay $29.2 million in damages for its patent disregard of evidence that OGrady was a pedophile.[Elizabeth Bell, "Catholic Church Goes on Trial in Alleged Cover-up," The Stockton Record, undated; Elizabeth Bell, "Church Owes Victims $29M," The Stockton Record, July 17, 1998; Elizabeth Bell, "Cardinal Testifies in Molest trial," The Stockton Record, June 13, 1998.]
New Mexico: How do guilty diocesan officials respond when accused of negligent disregard for the safety and welfare of their flocks? One defense is that little was known in the 1970s and 1980s about the nature of pedophilia. Therefore, they assert, quiet efforts to provide counseling to offending clergy, who were then reassigned to new parishes, was ethically sound and consistent with all that was known about the problem at the time.
This was one of the arguments used by Archbishop Robert Sanchez to defend his criminal disregard of rampant clerical misconduct in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which suffered over 160 sexual abuse claims against priests during his tenure. However, psychologist John Salazar had warned archdiocesan officials as far back as 1967 that the pedophile priests he was treating should not be allowed to work around children. The archdiocesan response was to discontinue sending troubled priests to Salazar. These priests went on to be reassigned to new parishes and dioceses.[Paul Logan, "Former Archbishop Living in Minnesota," Albuquerque Journal, November 5, 1997; Nancy Plevin, "Psychologist Says He Warned Church of Pedophile Priests," The New Mexican, February 9, 1993; ]
Nor was Dr. Salazar an isolated voice of counsel. The Servants of the Paraclete is a center within the Archdiocese of Santa Fe that was responsible for the treatment of dozens of priests with sexual problems. The Center made national headlines when the pedophiles it had treated were found to have been recycled into active parish ministry where they continued to abuse children. The Servants of the Paraclete argued that it had done the best it had known.
However, the Centers founder, Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, warned the Archdioceses bishop in 1957 against offering the resources of the Servants of the Paraclete "to men who have seduced or attempted to seduce little boys and girls .Experience has taught us these men are too dangerous to the children of the parish and neighborhood for us to be justified in receiving them here."
Fr. Fitzgeralds sage advise was ignored in preference for more modern opinion. One hundred and sixty people paid dearly for that opinion.[Fr. Charles Fiore, "Paraclete Founder Warned Bishops, Rome of Pedophile Devils in 1957," The Wanderer, April 15, 1993 from a letter of Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald to Archbishop Edwin Byrne dated September 18, 1957.]
As the magnitude of clerical abuse in New Mexico became public, it raised the question of how such abuse could continue for years without curb. Archdiocesan responsibility for the nightmare was widely acknowledged.
"Several insurance companies have sued the Archdiocese in federal court, alleging negligence in overseeing the assignment of known pedophile priests," reports one news story. Another suggests the reason: Archbishop Robert Sanchez did all that he could to contain the percolating problems of the Archdiocese because he had himself abandoned the vows of celibacy in numerous sexual affairs. A morally compromised bishop would have difficulty exercising and enforcing moral authority.[Jenny Owren, APWriter, March 17, 1994; Bruce Daniels, "Sanchez Kept Abuse Quiet; He Sheilded Pedophile Priests while Wrestling with his Own Demons over his Affairs with Women," Albuquerque Journal, September 19, 1996.]
The scandal continues. Not 3 years after resigning in disgrace from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Sanchez has been leading retreats for religious around the country, one at the invitation of Tucsons Bishop Manuel Moreno, where Sanchez was the retreat master for Tuscon-area priests. The 160-some victims left in his wake seem to be inconsequential.[Greg Toppo, "Resigned Archbishop Runs Retreats," The New Mexican, October 29, 1997. Article contains quotes from Bishop Morenos August 1, 1997 letter to the priests of the Diocese of Tucson, describing retreat and Sanchezs invitation.]
Illinois: Not all clerical sexual abuse involves children. The capacity of a seminary rector, for instance, to sexually prey on weak or immature seminarians is not the abuse of a pedophilia, but it certainly concerns an abuse of power. Such action in a secular institute of education would result in immediate dismissal of a teacher. In Catholic institutions, it seems to result instead in a siege mentality. The drawbridge is raised against scrutiny. The battlements are manned to protect the offending party, to the detriment of the offended. More energy is spent to keep scandal out of the press than to keep psychologically damaged (and damaging) men out of pastoral employment.
One considers the on-going situation of Bishop Ryan of the Diocese of Springfield. Despite mounting evidence and public witness of gross sexual misconduct, including the testimony of 2 priests that Ryan sexually used them, Church investigations have repeatedly betrayed the victims, maligned their defenders, and left Ryan in a position to undermine the spiritual welfare of an entire diocese. The spiritual wasteland, the weak and often erroneous catechesis, and the sad loss of ethical sensibilities within diocesan churches are no accident. They find their immediate cause in the corrupted policies of a corrupted leader. Yet there he remains.[See "Public Disclosure," elsewhere in this issue, for more background on Bishop Ryan]
The sick, maladjusted, unchecked priest does not stand alone in his guilt. Those who shield him from disclosure and maintain him in his predatory habitat share a portion of that burden. How many more victims would Archbishop Sanchez have permitted had there been no avenging lawyers to expose his pedophile priests? How much further error and pain would Bishop Symons have continued to permit in his diocese had his accuser remained quiet? How long will Bishop Ryan continue to misuse Catholic priests and Catholic money, but for lay watchfulness? These are compelling questions.
The Many Faces of Cardinal Bernardin
by E. Michael Jones
On Thursday, June 22, 1989, a small delegation from Chicago was waiting at the airport in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the arrival of Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, Prefect for the Sacred Congregation of the Family, one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Roman Catholic Church. His Eminence had come to South Dakota to attend a Marian Congress sponsored by the Rev. Robert Fox. His purpose was to encourage those who were sensible in promoting devotion to the message of Fatima. His Eminence had already had problems with a fellow Canadian priest of dubious standing in the Church who had organized, among other things, a letter writing campaign urging the Pope to consecrate Russia properly, i.e., as this priest thought it should be done. As part of his campaign, the priest published the cardinal's private phone number in Rome, resulting in, Gagnon was to say later on, hysterical phone calls in the middle of the night from women sobbing into the phone asking Gagnon why the pope was ignoring the Blessed Mother's wishes. It was the type of psychic and spiritual degeneration that can occur in the wake of even authentic apparitions, especially when orchestrated by someone who knew all the right buttons to push.
But Fatima was the last thing on the mind of the delegation from Chicago, They had problems which affected them more immediately. The Rev. John O'Connor, O.P., for example, had recently had his priestly faculties suspended by the superior of his province, the Rev. Donald J. Goergen, O.P. O'Connor had produced a series of tapes for the New Jersey-based cassette apostolate, Keep the Faith, on a variety of subjects, including rock music and private revelations. He had become, in fact, their most requested speaker and his tapes sold even better than those of Fulton J. Sheen. Howard Walsh, president of Keep the Faith, claimed that O'Connor's "Rosary Crusade: The World's Last Great Hope," was the most widely distributed tape of all time. Now the suspended priest claimed in a series of tapes of both the audio and video variety that his province, which included priests like the Vatican-censured Matthew Fox and the uncensured Richard Woods, author of the dubious Another Kind of Love, was run by a ring of homosexuals. He then went on to claim that his provincial, Father Goergen, was a practicing homosexual. Over the course of the months following his suspension, O'Connor's charges became progressively more extreme. In addition to claiming that homosexuals were running the province, O'Connor claimed that the priory at River Forest was being run as a homosexual bordello to keep local priests off the streets and to prevent them from contracting AIDS. By November 2, 1989, O'Connor was implicating the Superior General of the entire order in a conspiracy against him as well as the ordinary of Chicago, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. "A prominent Catholic layman who just returned from a business trip to the Vatican," O'Connor wrote in his open letter dated November 2, 1989, "told me that it is known all over Rome that Cardinal Bernardine [sic] is a practicing homosexual...."
The order, for its part, responded by claiming that O'Connor was "crazy." According to Provincial Goergen, O'Connor was slandering fellow priests, and that intolerable situation had to be stopped. Provincial Goergen dismissed the charges O'Connor had made against him but became especially incensed about the charges O'Connor was making against other Dominicans. O'Connor accused one in particular of being a communist who had set out to infiltrate the order over 40 years ago. "My earnest judgment," wrote one Dominican in response to the charges, "is that Father O'Connor is not well-balanced." The priest then recounted the story of a classmate of his who happened to meet O'Connor at the priory and inquired how he was only to be "greeted with steaming insults."
Of the charges against Goergen, the priest writes,
I am sure that the charges against the Provincial, Father Goergen, which Father O'Connor makes, are slanderous. Even though Father Goergen is more liberal than I in certain matters of morality, and perhaps more tolerant of homosexual mores, I believe he struggles to represent the Catholic faith. Now I admit that he failed in The Sexual Celibate, a book written when he was younger. For some Catholics, the matter of sexual morality was then, as now, a troubling matter. But to accuse him of moral turpitude, as Father O'Connor does, is surely a grievous failure, for it has no foundation. I know that homosexual activity is mortally sinful and personally harmful to a participant's psyche. I can never condone its practice. I am not here trying to cover the failures of anyone. But I am sure that Father O'Connor's attacks on Father Goergen, even apart from being a fundamental and serious failure in charity, are without foundation.
