NEWARK, New Jersey, August 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – After six priests anonymously gave accounts of a homosexual subculture in his archdiocese, Newark’s Cardinal Joseph Tobin has sent all priests a letter encouraging them to stay silent if approached by the media. In the same letter, he denied that anyone “has ever spoken to me about a ‘gay sub-culture’ in the Archdiocese of Newark.”
Tobin famously tweeted, “Nighty-night, baby. I love you,” and then said it was a message meant for his sister. He is one of the U.S. prelates who has endorsed Jesuit Father James Martin’s pro-LGBT book Building a Bridge. He also welcomed an “LGBT pilgrimage” to his cathedral and has said female cardinals are a possibility.
One of Tobin’s predecessors is the now-disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who this summer has faced numerous allegations of serial, decades-long sex abuse of boys and men. He resigned from the College of Cardinals, and his successors Tobin and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. have faced questions about how much they knew of McCarrick’s predation.
The Archdiocese of Newark is one of the New Jersey dioceses that paid settlements to former priest victims of McCarrick, on the condition those victims signed a confidentiality agreement.
An August 16 Catholic News Agency (CNA) article featured stories about McCarrick and other clerics from anonymous Newark priests.
“So well-known was McCarrick’s reputation, the priest said, that when McCarrick would accompany [Cardinal] Cooke to visit the seminary there was a standing joke that they had to ‘hide the handsome ones’ before he arrived,” the article explains.
McCarrick would put his hands on seminarians’ thighs and “invite young men to stay the night in the cathedral rectory in central Newark” as well as at his beach house.
According to the report, “many in the archdiocese say that the high numbers of ordinations [by McCarrick] came at a cost. One priest said that some graduating classes from the middle 1990s have seen nearly half of their members leave ministry, and concerns have been raised about the behavior of some of those who remain in ministry.”
The Newark priests told CNA that in their archdiocese, certain priests host cocktail parties that are “like something out of Sex in the City”:
One recalled that he attended a cocktail party, thinking he had been invited to a simple priests’ dinner. “I was led into the room to a chorus of wolf-whistles,” he said. “It was clear right away I was ‘on display.’”
Another priest told CNA that he was also invited to a party hosted by the priest. “They were all carrying big mixed drinks, pink ones, it was like something out of Sex in City.”
He recalled that after asking for a beer, he was told by his host, “you need to try something more girly tonight.”
All recounted overtly sexual conversation at the cocktail parties. “I was fresh meat and they were trying me out,” one priest said.
All three said they left quickly upon realizing what was going on. “Everyone was getting loaded and getting closer on the couches, I wanted out of there,” a priest told CNA.
“Everyone kept calling me a ‘looker’ and saying they had to ‘keep me around’ from now on,” a third Newark priest told CNA.
The archdiocese declined to answer questions related to those parties.
All three priests told CNA that while the experience was deeply unpleasant, they had seen similar behavior in Newark’s seminary.
“I would like to believe that the ‘anonymous sources’ were not, in fact, priests of the Archdiocese,” Tobin wrote. “As I have done on a number of occasions, I repeat my willingness to meet with any brother who wishes to share his concerns regarding allegations in the press or personal experience in our local Church.”
“If you are approached by media, I encourage you to refer them to Mr. Goodness,” Tobin continued, referring to a diocesan spokesman.
On June 24, 2018, Father Alexander Santora at the Archdiocese of Newark’s Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Hoboken, New Jersey celebrated the parish’s “first annual gay pride Mass.”
Tobin is scheduled to speak at the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families in Dublin this week. Cardinals O’Malley and Wuerl have both cancelled their appearances there in the midst of a flood of new sex abuse allegations and the Pennsylvania grand jury report that mentions Wuerl more than 200 times.