November 5... a group known as Catholics for an Open Church, Inc., a dummy corporation formed to protect the people involved from a libel suit, held a press conference across the street from the bishops' meeting in Baltimore. The group was headed by Michael Schwartz, an employee of the Free Congress Foundation, a Washington think-tank headed by right-wing strategist Paul Weyrich. ...The main event involved the accusations made against Bishop Joseph Ferrario of Honolulu. A young man using the pseudonym "Damian de Veuster," the name of the priest usually known as Damian the Leper, sat behind a screen and, with his voice electronically altered, accused Ferrario of sexually molesting him as a child. The charges did attract a fair amount of attention in the national press; articles appeared in The Washington Post and the New York Times, but getting papers like that to do an anti-Catholic story is about as difficult as attracting a shark to blood. In spite of the coverage, there was considerable skepticism on the part of the press. A number of papers ran the stories without running the name of the bishop accused. Beyond that, Ferrario held a press conference of his own one hour later denying the charges and saying that they had been investigated and dismissed by Church authorities. Probably because of Ferrario's denial and the skeptical reaction of the press, "Damian" returned and revealed his true identity, which he had initially concealed because some members of his family "don't know what I've gone through." He also revealed that he was suffering from AIDS. So in the final analysis it was the word of a 30-year-old homosexual with AIDS against the Bishop of Honolulu, who claimed that he had been cleared by the Vatican. Why Schwartz would choose to launch a nationally-reported campaign on such tenuous evidence is anyone's guess. He was, however, distinctly nervous about the prospect beforehand, as well he might be. A number of Catholic periodicals, including Fidelity, had seen the material, which had been in circulation for years. No one had reported on it, presumably because it was prima facie one man's word against another. The same coalition which launched the charges against Ferrario was as of early 1990 mulling over the idea of administering a lie detector test in the presence of the apostolic pro nuncio. Whether that comes to pass or not, the effect on the bishops was overwhelmingly negative. Schwartz ended the press conference by announcing that he was sending a letter to the pope, requesting with "the greatest urgency, that Bishop Ferrario be suspended immediately from the exercise of his priestly and episcopal functions, pending a full investigation of these charges."
As one might have suspected, Ferrario is still Bishop of Honolulu. According to one source, the Vatican was as appalled at the press conference as the American bishops were. And in retrospect, it's hard to imagine any other reaction on their part. It's hard to imagine that Rome would suspend a bishop on the word of a man behind a screen with an electronically camouflaged voice. It's hard to imagine a time when Rome would have acted in such a manner. Certainly it is not going to act that way now when accusing public figures of homosexuality is a newly-developed strategy of the homosexual movement. In the June 1989 issue of the New York Native, a homosexual paper, ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), the same group which disrupted Cardinal O'Connor's Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in late 1989, discussed the strategy of "dragging out of the closet gay public figures who support anti-gay causes," as a way of intimidating them into supporting the homosexual political agenda.
Less than six months after the article appeared, Father Bruce Ritter was accused of sexual misconduct by a homosexual who was involved in Covenant House's Rights of Passage Program. On December 12, 1989, the New York Post ran a story reporting the charges of the young man, who gave his name as Timothy Warner. Covenant House making use of details in the various stories published was able to unearth the real name of Ritter's accuser, Kevin Lee Kite, as well as his age, which was not 19 or 20 as he had claimed but 26, putting him over the age limit of 21 which Covenant House set for its programs. John Kells, the Covenant House spokesman who found out the man's identity, then contacted his father who came to New York and denounced his son as a "chronic liar" and someone who had "a long history of hurting people who tried to help him." Father Ritter, who admitted travelling with the young man and sharing a room with him but denied all charges of impropriety, was described as feeling "a lot better" after hearing the father's testimony. Since then, two more homosexuals have come forward and accused Ritter of having sex with them, and Ritter has stepped down as head of Covenant House at the request of his order. Whether the men are connected with ACT UP or other militant homosexual organizations is as of this writing not clear; however, the frequency of the incidents, and the fact that ACT UP did mention one Catholic bishop in the above-mentioned article were enough to raise suspicions, and those suspicions were enough to further undermine any credibility that was left to Damian De Veuster after the Baltimore press conference.
... On November 4, 1989 a Greeley column on the "Double Standard on Celibacy" appeared in the Sunday Sun Times. In it Greeley cited an article in The Washington Post which "suggested that between 20 percent and 40 percent of the Roman Catholic priests in America are gay" and that "2 percent of American priests are attracted to children," Greeley went on to lament "the transformation of the priesthood into a homosexual profession" and ended his piece by accusing the American hierarchy of "tolerating a double standard on celibacy and, because of stupidity and cowardice, permitting the priesthood to become heavily, perhaps mostly gay."
...another Greeley column appeared in the Sun Times, this time on December 17, which mentioned [another] case specifically, although not by name. "I received," Greeley writes,
another reaction to my column from a parent in the Chicago area who wrote that his child had been sexually and physically abused. The letter continued, "I want to congratulate you on your courage in making a public statement on the corruption extant within the Catholic clergy. I have researched this problem both locally and nationally and now know the rampant nature both of homosexuality and pedophilia."
Greeley then quoted archdiocesan lawyer James Seritella, who spoke at a symposium on the issue by referring to parents in child abuse cases as "the enemy." Greeley went on to suggest that Seritella be fired. "If the cardinal will not fire him," Greeley wrote, "then Rome should appoint a bishop who will fire him." In a matter of a few short weeks, Greeley's strictures against the hierarchy in general became focused on one man, the cardinal archbishop of Chicago, to the point of calling for his ouster, evoking in the process an eerie sense of deja vu.
Ten years ago Father Greeley was calling for the ouster of Bernardin's predecessor John Cardinal Cody. The language was harsher ten years ago, but the thrust was the same - the cardinal had to go. Was history repeating itself? Was there now a plot to get Bernardin? ...For those who were familiar with the famous, or infamous, "Plot to Get Cody" the similarities were nothing short of astounding. Even more astounding is the fact that Greeley predicted in print that this was the way things were going to happen. In the paperback edition of Confessions of a Parish Priest, the priest's autobiography, (Pocket Books, 1987), Greeley writes that
It is not unlikely, in my judgment that sexuality, indeed perverse sexuality, will be to the Bernardin Archdiocese of Chicago what financial corruption was to the Cody Archdiocese of Chicago. I hasten to add that I do not question the Cardinal's own sexual orientation. (Some who do not know him but are aware of the prevalence of it in Chicago do have their doubts.) From the years during which I knew him well (or thought I did), I would say that he is at least as heterosexual as I am and enjoys women as much as I do. The difficulty is his apparent unwillingness to face a terribly serious crisis and act decisively on it.
The passage is a masterpiece of innuendo, insinuating suspicions into the mind of the reader in the very fact of denying them. Greeley assures us that he is not questioning the cardinal's sexual orientation; only those who don't know him have their doubts. Then Greeley goes on to hint that he doesn't really know him either, which must mean that he has his doubts as well. And what exactly does it mean to say that the cardinal is "at least as heterosexual" as Father Greeley? Just how heterosexual is he? After reading this masterpiece of smear, one comes away with the sense that the cardinal has something to hide, that Greeley knows more than he is telling, but that if pressed on the issue he could just as easily deny everything. It is a technique Greeley has used before.
In a tape sent to Jim Andrews of the publishing firm of Andrews and McMeel, the company that had commissioned him to write the book that was eventually published as The Making of the Popes 1978, Greeley talks about how he has "finally found out how to get rid of John Cody":
It is the easiest thing in the world. One simply starts spreading the rumor that he is going to go, and in the crazy world of the Vatican, that kind of rumor is tantamount to concrete results. Indeed, if the rumor is repeated often enough, long enough and far enough, it becomes truth.
That excerpt along with equally revealing passages appeared in a sensational story published by the Chicago Lawyer in October 1981 about a plot involving Father Greeley, then Archbishop Joseph Bernardin, and then Apostolic Delegate Jean Jadot to have Cardinal Cody removed from his post as archbishop of Chicago. Rob Warden, editor of Chicago Lawyer and the man who wrote the story, is not a Catholic and had no particular interest in writing about the Church. However, he has a nose for a big story, and this was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, to come out of Chicago in the '80s. Warden's story was the sensational follow-up to the equally sensational story that had appeared a week before in the Chicago Sun-Times that Cody was under federal grand jury investigation. Warden, who had met with the principal investigators assigned to the story, was convinced that Greeley was behind the federal grand jury investigation.
"Before we did ["The Plot to Get Cody"]," Warden remembered years later, "we did a story on a guy named Frank Wallace who had been falsely accused of being a Nazi, and the undertone of that coverage was how could the Anti-defamation League so influence the federal prosecutor's office that they would go off on a tangent like this and do something stupid, like charge this poor innocent man and ruin his life? Which is what they did. And so I had sort of viewed this the same way. Can Andrew Greeley walk into the federal prosecutor's office and can Andrew Greeley orchestrate this scenario that can get the U.S. attorney's office to investigate the cardinal archbishop of Chicago? And the answer, to my astonishment, is yes. There were enough steps in furtherance of what he called a conspiracy and a plot."
In a tape made on October 30, 1977, Greeley gave the full dimensions of the plot, whose purpose was not merely to get Cody out but to replace him with Bernardin, who was in turn to help Greeley "rig" the next papal conclave and elect a suitably "liberal" pope. The rigging of the election was also to have the salutary side effect, from Greeley's point of view, of promoting his books. "Also," Greeley says,
let me suggest that one of the points that is important for a conspiracy is getting Joe Bernardin into the College of Cardinals. Getting Joe Bernardin into the college is getting our conspiracy into the college....There is no one I know of who is as astute in the whole cotton-picking Church than [sic] Joe. We got to get Joe into the College of Cardinals. Then, you see, if we get Joe in, the story [of the conclave] can be told, I mean, we won't have to worry about stealing stuff. Joe's going to provide it for us - all of it. In fact, he could become part of the conspiracy. Hell, he was the one, after all, that suggested I start writing articles before the book. The New York Times article, which was the beginning of the conspiracy, was his suggestion.
Now, gentlepersons, you say, "How the hell can we get Joe Bernardin into the College of Cardinals?" I will tell you how we get him in. We get him to become archbishop of Chicago.
After the Chicago Lawyer article documenting the plot against Cody appeared in September 1981, Greeley issued a statement in which he characterized the tapes as "moods, feelings, fantasies and emotions of the moment - the things I would like to have seen happen in my late night sleep musings in a hotel in Rome. They also represent my own imagination and no one else's. They were dreams of many years ago which patently did not materialize."
Greeley, however, spoke too soon. On July 10, 1982 Joseph Bernardin was named archbishop of Chicago, an event which left Rob Warden "stunned" since "the veracity of the article and the quotes had never been questioned." The purpose of Greeley's disclaimer and of subsequent negotiations between Greeley's lawyers at Mayer, Brown and Platt was to disentangle Bernardin from the conspiracy. Greeley's lawyers offered Warden immunity from possible future suits if he would leave Bernardin out of the story. Warden, now convinced that the story was true, decided to leave Bernardin in. More recently, Eugene Kennedy published a pro-Bernardin account of the affair in his biography of Bernardin (Cardinal Bernardin: Easing Conflicts and Battling for the Soul of American Catholicism, Bonus Books, 1990) in which he claims that Bernardin "was innocent of any involvement in such papal conclave machinations" (216), a statement in clear contradiction to the evidence in the transcripts. According to Warden, the only part of the transcripts he deliberately omitted from his account was Greeley's reference to Cardinal Lorscheider of Brazil as "a spic who is an ethnic German." Warden did this, he said later, to be "gentlemanly."
In trying to explain why the press, with one notable exception, John Conroy's article in the Chicago Reader, never followed up on the story, especially when Bernardin arrived in town as seventh archbishop of Chicago, Warden related a conversation he had with a former Jesuit priest who was religion editor of a local paper. "Gee, you strip this of the rhetoric," the ex-priest said, "and what Greeley was trying to do was an admirable thing. He wants to liberalize the Church. That's our goal." "This," Warden added by way of explanation, "is the goal of Bernardin, Hesburgh, and a lot of liberal Catholics." Since it is congruent with the goals of the media, the media don't press the cardinal on the issue.
After saying on his tape of November 15, 1975 that he was going to spread rumors at the Vatican concerning Cody's imminent demise, Greeley then paid a visit to Sebastiano Cardinal Baggio, prefect for the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and then another visit to then Father, now Monsignor, Richard Malone. Of the latter meeting, Greeley said, "I began to plant my rumor with Malone that Cody is already placed and just waiting for the announcement. We'll see how far the rumor spreads." On November 20, 1975, just five days after the idea first occurred to Greeley, he and Malone met with Bishop Ernest Primeau, director of Villa Stritch, the place where bishops and cardinals from the United States stay when they're in Rome. During the course of the meeting, again according to Greeley's own tapes,
Malone mentioned to Primeau that I had claimed to have heard from Baggio that Cody was finished. I promptly piped up and said, "Oh, no. I didn't say it was Baggio." Now all I had to do is say, "Look, it wasn't Baggio," and that, of course, confirmed their suspicions it was.
Greeley concludes the incident by saying, "Now, given sufficient time, energy and unscrupulousness, all of which I don't have, I could just stay here and finish the man just by continuing to spread the rumor."
The Greeley/Bernardin plot remains one of the most bizarre and least explained episodes in recent Catholic history. On November 23, 1975, Greeley had dinner with the then Catholic theologian Hans Küng, during which "Küng and I decided...that in the immortal words of Richard J. Daley, 'We godda organize da voters.' We decided that if anyone is going to rig the next papal election, it just might as well be us." The next day Greeley resolved to get in contact with Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., the president of the University of Notre Dame to enlist his help in the matter. "One of the first things I'll do when I get back is to call Hesburgh and say, 'Ted, you want in on the wiring of the papal enclave?'"
The chain of events which was eventually described in the article published in the Chicago Lawyer by Rob Warden did not, however, begin with him. Two other writers who had failed to get their stories published began work on the story over a year before Warden's account came out. Both writers had one thing in common: Andrew Greeley.
In March of 1980 Carlton Sherwood had just completed what was to become a Pulitzer-prize winning series on the shady financial dealings of a Polish-based group of monks who had solicited funds to build a shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa north of Philadelphia. Sherwood's editor at the Gannett News Service suggested a story on John Cardinal Cody, the beleaguered ordinary of Chicago. When Sherwood protested that he didn't know where to begin, the editor gave him a Tucson, Arizona phone number. The number belonged to Andrew Greeley.
In March of 1980 Sherwood visited Greeley in Tucson and was told a story about shady archdiocesan finances and that the cardinal had a woman friend. As a result of the meeting Sherwood decided to take on the story and made plans to go to Chicago. Greeley at the time was in the middle of writing The Cardinal Sins, the book that would be his first best seller.
During that same March, Greeley had had another journalist visitor as well. James Winters, then the young managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine had spent four days interviewing Greeley in Tucson for a profile he was planning to write on the author priest. Winters got on well with Greeley, so well in fact that Greeley gave the young journalist a list of people to interview and permission to enter Greeley's archives at Rosary College in Chicago. When Winters opened the archives on July 7, 1980 he found, according to John Conroy's account published in the Chicago Reader, "18 cardboard file boxes" which included transcripts of daily memos and diary entries made during trips to Rome while engaged in research on the book which eventually was published as The Making of the Popes 1978. In addition to the excerpts which were eventually published in the Chicago Lawyer a little over a year later, the material included a report by Greeley of lunch in Rome with then Archbishop Bernardin of Cincinnati. Bernardin said that Archbishop Jean Jadot, apostolic delegate to the United States, had compiled a dossier on Cody but was unable to remove Cody from Chicago because Cody had influential friends in Rome. As a result of that conversation, Greeley concluded that "only the worst kind of public scandal" would remove Cody from office. This he felt could be orchestrated through a newspaper exposé if "we turn an investigative reporter loose on the archdiocese of Chicago, a really good one mind you, maybe some son of a bitch from out of town, and tell him to blow the whole thing wide open...."
Sensing that he was now on to a major story, Winters contacted James Andrews of the Universal press syndicate and Archbishop Bernardin of Cincinnati, telling the latter that he wanted to interview him about the plot to rig the papal election. On July 29, 1980 Greeley received calls from both Bernardin and Andrews informing him of Winters' intentions. When Greeley called Rosary College, he was informed that Winters had been given the key to the Xerox machine, something which "struck more terror in my heart," he was to say later on.
Greeley then instructed his lawyer to write to Winters telling him he had no right to the materials in the archives and that he should return them immediately. Winters responded by saying that the confidentiality of the documents had ceased the moment they had been placed in the Rosary College archives. Faced with an impasse, Greeley drove to South Bend in early August of 1980 and had dinner with the then president of Notre Dame, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., who pressured Winters to return the material to Greeley. According to Winters' account of his meeting with Hesburgh, Hesburgh handed him a column, one that was never published, in which Greeley resigned from the priesthood because of the damage he had done to his family and friends. Eventually Winters agreed to return the material to Rosary College - much to the relief of Hesburgh and Greeley. He did not tell them, however, that he had retained copies of what he had borrowed.
In early August Carlton Sherwood got a call from Andrew Greeley informing him that the story that Winters was planning to do based on the material from the Greeley archives at Rosary College would ruin the investigation on Cody. Greeley encouraged Sherwood to talk to Winters, who received a call from Sherwood and agreed to meet with him at South Bend's airport early the next morning. During the course of the conversation, Winters revealed what he found in the tapes, including Greeley's desire to "turn an investigative reporter loose on the archdiocese of Chicago." Whereupon Sherwood said, "That is me. I'm Greeley's hired gun. I'm Greeley's investigative reporter.."
Suddenly with the meeting of Sherwood and Winters, the complexion of the story changed. Now, it seemed, Sherwood was no longer involved in exposing a story of financial and possibly sexual corruption. He was part of the story himself. He was being used by a priest to bring down his archbishop. But there was more to it than that. The priest was evidently in league with other members of the hierarchy, specifically Archbishops Bernardin and Jadot. During the course of their conversation, Winters told Sherwood that "Deep Purple," the person to whom Greeley dedicated The Making of the Popes 1978 was in fact Archbishop Bernardin. Greeley was evidently not alone in his plotting to bring down Cody. As a result of what he learned in his meeting with Winters at the South Bend airport, Sherwood decided to confront Bernardin. In August of 1980, he flew to Cincinnati.
In his recently published biography of Cardinal Bernardin, Eugene Kennedy does his best to place the blame for the conspiracy on Greeley's shoulders. Describing Sherwood's getting wind of Greeley's machinations as a result of his meeting with Winters, Kennedy writes that "A fragile balloon of accusation, with Bernardin's name painted on its side, had rapidly been pumped full of air heated by paranoia and sent floating down the Ohio River toward Cincinnati," an account which is neither accurate history nor accurate geography. Kennedy then gives his version of the meeting between Bernardin and Sherwood:
When Bernardin was told a few days later, that a reporter had called, asking to speak to "Deep Purple," it was natural for him to wonder if that strange moment of engulfment by the fevered Roman plotting had not arrived sooner than he had thought. He would not panic, he reminded himself, but neither would he postpone the confrontation with the inquiring media for which he had already prepared himself. He accepted the call, and recognizing Sherwood as the reporter who had investigated the mercenary Pennsylvania monks, agreed to meet with him at his local motel. Bernardin drove himself to the meeting place, determined to put an end to any notion that he had participated in the chimera of conclave manipulation.
Sherwood, relishing the moment in which he expected to uncover the truth about Bernardin's role in the plot to get Cody, dealt aggressively with the somewhat uneasy but resolute archbishop. "I want to know everything," Sherwood said, lighting a cigarette, flipping open his notebook and settling into his chair as slyly confident as the television detective Columbo (194-5).
Bernardin, according to Kennedy's version of the meeting, faced the cocky reporter down; he "stood firm with the truth as he knew it." He
faced the complex accusations with equanimity and the confidence born of his understanding that he was speaking the truth. He closed the door of the motel room more at peace with himself. The ghost of the Greeley papers had broken into his life and he had withstood the specter as effectively as possible. Inside the room, Sherwood poured himself a drink. "God damn it," he said of the meeting later, "I didn't get a thing out of him" (196).
There is not a footnote in Kennedy's book, so it is difficult to know what Kennedy is using for sources; however, we know that Kennedy is aware of John Conroy's already mentioned account in the Chicago Reader because he cites Conroy by name 10 pages before the above account of the meeting between Sherwood and Bernardin. Kennedy however gives the reader no idea that an alternate version of the meeting is available, nor where the reader can find that version. Kennedy also fails to explain why Cardinal Bernardin would accept a phone call for "Deep Purple" if he were not in fact that person. Given Sherwood's account of the meeting as told to Conroy, it is not hard to understand why Kennedy would rather that the reader not know where to get a copy. According to Sherwood's account, the meeting went somewhat differently than the way described by Kennedy. "I flew to Cincinnati," Sherwood recounts,
checked into the Holiday Inn, called Bishop Bernardin. I was told he wasn't there. I said, "Well, give him this message. I want to talk to Deep Purple." Three minutes later, Bernardin called back. He said, "What is it?" I told him who I was, and he knew of me because of the Pulitzer - I had raised bloody hell with the Catholic Church with the stories I had done. I said "I want to talk to ya. I want to talk to ya about Deep Purple. I want to talk to ya about this whole thing." I said, "Do you want me to come to your residence?" and he said, "No, no, no, no no." He says "I'll come out to you." It was a hot day, it was 85 degrees, I had to have the door open of my room. And he came dressed in an overcoat and civilian clothes and sunglasses and a hat, like some kind of character out of a spy book. Anyway, he sat down and we had an hour-and-a-half, two hour conversation. I said, "I want to know what the story is here with the Greeley tapes. I want to know what your involvement is with the Vatican investigations of Cody, and I want to know everything." And he got real pale, and he gave this long speech about how he was resigned to the fact that if he had to remain bishop of Cincinnati for the rest of his life, he was going to be happy with that. He didn't give a damn about his career in the Vatican anymore, forget it, he might just as well tell the whole thing.
So what he did, he sat there and gave me a half-hour, 45-minute confession. He led off the confession saying that even though he had been friendly with Greeley in 1974, 1975, and Greeley thought that he was very close friends with him; that he was ordered by the Vatican to befriend Greeley for two reasons: to keep a close rein on him - because Greeley caused Cody a whole bunch of grief in the early '70s, mid '70s, writing columns - and also to feed Greeley certain information to get out publicly. And he hated Greeley's guts, couldn't stand him, but he was under instruction from Rome. The apostolic delegate from Washington, which is like the Vatican ambassador, is a guy named Jean Jadot at the time, and he was taking his orders from Jadot and he [Bernardin] said that he also helped compile two dossiers on Cody at various times, one in 1976, I think, and the other in 1978, and that he did indeed feed Greeley, he was Deep Purple, he fed Greeley all his information. And he confirmed that the Vatican had warned Cody, "One more scandal and it's out the door."
Bernardin in response to a request from Conroy confirmed that the meeting took place; however, added that "The statements attributed to me are grossly distorted and do not merit credibility." However, he, like his biographer, fails to explain why he would take a call asking for Deep Purple, and further why he would agree to a meeting of this sort in the first place. But beyond that, what else would the bishop and the reporter have talked about during their meeting? Greeley has subsequently issued what his press agent June Rosner has described as a "private memorandum" on the Kennedy biography in which he accuses Kennedy of lying at various points. Rosner refused to send a copy of the memorandum to Fidelity, nor would Greeley agree to an interview. Greeley has issued no statement on the Conroy article or on Sherwood's account of his meeting with Bernardin.
Shortly after his meeting with Bernardin, Sherwood called Greeley and relayed what had transpired. According to Sherwood's account, Greeley was "devastated." The information "really brought him to his knees," according to Sherwood.
He started moaning, couldn't believe it. After that he got really pissed. It turns out, as I suspected and Bernardin confirmed, Greeley was being used, we were all being used. I was being used to get the Sun-Times on the story. Greeley was being used by Bernardin and the Vatican to get me or somebody else on the story to get the Sun-Times on the story.
Sherwood's account in the Conway article is the most plausible explanation of one of the major turnabouts in the whole story, namely, Greeley's 180 degree turnabout in his relations with Bernardin. During the mid to late '70s Bernardin was in Greeley's words "the great man himself." By the time Greeley gets around to writing his autobiography, roughly 10 years later, the relationship has cooled considerably. In Confessions of A Parish Priest, Greeley writes that he had learned two lessons - "never trust priests, and never trust bishops. Unfortunately for me, one of the bishops I had learned to distrust during the priesthood study later cultivated my friendship, and I began to trust him again. Then he became archbishop of Chicago and I realized I had swung on a curve ball twice" (295). According to Greeley's interpretation of the relationship, he was to be rehabilitated as a priest under the Bernardin administration in Chicago. "Archbishop Bernardin," he relates again in his autobiography, "once said to me when he knew he was going to be archbishop of Chicago that he would not be able to make me part of his administrative structure but that he would see I became an honored and respected member of the Archdiocese." By the time Greeley wrote these lines the only emotion left to feel was that the rehabilitation wasn't going to happen, certainly not under Bernardin anyway.
Kennedy, as he does so often in his biography, gives an account of the affair whose main purpose is to absolve Cardinal Bernardin of any wrongdoing in the matter.
Greeley, the Gannet reporter said at the time, had grown increasingly bitter at Bernardin for what he somehow construed as the archbishop's ongoing betrayal of him. Everything was really Bernardin's fault because of the way the prelate had seemed to befriend him when he was really monitoring him.
The passage is significant for a number of reasons. Like the rest of Kennedy's book it is calculated to put Bernardin in the best possible light, but even in doing that it reveals a, shall we say, duplicitous side to the cardinal. Greeley clearly felt that then Archbishop Bernardin had taken an interest in him and in his work and was clearly flattered by the attention. Bernardin, however, had, it seems, other motives, according to even Kennedy's version of the story. The befriending was really a screen behind which Bernardin could "monitor" the controversial priest from Chicago. Bernardin, even according to the fawning interpretation rendered by Kennedy, was functioning as a double agent. Again, Sherwood's account seems the most plausible: Bernardin was using Greeley. Once Greeley found out about it, he was, to use Sherwood's word, "pissed." It's hard to feel much sympathy for someone as Machiavellian as Andrew Greeley, but one can at least understand how he could feel used, even if he in the process was using others to attain his own ends. It reminds one of the account Solzhenitsyn gave of Stalin's reaction to Hitler invading Russia. Stalin was stunned. Hitler was the only person he ever trusted.
Kennedy, as one has come to expect, puts his own spin on the story of the break between Greeley and Bernardin, in describing the aftermath of the publication of "The Plot to Get Cody" in the Chicago Lawyer, Kennedy writes,
In one of the double agent roles that Sherwood relished, he was back in touch with the priest writer shortly after Greeley returned to the United States in the third week of October. Greeley, as Sherwood later related to John Conroy, had already embraced the Gannet investigator's conspiracy theory. "After that," Sherwood said of the priest, "he got really pissed....Greeley was being used, we were all being used. I was being used to get the Sun-Times on the story. Greeley was being used by Bernardin and the Vatican to get me or somebody else on the story to get the Sun-Times on the story."
The quote, of course, is the one already cited from Conroy's Chicago Reader article. Kennedy, however, has shifted the time the incident occurred from August of 1980, which is the date Conroy and Sherwood give, to October of '81, which was after the whole story had broken. Assuming that there is something more at work here than sloppy scholarship, why would Kennedy want to change the date when Greeley "embraced the Gannet investigator's conspiracy theory"?
The change may have to do with Greeley's first big selling novel, The Cardinal Sins, probably the most crucial document in the whole Bernardin/Greeley saga. In his autobiography, Greeley says flatly, "in the summer of 1979 I wrote The Cardinal Sins." In his account, Conroy writes that "Sherwood met Greeley in Tucson in late March 1980. At that time Greeley was either working on or finished with The Cardinal Sins...." The novel, however, wasn't published until the Spring of 1981, which means that even if it had been written in '79, it could have been revised following Greeley's disillusionment with Bernardin, which occurred, according to the Conroy scenario, in August of 1980. According to the time frame in Conroy's scenario, which is more believable than Kennedy's, Greeley could have changed the novel to suit his new found disillusionment with Bernardin; whereas according to the Kennedy scenario, this was not possible. The Kennedy version allows an exculpation of Bernardin in a way that the Sherwood version does not. But exculpation from what?
The Cardinal Sins is a thinly-veiled rom a clef / priest buddy novel about the lives of two priests. Kevin Brennan and Patrick Donahue grow up together, go to the seminary together and later become priests together in the same archdiocese. Kevin, unlike Father Greeley, studies psychology instead of sociology, but after that the similarities begin to pile up. "I'm convinced," says the fictional Fr. Brennan sounding a lot like the priest who wrote the novel, "that in the years ahead a bishop will need trained social scientists on his staff." Father Brennan also finds success in the publishing world. In describing his first book, "a huge success," Fr. Brennan tells us: "I'd found a new vocation that brought money, acclaim, a national audience, and animosity from my fellow clergy." "Clerical reviewers," Fr. Brennan writes, adopting the whiny tone one often finds in Fr. Greeley, "tore my books apart, mostly through personal attacks on me, though the secular reviewers thought they were fine" (216). At another point in the novel, Fr. Brennan writes that "I wrote too many books, made too much money, was not part of the parish structure, and was known to be anathema to the cardinal."
The cardinal in question is Cardinal O'Neil. Like Cardinal Cody, O'Neil is the sixth archbishop of Chicago. The similarities, however, don't end there. Like the stories that Greeley had been feeding to Sherwood and the reporters at the Sun-Times, Cardinal O'Neil has a woman friend. "Her name," one of the characters tells an incredulous Father Brennan,
is Margaret Johnson. They've been together for twenty-five years. She's been in every diocese where he's been. Claims to be a cousin, but there's no real blood relationship. He owns a real-estate business with her son. She's got an apartment over on the drive. They talk on the phone every day. He's with her almost every night.
The fictional Margaret Johnson, who in addition to the above also had a home in Florida, has a lot in common with the real-life Helen Dolan Wilson, who was linked with Cody in the Sun-Times exposé. According to Gene Mustain, the man who wrote the exposé,
Helen Wilson spent a lot of time up here in Chicago and allegedly worked for the church, lived in Lake Point Tower - probably the most expensive apartment building in Chicago at the time. Had a lotta jewels, lotta furs, took a lot of European vacations, had fancy cars and kids in college, and lived quite well. Had a home in Boca Raton [Florida], apartment in Chicago, apartment in Saint Louis. A woman who had never worked in any other job besides secretary to her church, for which she was never paid more than a few thousand dollars a year.
Andrew Greeley not only knew the information; he was the source of the information, at least as far as Carlton Sherwood was concerned, and he spent his time egging on both Sherwood and the Sun-Times by claiming that the one was going to get the scoop on the other. Carlton Sherwood claims "that Father Greeley would call periodically and tell him what the Sun-Times was doing: 'You're gonna have to get movin,' he'd say, 'because they've got the Boca Raton stuff.' Or 'they got Mrs. Wilson down pat.'"
In the end the allegations of sexual impropriety were never substantiated, and reporter Mustain of the Sun-Times expressed some regret that this angle of the story received the publicity that it did. But by then Mustain was expressing regrets, Cody was dead, the grand jury had been called off, and the story was pretty much history.
Cardinal O'Neil, like Cardinal Cody, was also accused of financial malfeasance. In The Cardinal Sins, O'Neil "lost four million dollars last year from the funds of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops" which prompted the IRS to investigate. Greeley claimed that Cody had lost around the same amount of money by investing in the Penn Central railroad just before it went bankrupt. According to Greeley's fictional version of the Chicago archdiocese, the O'Neil/Cody character was vulnerable to blackmail because of his relationship with the Johnson/Wilson woman. "I'm sure," one priest tells Brennan, "there's money being stolen right from under his eyes."
In order to save the diocese from financial malfeasance and staunch the flow of money into Mafia coffers, Father Brennan, not unlike Father Greeley, involves himself in a plot to topple the cardinal. He first goes to Archbishop Raffaelo Crespi, who in name at least resembles Archbishop Pio Laghi, the current Pro Nuncio. His appearance differs, however. Crespi, unlike Laghi, is "a short fat man....His squat figure, dark skin, and low forehead made me think of the stereotype of the mob hit man." (In his autobiography Greeley accuses the press of anti-Italian bigotry in scrutinizing the finances of 1984 vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.) Needless to say, Crespi refuses to take Brennan's allegations seriously. "Why," he wonders, "should I take a discredited priest like you seriously?" This causes Brennan to take his case higher up in the organization. He flies to Rome and meets with Archbishop Giovanni Benelli, who is described as "the chief of staff of Paul VI." Benelli reassuringly tells Greeley that "Crespi is a fool" and that they are aware of the situation in Chicago, including "the drunken driving arrest" involving O'Neil and his girlfriend. But in exasperation Benelli adds that nothing can be done because "His holiness was terribly hurt when he was sent by Pius XII to Milan. He is most reluctant to do the same thing to anyone else." But after Brennan blows up at him claiming that "millions of dollars are stolen, lives are ruined, and Chicago is turned into an ecclesiastical wasteland," Benelli relents and obligingly asks Father Brennan what he should do. "First of all," Brennan replies as if he has been waiting for the question all along, "appoint Bishop Donahue as visitator for finances."
So as a result of the convenient death of Cardinal O'Neil and Father Greeley's (I mean Fr. Brennan's) machinations, his friend Patrick Donahue is appointed as seventh archbishop of Chicago, which is coincidentally also the position that Cardinal Bernardin occupied in the history of the archdiocese as well. Patrick Donahue, we are told, "came to Chicago like a warm southwest wind at the end of a bitter winter." He was a "handsome, progressive, charming, democratic archbishop." At another point he tells one of the characters that "I'm a damn good archbishop.... One of the best in the country." And then Greeley goes on to inform us what he means by good: "You couldn't find a more democratic, responsible, progressive diocese in the world."
The advent of Cardinal Donahue, however, does not mean smooth sailing for the king-maker and eminence grise, Father Brennan, who gets called down to the chancery office for a chat with the new archbishop, "What do you think of the new Chicago?" the liberal Cardinal Donahue wants to know. "Public accountability for funds, merit promotion, democratic decision-making, consultation with the laity, spiritual renewal. Can you name a better post-Vatican Council diocese in the country?" Brennan, however, is unimpressed. He, like Father Greeley, is working at a psychological research institute "independent of the university." Like Father Greeley, Father Brennan is the victim of anti-Catholic "bigotry" at the hands of the University of Chicago, and now he just wants to be left alone writing books and doing research where "I get grants larger than the archdiocese could imagine." Donahue, however, reacting to pressure, wants Brennan to quit writing and come and work for him. "You don't give me much choice, Kevin. I'm going to have to order you to leave the research institute and come on my staff. I will issue that order in the name of holy obedience."
In order to give orders like this, one has to deal from a position of strength, but it seems that the democratic cardinal has one important weakness. He, in the words of one of the novel's characters, has "never been able to keep his pants zipped." At another point, the cardinal confesses, "I'm probably more of a homosexual than anything else" (288), and Father Brennan is in the fortunate position of knowing the details and being ready to make use of them to maintain his position of financial and professional independence in the archdiocese. Father Brennan, in other words, threatens Bishop Donahue with blackmail.
"Kevin..." the seventh archbishop of Chicago sputters, "how dare you-"
"Shit, Pat," the Greeley character responds,
I dare anything," I finished the port and rose from my chair. "I don't want anything from you. Just leave me and my work alone. That's all. Don't bother me and I won't go after you. But try messing with me once more and your entire dossier will be on Benelli's desk quicker than you can say 'red hat.'"
"Dossier?" he said.
"Every single love affair of yours, from Stanley Kokoleck and the waitress in Mundelein on down. All in elaborate detail."
The cardinal is, of course, completely unmanned by the threat of blackmail, for even if the dossier is nonexistent, the actions Brennan describes are not.
"You wouldn't, you couldn't," Donahue mutters, "now a hollow shell." But Fr. Brennan would and could and leaves the office with the threat still open: "You better be the best goddamn archbishop in this country," he tells Donahue, "even after this public relations honeymoon of yours is over. If you start blowing things, I'll send my dossier on to the authorities just for the pure hell of it."
So at the heart of The Cardinal Sins one finds not so much the plot against Cody although it is certainly there, but rather the blackmail threat against Cody's successor. As of 1980 when The Cardinal Sins was being written or at least being readied for publication, Andrew Greeley had a lot in common with Kevin Brennan. Up until he received the call from Carlton Sherwood in August of that year, he could consider himself king-maker in Chicago. Cody was on his way out; the investigation that was going to ruin him was underway. Bernardin was on his way in, and Bernardin had been playing along with Greeley for years now, feeding him inside information as "Deep Purple." But one phone call destroyed all that. After talking to Sherwood, it was clear that Greeley was being used by Bernardin and Jadot. For all Greeley knew Bernardin might have been working for the Vatican too although there is no evidence to support that thesis, which meant that as soon as he got to Chicago, the double agent Bernardin would turn on Greeley and be the Vatican's instrument in silencing him.
The threat to Greeley was real enough. Rome wanted him disciplined. Silvio Cardinal Oddi, prefect of the clergy at the time, in fact asked Bernardin, once he became archbishop of Chicago, to do something about Greeley, but nothing happened. From Greeley's point of view, the simplest way to deal with this impending threat was to make a counter-threat of the sort that got floated in The Cardinal Sins. Since it was a work of fiction, it could be passed off as one more of Greeley's fantasies, the excuse he gave much less plausibly as the justification for the tapes that winters discovered at Rosary College. However, as we have already shown, The Cardinal Sins is a very transparent work of fiction. One needn't be a genius or a literary critic to draw the connections between Greeley's fictions and real life. In fact, in subsequent works Greeley has encouraged this sort of speculation. In the paperback edition of his autobiography, he says at one point that "Kevin Brennan speaks for me in The Cardinal Sins" when he defends celibacy. "My sister Mary Jule Durkin," he writes at another point in the same book, "claims that I am Kevin Brennan in The Cardinal Sins 20 percent of the time, and I would like to have been Kevin 40 percent of the time." In the hardbound edition of the same book, Greeley describes a conversation he had with Cardinal Bernardin:
When he was still archbishop of Cincinnati, Joseph Bernardin asked me apropos of The Cardinal Sins, first of all, whether Patrick Donahue was based on him. I assured the archbishop he was not the model for Patrick, unless he had been a lot busier than I thought he had.
The passage is not unlike the one we have already quoted in which Greeley claims that "perverse sexuality" will be to the Bernardin Archdiocese what financial corruption was to the Cody Archdiocese. "I hasten to add," Greeley then hastens to add in the former passage, "that I do not question the Cardinal's own sexual orientation. (Some who do not know him but are aware of the prevalence of it in Chicago do have their doubts.)" Both passages with their qualifying clauses "unless..." "Some who do..." are masterpieces of innuendo. Both insinuate the very suspicion they purport to deny.
Even Eugene Kennedy's rabidly pro-Bernardin biography does little to dispel the uneasy feeling around the blackmail at the heart of The Cardinal Sins. Kennedy cites a "pre-football game president's luncheon at Notre Dame" during which Father Hesburgh takes a break from talking with Norman Mailer in order to address one priest's concern that "in Greeley's novel, The Cardinal Sins, the real villain was not the character loosely based on Cody but rather the sibling figure, the man who in the book became archbishop of Chicago despite his polymorphous perverse sexual activity." In other words, Joe Bernardin, although Kennedy can't bring himself to mention the name. "Perhaps," the unnamed priest continues, "Father Greeley's target was Bernardin, the sibling figure - they're the same age and Joe is scheduled for the job Andy has always wanted - maybe he unconsciously wanted to prevent that all along." Hesburgh, in true presidential fashion, "shook his head grimly" and pronounced Greeley "a loose cannon." "I don't think anybody takes him seriously," Hesburgh opines.
Kennedy then goes on to lend credence to the belief that Greeley was in fact threatening Bernardin because Bernardin was in fact threatening him.
Twice invoking other Chicagoans as intermediaries, Greeley sent peculiar messages to Bernardin, half threatening him, half denouncing him as only "marginally better than Cody." Bernardin could only save himself, he intimated, through cooperating with Sherwood who had the goods on the archbishop from the interview in the summer of 1980. Cooperate, Greeley suggested, and Sherwood would give him what the priest called "source protection." Otherwise, the truth about the Cincinnati archbishop's conspiracy to use the press would come out. "Don't ever threaten me again," Greeley wrote in this message from mid-December....
The passage raises more questions than it answers. Did Bernardin in fact threaten Greeley, as the passage indicates? Then, why? What was the threat? Which mid-December are we talking about? If we're talking about December of 1980, that was before The Cardinal Sins was published, which lends credence to the thesis that Greeley was making a counter-threat in his novel.
The net result of all of the charges and countercharges is that an uneasy truce has descended over the archdiocese of Chicago, broken only by the efforts to dispel the notion that there is any problem at all. Kennedy's recent book is an example of this. By attempting to prove so strenuously from the outset that Bernardin was simply "an innocent bystander" in the whole affair, he does nothing more than raise our suspicions that the opposite is the case. Eugene Kennedy doth protest too much, and Cardinal Bernardin's credibility is the chief loser in this exercise in sycophancy.
The result in Chicago is a stand-off. Greeley remains in ecclesiastical limbo. He is denied the recognition he craves; the archdiocese turns down his gifts, but by the same token Bernardin thwarts Rome's attempts to exert discipline. Greeley gets to say Mass and preach at the parish of his buddy Leo Mahon, but without an official assignment from the archdiocese. The scandal continues: Greeley gets to go on writing dirty novels. The situation is pretty much the state of schism as Gagnon described it in his letter to [a Chicago attorney]. And that after all is pretty much the strategy described in Kennedy's book, and pretty much the strategy which Bernardin has articulated for himself. On December 14, 1987, Bernardin, who was described by the New York Times as "a liberal bishop sometimes seen as being at odds with Cardinal O'Connor," defended the controversial bishops' document "The Many Faces of AIDS," which permitted instruction in the use of condoms "if presented within the context of Roman Catholic teaching" on marriage. "I'm particularly pleased with the document," Bernardin said, "because in my opinion it brings together two crucial components: it is faithful to the Catholic doctrinal and moral tradition and it is sensitive to the human dimensions of the issue."
The quote is quintessential Bernardin. It epitomizes the man who has made a career out of serving two masters - the folks at home who want the Church to liberalize its views on sex and the folks at the Vatican who expect the bishops to hold the line on matters of doctrine and discipline. This is not to say the two camps are so easily delineated - there are, for example, plenty of people in Chicago who want the cardinal to hold the line just as much as the Vatican does - but for a man who defines himself as the great placater - though not in those terms, of course - the example will suffice.
Kennedy's adulatory account of how Bernardin handled the Humanae Vitae crisis orchestrated by Fr. Charles Curran from his base in the theology department at Catholic University in 1968 describes the same strategy in slightly different terms. "Bernardin," Kennedy writes,
aware of the explosive nature of the Washington situation, succeeded, within a day, of getting the telephonic approval of the body of American bishops for a restrained statement that underscored the authority of the pope while respecting the consciences of believers.
Conscience, as with dissenters in general, becomes a code word in Kennedy-ese for laxity in matters sexual. At one particularly hilarious point in his biography, Kennedy describes the short and unhappy ecclesiastical career of then auxiliary bishop of Minneapolis - St. Paul, James V. Shannon. "The sensitive Shannon," Kennedy tells us, "chose the difficult path of conscience." To the uninitiated a word of explanation is necessary. What Kennedy means to say is that the bishop jumped ship and ran off with some woman after dissenting - for purely theoretical reasons, of course - from the Church's teaching on birth control and sexuality in general as set forth in Humanae Vitae. According to Kennedy, of course, the Church was to blame because it met this "sensitive" fellow's "misgivings about the birth control issue" with a "medieval response that doomed his ecclesiastical future." Why does Kennedy give such a skewed and defensive rendering of what became - among priests if not bishops - an all too common response to the Zeitgeist of the '60s? Well, it turns out that Kennedy "chose the difficult path of conscience" as well. Kennedy was formerly a Maryknoll priest who jumped ship to marry a former Maryknoll nun.
"Bernardin," Kennedy continues describing his handling of the crisis, "was deeply concerned about the maintenance of the pope's teaching authority. He would do everything he could to support it but he was keenly aware that forcing public confrontations on an issue as sensitive as birth control might diminish rather than enhance that authority." As a result Bernardin decided to find "some sensible compromise" which would 'respect both papal authority and the integrity of dissenting priests and scholars. According to Kennedy, Bernardin is the author of what one might call the American solution to the clamoring for sexual revolution within the Church. Bernardin, the great placater and consensus builder, created the ideal solution according to which both sides got what they wanted - sort of. The Vatican would have the consolation of one orthodox pronouncement after another coming from the American bishops. The dissenters on the other hand would know that nothing would ever be done to stop them in their dissent. or as Kennedy puts it, The American bishops repeatedly pledged their loyalty to the pope but dealt with birth control, as they do to this day, as a pastoral rather than a disciplinary matter. The issue gradually moved away from being a test of public authority in the church to being the proper concern of the theologically informed individual.
Well, as the subsequent history of Father Curran showed, things didn't quite work out that way, and it's not hard to understand why. The path of tacit acceptance was an option that had to do more with the expedience of certain American bishops, put in uncomfortable positions but who liked even less the discomfort of taking a clear stand, than with the demands of the Vatican or the feelings of Father Curran for that matter. Just before he was stripped of his credentials as a Catholic theologian, Curran was claiming that almost 20 years of uneasy silence and inaction in his case on the part of the American bishops was tantamount to tacit approval on their part of his theological positions.
The Bernardin position, as sketched out by Kennedy, namely, loyalty to the pope but dealing with birth control as a "pastoral matter," can be seen as either astute or duplicitous depending on your point of view. But no matter which point of view one represents there is always a residual ambiguity associated with the position. Take the question of schism, for example, the issue raised by Cardinal Gagnon. Is the Bernardin solution a way of avoiding schism, as Kennedy seems to indicate in his book, or is it an especially clever way of perpetrating it? On more than one occasion Cardinal Gagnon has criticized American bishops who come to the Vatican and tell the pope not to do anything lest the Church in this country rebel. Is that the strategy of weak people who want to avoid schism or clever people who want to perpetrate it? Each time one tries to answer the question, one is confronted with a radical and impenetrable ambiguity. "Archbishop Bernardin," said Father Carl Modell, someone who worked with him in Cincinnati, "would do what Rome wanted and would never say no directly." Whatever the motivation behind it, the strategy is especially suitable to someone who feels inclined to play the double agent.
So, for example, to give one more example of this sort of strategy in action, there was the long and laborious consultation on the laity in preparation for the synod of 1987. The culmination of the interminable information gathering sessions was a secret meeting at St. Mary's College outside South Bend where the bishops discussed their strategy. Cardinal Bernardin urged caution in urging for women's ordination. So the group instead agreed to ask for altar girls. "We can say whatever we want," Bernardin said, according to the account of one participant, "but then there are the consequences: look what happened to John Quinn in 1980." Quinn at the synod on the family had asked for a change in the Church's teaching on birth control and then in the face of the uproar his request created said that that wasn't really what he meant at all. Bernardin argued for the acceptance of altar girls in his language group at the synod, but when it became clear that the issue wasn't going to pass, quietly withdrew, leaving the less agile, people like Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, holding the bag (See "The Synod on the Laity Just Says NO to Altar Girls," Fidelity, December 1987, p. 32ff.).
The handling of the altar girl situation in Chicago was similar. The ambiguity persists. Bernardin stated that the Church prohibited the use of altar girls but the number of parishes using them increased from four to over a hundred in his administration. It was clear that the pastors who initiated the practice could do so with impunity. Was this a way of forestalling a break with the Church over an issue of minor significance? Or was it a sign that Church discipline had broken down and the Church in Chicago was pretty much on its own. Was it a shrewd tactical move to avoid schism or was it a sign that the schism had already taken place?
The same questions surround Bernardin's handling of the Call to Action conference in '76. The conference, which was sponsored by the Catholic bishops as part of the country's bicentennial celebration, was organized while Bernardin was president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. It purported to be a broad-based consultation, "the first time lay persons of all types sat down with scholars, bishops, and theologians to plan for the U.S. Church's future." The results of this "broad-based" consultation were similar to the consultation on the laity and on the pastoral on women. The broad base got cut off by those in charge of the microphones and those who summarized the resolutions of the committees. The results were predictable. Only those with an axe to grind against the Church got heard. As a result, the "21 month consultative process" decided that the Church wanted "ordination of women, married priests, remarried divorced Catholics spared excommunication, determination of conscience in birth control, a national arbitration board to control the bishops, [and] civil rights for gays." The broad base sounded pretty thin by the time the resolutions got formulated.
When it became clear that this was the sort of resolution that was going to be approved by the conference, Bernardin issued a statement criticizing the process, claiming that "special interest groups seemed to play a disproportionate role," and that the domination of these groups resulted in "a process and a number of recommendations which were not representative of the Church in this country and which paid too little attention to other legitimate interests and concerns." To many this sounded like a repudiation of the conference. Then a few days later in response to questions from reporters, Bernardin issued a statement to NC News service saying that he "did not repudiate the conference." The liberal National Catholic Reporter found his handling of the Call to Action dismaying, claiming that "Bernardin's critics accused him of 'foot dragging,'" citing "Bernardin's statements after the conference which many interpreted as criticism to blunt Detroit's impact" and "his selection of the task force, acknowledged as scarcely in sympathy with 'Call to Action.'" The task force included figures like Cardinal Carberry of St. Louis and Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia, who left the Call to Action meeting before it was over, claiming that it had been taken over by "rebels."
Thirteen years after the conference, Kennedy quotes Bernardin as saying, "I had to try to bring the whole thing together by avoiding selling out the Call to Action while making its work satisfactory to the Holy See." "Bernardin," Kennedy concludes describing the disappointing denouement to the Call to Action Affair:
succeeded, not without incurring criticism for himself and generalizing enormous and, in some cases, lasting disappointment in the hearts of some delegates, in defusing the gathering so that both the bishops and Rome could live with it. This was a classic example of Bernardin's acting in what he considered "the best interests of the church."
Virtually everyone would agree with Kennedy on one point at least: the gesture was "classic" Bernardin. As such, the enigma remains. The ambiguity surrounding both the act and the man remains in its most irreducible form. Whether things remain forever in this present state is something that no one can say for sure right now. By the time this report reaches the press, Bernardin will have given his deposition in [a well publicized] child abuse case. Whether that turns up any information which will resolve the enigma remains to be seen.
At the end of The Cardinal Sins a dejected Kevin Brennan gives the following description of the now Cardinal Patrick Donahue:He's a papier-mâché man, Sister, a walking inkblot. You saw him at the Call to Action meeting in Detroit. He repeated every liberal cliché in the books. Then he went to the bishops' meeting, helped to torpedo the recommendations of the conference, and got a red hat for a reward.
Three pages later, Cardinal Donahue wonders to the woman he has just had sex with, "How can it be good between us? .... I've got to live every minute knowing that Kevin can wipe out my career with a flick of his finger."
by Scott Ballor
The situation in many seminaries around the country is truly frightening. There are only a handful of authentically Catholic seminaries in the United States, and the rest are turning out a group of dissenters who will do more harm to the Faith and the faithful than good.
For two years, I was a seminarian attending the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. I found this to be a very liberal school; and frequently, I experienced teachings that were contrary to the official teachings of the Church and Catholic Tradition. I left the seminary after two years, because the school was not teaching authentic Catholicism. I will briefly outline here a few of the errors that I was subjected to in this school.
Before I get into the details, I think it is important to make one preliminary point. Just because someone has a Ph.D. does not necessarily mean that he is always correct, even in his field of study. Also, the value of any degree depends on the institution where the degree was granted. If someone obtains a degree from a liberal or dissenting institution, it is likely that he will be the same way. Some of these heretical schools are nothing more than diploma mills to boost other liberals to positions of power!
First of all, at Oblate School of Theology they require textbooks that are written by noted dissenters from Catholic teaching. In a Basic Theology course, the required text was Catholicism by Richard McBrien. This Book even received a warning from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. It was warned that this book should not be used in Catholic schools. Other required texts are by such noted dissenters as Hans Kung and Charles Curran!
In a Church History class, the professor made the claim that Jesus did not intend to found a hierarchical Church, and that there was no authority structure in the early Church. I reacted by quoting Sacred Scripture where Jesus tells Peter to "Feed my sheep," "You are Peter and upon this Rock I will build My Church," "You have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven." Im sure St. Peter would have understood this as having been given authority by Jesus Himself. After the rest of the class joined the confrontation, the teacher backed off his position. The reason that people claim that there was no hierarchy in the early Church is to attack and destroy todays Church structure. They dont like a Pope with authority!
I was also astonished at the claims made in the Fundamentals of Moral Theology Course. In the first week of school, the instructor led the class in a session of joking about and ridiculing the moral theology manuals of before Vatican II. It was a shameful display of mocking and lambasting the "Old Church." I was sickened! This is the same professor that recently commented about the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a homosexuality forum at the school. Where the catechism says that "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered," this professor stated that "the language used is tragic."
Later in the course we learned that it is impossible to sin if one is following his conscience. At this I made a challenge. I asked, "If someone is following their erroneous conscience that was malformed due to their own obstinate refusal to seek the truth, is it possible for an action based on this lax conscience to be sinful?" The response from the teacher was "No." The Catechism of the Catholic Church proves this "No" to be a false teaching. Section 1791 states, "This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin. In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits." Our future priests are learning to be in opposition to the teachings of the Church!
In a class titled Introduction to Supervised Ministry, we were required to read chapter eleven from a book called Sharing Faith, by Groome. A quote from this chapter is, "Maleness and mandatory celibacy as preconditions are countersigns to the sacramental function of priesthood and, I believe, are related expressions of sexism in the Church." Aaahhhh!! This is required reading for future priests! This reading was assigned, but no one ever asked me to read the Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone. Here our Holy Father declares "The Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Churchs faithful."
In a course on Eucharist, the main focus was showing the Mass as a meal or banquet. Very minor emphasis was given to the sacrificial aspect which is most important. Pope John Paul II wrote in his letter to the bishops entitled Dominicae Cenae that "The Eucharist is above all else a sacrifice." The liberals want to shelve any talk of sacrifice; yet, they give great emphasis to celebration and gathering together. The mass for them is little more than a dinner with a group of friends.
During each class session on the Eucharist, the instructor brought in a different type of bread to be passed around the classroom. This, I suspect, was to show us that it is much nicer to use real bread during a meal with friends rather than the flat hosts that are normally used at Mass. Each day the bread was different. One day it was a nut and raisin loaf, another day it was a cheese bread. On one day, we had rice cakes. The teacher said that "If Jesus had been born in China, we would be using rice at Mass." To recruit someone to pass the bread around, the instructor would often say, "Who wants to be the Deacon?" The Deacon? Buy saying this, he was associating our classroom meal with the Mass! The implication here is that a delicious bread would be appropriate at Mass. Maybe we could use little honey cakes during Mass to make the banquet more enjoyable! Wouldnt that be special. The only problem is that it directly violates the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and it renders the Eucharist invalid. However, this did not stop Oblate School of Theology from using little honey flavored crumb cakes at the regular Tuesday "Liturgy."
The Code of Canon Law states in section #924 that "the bread must be made of wheat alone and recently made so that there is no danger of corruption." The Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship wrote Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery in 1980. This document states that "the bread for the celebration of the Eucharist, in accord with the tradition of the whole Church, must be made solely of wheat, and in accordance with the tradition proper to the Latin Church, it must be unleavened. No other ingredients are to be added to the wheaten flour and water." It also states that "care must be given that it does not give rise to excessive fragments." Moreover, the General Instruction on the Roman Missal states that "the bread used for the Eucharist must have been recently made, from wheat only, and it must be unleavened." If we disobey these regulations and use honey crumb cakes, it is only a short step to further abuses. The next thing you might see is an attempted consecration of potato chips and Coke!
At this school, I experienced twisted truth in four other areas as well. These were the image of God, history, Tradition, and tolerance. When discussing the image of God, it is true that we all have our own particular attributes that we like to emphasize. Although I have heard God referred to in feminine terms at this school many times, I will jump to a more serious issue. One of the tricks of liberal modernists is to dethrone or humanize God, and make Him seem at our level. The hidden purpose for this is to make man into a god, the result of runaway pride.
In a class called Introduction to Spirituality, the instructor gave a long list of traits that are a result of seeing God as Transcendent (above or independent of creation) vs. God as Immanent (remaining in the world) Those who see God as Transcendent are prone to negative traits such as suffering, discipline, accepting rules, self denial, and emphasize "the cross." Those who see God as immanent have more positive traits such as holiness, freedom, sensitivity, authenticity, understanding, and they emphasize "the resurrection." He was, in effect, breaking the class of a Transcendent view of God.
The Professor of Moral Theology took this concept of putting God on mans level and man on Gods level one step further. After drawing a stick figure of a man on the blackboard, he then drew the word GOD next to the mans head rather than over it. He then said "Ill put God here so as not to put Him so far above us, not to have such a vertical view." He then taught us that instead of saying that "God created" (a static view), we should say that "God is creating" (dynamic) and that we are co-creators. The false notion here is that we, human beings, are like gods.
In the Church History course, the instructor chose to put a spin on history so that the Church would not seem as Divinely guided. One example of this is the slanted way that he presented the Emperor Constantine. The truth, that did not get presented, is that after Constantine had a vision from God and converted, the Church flourished due to his support and the Will of God. However, the instructor started with declaring the vision as dubious and saying that Constantine was never a practicing Christian. According to the instructor, Constantine only accepted Christianity for political gain. He said that "Constantine also had a vision of the Sun God; and, if Christianity hadnt won out, we would be worshipping the Sun God today. Without Constantines interference, maybe Christianity would be a minor, small religion today." These thoughts could only come from someone who either despises the institutional Church or denies Gods guidance of it.
In this school, I also experienced an intolerance for Catholic traditionalism. This stood like a huge contradiction to the repeated chants for openness to other ideas. In a class on Christology, the professor made the following outrageous statement. Tradition is the "living Faith of the dead" and traditionalism is the "dead Faith of the living." He said, "I dont know any traditionalists. I dont care to know them."
There are three terms that were frequently used at Oblate School of Theology. They are openness, tolerance and pastoral. Although never formally defined this way, it seemed to me as though they were used as follows:
Openness- We must be open to other perspectives including heretical ones.
Tolerance- We must tolerate deviations from our moral and doctrinal beliefs to the point of abandoning our beliefs.
Pastoral- Anything goes! Dont deny anything to anyone except the traditionalists.
At the Oblate School of Theology, I experienced some far-fetched notions that were aimed at destabilizing the foundations of the Church. In a Christology class, the instructor broadened the realm of the Apostles. Instead of only twelve Apostles, he implied that there were many more. He said that the term applied also to Timothy, Titus, Barnabus, Mary Magdalen as well as the women at the tomb. This gives a wrong impression of the Church. Instead of the bishops being the successors of the twelve Apostles, we all are successors! We are the Church! This is a truly dangerous notion, because it strikes at the heart of legitimate authority in the Church.
Another fundamental area where this school is slipping away from truth involves three related issues. They are relativism, false ecumenism, and the loss of the missionary imperative. Relativism says that there is no static truth. No one religion can be seen as the true Faith. False ecumenism puts all religions on an equal footing. It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you are a good person. Muslims should be faithful Muslims, Buddhists should be faithful Buddhists, Jews should be faithful Jews. Basically, all religions are good and can lead one to salvation. There no longer seems to be a drive to convert anyone to Catholicism! In effect, the Catholic missionary is obsolete. I was taught at Oblate School of Theology that missionaries of the past did great harm to peoples and cultures. It seems that, today, we do not want missionaries to convert anyone. We want to affirm their culture and respect their beliefs. The missionary today has become a glorified social worker.
The constant liberal bias of this institution forced me to stand up for the teachings of the Church. I could not bite my tongue any longer, and I knew that speaking out would lead to problems. I made a resolution that I would not continue to study in this type of environment. I told my superior that I had no intention of returning to this school next semester. This determination made me free to speak out, and the final straw came during the Church History course.
One of the texts that was used in this course was Dynamic Catholicism by Thomas Bokenkotter which is the worst possible book that could be used to explain anything Catholic. It is better used as a tool for anti-Catholicism! In the preface, the author writes "Caveat Emptor! This book is not for Catholics obsessed with orthodoxy...," as if this justifies attacking Church teachings.
The instructor was saying that early Christian lay people heard confessions, did baptisms, and celebrated Eucharist. They did the sacraments. When I asked him for evidence or proof of this, he said that I should read the book. I said, " I don't trust that book, because it is full of errors. That book should be burned." He then said, "Well if that is the way you feel, then maybe you should drop the class," and he pointed to the door. After hesitating I said, " I think I will stay to be a thorn in your side." As I expected, he reported the incident to the Academic Dean who, later, called me to her office.
In the dean's office, I told her that I reacted that way because I had already made up my mind to leave. I gave her many examples where the school failed to uphold the teachings of the Church; and I told her that a lot of other seminarians express the same things privately, but they are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals. The meeting ended when she asked if it would be all right if she spoke to my religious superior. I did not have a problem with that, because I had already told him that I was leaving. Within the next two weeks, I dropped all of my classes and received permission to leave the seminary. I have no regrets about leaving the seminary and the religious life, because now I am more free to speak out in defense of the Church. As a layman, I can be more effective in defending the Faith when it is attacked from within.
After leaving the school, I began writing a newsletter called Catholic Sense. I must have struck some sensitive nerves, because I received the following letter from the Academic Dean soon after. I am including it here with my response because it gives a good summary to the problems at the Oblate School of Theology.
My experience in the Oblate School of Theology was very upsetting and heart breaking. I feel sorry for any seminarian who is sent to this school. I
feel even more sorry for the people who go to a priest who was formed at this school. It is possible for a seminarian to be a good priest after attending this school; however, he would have to be a very special person with a solid grounding in the catechism before going there. I would also recommend that he hide his orthodoxy until after ordination. I knew a few of these good seminarians. I pray that they will "survive" this institution, and become holy priests.
Archbishop Weakland to Host Radio ShowArchbishop Rembert Weakland has been very vocal in his opposition to allowing the Catholic Radio Network to come into his Diocese. The radio network was founded by Fr. Joseph Fessio and John Lynch, and is designed to bring solid Catholic teaching through a radio ministry around the nation. Weakland has described the proposed radio network as divisive and narrow minded. As a counter-attack, his Excellency has launched his own radio show which will be aired simultaneously on a competing station. RCF has obtained a transcript of a portion of the first show, which uses a "call in" format. Here is that transcript.
CALLER 1: Bishop Weakland, I have been discussing the controversy of the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed with an Eastern Orthodox friend. He feels that this was an impermissible addition by the Catholic Church. Could tell us what the Church teaches on this issue.
R.W.: Oh, whatever you think is okay.
CALLER 2: Your Excellency, my son wants to move in with his girlfriend before getting married. I think this is wrong. Where does the Church stand on this?
R.W.: Oh, whatever he thinks is okay.
CALLER 3: Bishop, my daughter is starting to learn about the Sacraments in her CCD class. She wants to know why there are seven Sacraments.
R.W.: Seven, six, eight, whatever.
CALLER 4: Bishop Weakland, I am a teenager who has felt some homosexual longings. Do you think it's morally proper for me to act on these natural urges?
R.W. Oh, whatever you think is okay.
CALLER 5: Your Excellency, I'm concerned that my parish priest has been using rye toast to instead of an unleavened host for the Eucharist at Mass. Is this proper?
R.W.: Toast, pretzels, Pop Tarts, whatever.
CALLER 6: Bishop Weakland, I am in my 90's and planning my funeral arrangements. I would like to be cremated and have my ashes mixed with the concrete for a new driveway for my wife. Does the Church allow this?
R.W. Oh, whatever you think is okay.
CALLER 7: Bishop, when is the Pope infallible?
R.W. Whenever you think he is.
CALLER 8: Your Excellency, is fasting still required on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday?
R.W. Only if you're not hungry.
MODERATOR: We would like to thank Archbishop Weakland for sharing his time and knowledge with us here on Radio KMEM, "The Fuzzy Radio Station".
One Picture Speaks A Thousand Words / When the "good guys" do
James Cardinal Hickey
My name is Ted Huebner. I was born, raised, and still live in the Saginaw Diocese: where you were born and raised. I attended Catholic schools for twelve years in an era when orthodoxy was still taught to all students and from the pulpit on Sundays. The priests were always respected in the community as the representative of Christ on earth and as the pastor from the pulpit on Sunday and as a teacher when he visited the classroom for religious instruction. I have watched over the years since my graduation the defection of the clergy first and then the laity from the true teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Saginaw Diocese is in a shambles and from what I have witnessed taking place at parishes throughout the diocese, and that includes St. Mary's Cathedral in Saginaw, no one from the ranks of the hierarchy in the Church cares. How many souls will be lost because of the refusal of a priest, Bishop, Cardinal, or for that matter, a lay person to stand up for the true teachings of Jesus Christ but who allows false teaching and heresy to take place in the Saginaw Diocese.
On Sunday July 26, 1998, I was present at St. Mary's Cathedral for the 50th anniversary to the priesthood of Monsignor Murdock where a mass was celebrated for him. Several priests, two Bishops, Untener and Povish, were present, along with yourself, your Eminence. Jesus is supposed to be present in the tabernacle in this church. I found the sanctuary lamp burning but no one seemed to acknowledge that fact that this is God's house. Everyone talked, visited and moved around as if they were in a hall, including yourself, even directly in front of the tabernacle.
Several abuses that took place during this Mass, some of which I will mention:
-The Bishop did not wear a chasuble as celebrant and sat with the congregation.
-There were no crucifix or candles on or near the altar.
-The Gloria was not prayed, as this was a Sunday Liturgy.
-The Bishop offered the bread and wine in front of the altar without touching them. The lay people held them and proceeded to place them on the altar.
-No water was added to the wine.
-There was no washing of the hands.
-The bishop never removed his skull cap during the consecration, while you and Bishop Povish removed yours.
-The piano played from the offertory to the end of Mass, non stop.
-Baked communion bread, supposedly from the Bishop's recipe. Valid??
-Canon of the Mass was adlibed by the Bishop, adding his "Come Spirit..."
-Clumsy administration of the Eucharist, bringing you the chalice first.
-Lay person was holding the communion plate while the Bishop distributed Holy Communion.
-"Call to action" nun on the altar, distributing communion.
-There was no cleansing of the vessels after communion.
-There were 10 to 15 priests present and we had to use lay people on the altar, distributing holy communion, contrary to the recent teaching instruction from the Holy Father.
-Clapping repeatedly as if at an entertainment.
If we truly believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist on the altar, why do we choose to turn our backs on him, running all over the church at the sign of peace, leaving him alone on the altar?
If the baked bread used by Bishop Untener at communion was his recipe that he recommends, according to Canon Law, this would make the Mass invalid. I have enclosed a copy of his recipe.
Needless to say, witnessing this abusive mass was very upsetting for me. You, as a member of the hierarchy of the Church, could have done something about this. I repeat what I said earlier, HOW MANY SOULS WILL BE LOST BECAUSE SOMEONE REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE ERROR AND REFUSES TO ACT ON IT. You have the power to appeal to Rome to have the Diocese of Saginaw investigated and all this abuse of the Faith stopped. Why not, as a Cardinal of the Church and defender of Catholic Faith and Doctrine, do this for our Diocese and the Church?
In the hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Still to come
James A. Hickey was consecrated auxiliary bishop of the Saginaw Diocese
Portrait of a Collapsing Diocese"
Wanderer Sept. 5, 1974
On August 21st, 1968, the Saginaw News, a secular paper, carried a lengthy attack on the encyclical Humanae Vitae. That fact in itself was not remarkable, since newspapers all over America that Summer were pouring out a torrent of contempt for the Roman Catholic Church. What made the Saginaw publication special, rather, was the fact that the attack was endorsed and signed by eighteen priests active in the diocese. Perhaps on account of this treachery, their bishop, Stephen S. Woznicki, suffered a heart attack.
In the Nations capital that Summer, nineteen priests did a similar thing and were promptly suspended by Patrick Cardinal OBoyle. Many of the "Washington 19" were talented men, the sort who seemed destined for leadership roles in that archdiocese. But after the Cardinals unexpected intervention, their careers were broken. Many abandoned the priesthood. None, to this day, has a plum parish or a post of influence.
In Saginaw, however, Bishop Woznicki was unable to take a comparable action. Because of his heart attack, he was forced to resign the diocese within a matter of weeks. He died before the end of the year. The problem of disciplining the "Saginaw 18" fell to an administrator, Bishop Hickley (sic), who did nothing and so bequeathed the problem to a new bishop, Francis F. Reh. What did he do?
In a word (and to put it charitably):nothing.
In the years since that historic summer, six of the dissenters have left the priesthood of their own accord. Two more are in another diocese because of boundary changes, and two others have wandered to other parts of the country. That leaves eighteight public detractors of Catholic teaching still active in the Diocese of Saginaw. Let us see who they are. (The Wanderer goes on to elaborate...)
These are Saint Peter Damien's words lambasting the vice of sodomy: