July 28, 2020

What is a priest worth? Latest Ted McCarrick news says it depends on the lawsuit


Catholicism, Julia Duin, Lawsuits, Sex, Sexual abuse, Vatican

There’s a book out there asking: “What is a Girl Worth?” Written by former gymnast Rachael Denhollander, it asks who is going to tell little girls that the abuse done to them years ago was monstrously wrong and that it actually matters that their perpetrators are punished.

There also needs to be a book asking “what is a priest worth?”

For two years now, we’ve been looking at the news reporting about the sex scandal that surrounded the now-former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and how “everyone” knew he was dallying with seminarians and sharing beds with them at his New Jersey beach cottage back in the 1980s.

After the news about McCarrick broke on June 20, 2018, it took the MSM a month to get all the major details together — and still they missed a few. This New York Times piece says the sexual activity that McCarrick carried on with his protégé Robert Ciolek stayed above the waist. The paper hinted in the next paragraph that another seminarian or young priest involved with McCarrick had endured far worse sexual abuse, but unless you knew how to read between the lines, you missed it.

But the late Richard Sipe, a Benedictine priest-turned-psychotherapist, had posted on his web site 10 years beforehand accounts of very R-rated sexual activity McCarrick foisted on his underlings. Many journalists read it, but we didn’t know how to prove it. At the time, the church attitude I picked up was that nothing happened at that cottage and that the seminarians and young priests involved should get over it.

The thought that some could be scarred sexually for life never occurred to anyone. Who could they talk about this with? Who’d believe them? Because of what had been done to them, they were abandoned to mull over some very dirty thoughts while at the same time berating themselves for not fighting back.

Finally, last week, a bunch of media, including a consortium of New Jersey newspapers, reported a juicy lawsuit against McCarrick that threatens to expose some of the nastier details. Written by Newark Star-Ledger reporter Ted Sherman on the site, the story was worth the wait.

He is known only as “Doe 14.”

Raised in a devout Catholic family, he attended St. Francis Xavier in Newark and Essex Catholic in East Orange in the Archdiocese of Newark, participating in church and youth activities.

And by the time he was a teenager, his lawyers say he was being groomed for a role in what they called a “sex ring” involving then-Bishop Theodore McCarrick, the 90-year-old now defrocked and disgraced former cardinal who was cast out of the ministry last year over decades-old sexual abuse allegations.

In a lawsuit, they charged other priests served as “procurers” to bring victims to McCarrick at his beach house on the Jersey Shore, where he “assigned sleeping arrangements, choosing his victims from the boys, seminarians and clerics present at the beach house,” and that they were paired with adult clerics.

At this point, allow me to note that I wrote something similar two years ago here at GetReligion, quoting from the Sipe website and other documents I had amassed about this scandal. I even named names of some of the priests involved, although I didn’t realize it was at the level of a “sex ring.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, attorneys for the now 53-year-old victim serving as the plaintiff in the lawsuit detailed a sordid, predatory scheme of sexual abuse involving McCarrick and other members of the clergy involving at least seven children, including Doe 14, that they said played out over dozens of years…

According to the lawsuit, much of what allegedly transpired occurred at a Sea Girt beach house that has been the focus of other complaints involving charges of abuse by McCarrick of seminarian students, who he allegedly would bring down to the Jersey Shore.

“McCarrick would creep into this kid’s bed and engage in criminal sexual behavior and whisper, ‘It’s okay,’” said Anderson.

Sherman mentioned names of other accused priests who participated in the abuse. For this story to come out in New Jersey is sweet revenge, in that I know folks at the Star-Ledger were aware of the rumors a decade ago. Like me, they were stymied by the victims’ refusals to go on the record.

Because the press conference (see the above video) was virtual, lots of media were listening.
Be sure to look at the video, as it has a photo of the beach house; the first time I’ve seen what it looks like. I actually drove to Sea Girt, the New Jersey town in which it’s located, back in 2009 in a fruitless search for the address.

The Washington Post gave us an organized list of the accused:

The accused clerics aside from McCarrick are: the Rev. Anthony Nardino, Brother Andrew Thomas Hewitt, the Rev. Gerald Ruane, the Rev. Michael Walters and the Rev. John Laferrera. They were all priests in Newark. None could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Ruane, Walters and Laferrera are on Newark’s list of credibly accused clerics. Hewitt and Ruane are deceased, the list says. Hewitt is on the list of credibly accused clerics from the Christian Brothers, the order to which he belonged, according to a ProPublica investigation of accused clerics. Hewitt was the boy’s principal at the time the abuse occurred, the suit alleges.

The New York Post was also at this July 22 confab and included a ripe quote from the attorney representing the victims.

(Jeff) Anderson said decades of alleged sexual abuse have been covered up by the Catholic Church.

“All of it cloaked in papal power,” he said.

Which takes us to the next shoe that needs to drop, which we’ve been waiting for a long time.
Tmatt reminded us earlier this month that a long-delayed Vatican report on McCarrick — and how church officials ignored the open secret of his sexual predilections for years — still has yet to come out.

Justice delayed is justice denied, right?

What is a priest worth? What is a seminarian worth? As reporters probe further, we’re learning that, for far too many officials in the Catholic Church, they weren’t worth much. Then, this National Catholic Register editorial points to one of the biggest questions that continues to loom over this scandal:

… After all this time, Catholics in the United States are still waiting for answers about which Church leaders, here and in Rome, knew about McCarrick’s scandalous situation but failed to take meaningful disciplinary and preventive actions — and possibly even facilitated and abetted his meteoric rise to prominence.

That’s far too long to wait.

The question, of course, is this: Who were the bishops and cardinals who lifted McCarrick high into church leadership? And what about the bishops and cardinals that McCarrick brought to power?


McCarrick had as many courtiers as many kings and popes.

It was all based on money, power, influence and SEX.

McCarrick had other men, lay men, religious and priests who actually went out and procured young males to pleasure McCarrick.

They say priests similarly brought young men to the Catican to “service” Pope Paul V1?

With McCarrick, it’s all coming out now.


There is a lot more to come.


When we hear more and more of this anyone who remains part of the Roman Catholic Church is a supporter of the abuse. If a Pope knew of this abuse and turned a blind eye, the only conclusion by Catholic teaching is the Vicar of Christ supported abuse. How can anyone be a Roman Catholic in good conscience knowing this?



Yes I do believe that, you of course believe anything which suits your own agenda. I am sorry I can’t comment on your frock since I have not seen it, but the mirror doesn’t lie. So if its so hideous perhaps you should take it off.


I watched to the end. Nothing about the impossibility of suing another country or its head of state.


“The NY courts have no jurisdiction over the sovereign state of the Vatican” — Perhaps, but bear in mind those two legal tags. “The Law is not an ass”, and “Where there’s a wrong there must be a remedy”.
For example, a New York court might make some sort of Seizure Order requiring America’s Roman Catholic bishops to divert into the court money that had been destined for the Vatican.
Last December the Wall Street Journal reported that Vatican was using Peter’s Pence (money collected for the Vatican worldwide, supposedly for charitable works.) to plug Its Budget Deficit, and that only 10% of those Peter’s Pence collections were actually going to the charitable works.


JL, the Vatican refused to disclose information to at least on Irish commission of enquiry into abuse by priests and religious in the country; there was even a diplomatic incident over it, with the Taioseach (Prime Minister) excoriating the Vatican in the Dail (Parliament). But that’s as far as it went: there was no attempt to seize Church assets in the Republic.

The same would likely happen in the States, especially if a sitting president, like Trump, was courting the Catholic vote for re-election.

The Vatican will cone out of this lawsuit in the States smelling of roses, not the alleged abuse victims


If more people were just as bold as that reporter is then maybe abusing clergy would think twice before interfering with vulnerables. No?


Isn’t our own Cardinal Kevin Farrell so so unlucky to have worked with Fr. Maciel and former Cardinal McCarrick, two of the Church’s biggest gangsters of the 20th century.


Shingles is more common in older adults and in people who have weakened immune systems. Varicella-zoster is part of a group of viruses called herpes viruses, which includes the viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. Because of this, shingles is also known as herpes zoster.


7:39 am

“Oh”,…”sins and crimes of the past”….! “Huh” “How far past is past……?”

“…another…. mistake to be rectified…..”


11.25: So he’s back to his normal, vulgar obnoxiousness. Pat, are you now going to allow this creature repeat ad nauseam his vile commentary?


Lol @8.30
You still believe in the few rotten apples rubbish don’t you.
It is so funny the way you keep referring to a seedy, sordid criminal organisation as holy.
Your faith in this is delusion and you are refusing to see the reality.
Plus that frock is hideous.


I think it is generally agreed that Paul was a homosexual and had at least one actor lover.
He was the only pope I ever met and shook hands with.
He spoke one word to me – couragio- courage. In fact, I felt a bit sorry for Paul. He looked frail and unhappy. I also think he made a great mistake with Humane Vita.



The salacious and unsubstantiated allegations about Paul VI are only agreed by certain people with their own agenda. I have no time for Montini and I think his Pontificate was a disaster for The Church. His worst sin was inflicting us with his dreadful Novus Ordo.


@ 10.33

There is not a scintilla of proof for those outrageous allegations. Paul himself issued a categorical denial of them.

You believe whatever you choose: whatever you find satisfying. And if it presents the papacy, or the Vatican, in a poor light, you’ll believe it all the more readily, and gleefully.

There is a very dark side to you, Bishop Buckley.

God takes no pleasure in human sinfulness, but you appear to revel in it, especially if it involes priests and bishops of the Catholic Church.


@ 10.56, the new form of Mass wasn’t inflicted on anyone. Most people welcomed it.
You are free to attend the old form if you wish. But YOU would inflict that liturgical pomp on the rest of us.


4.21, it was in English, it was facing the people, there wasn’t any pomp, it was banned outright, why try lying to me when I was there? HAVE YOU GOT AN ANSWER TO THIS?


It was inflicted on me and many others who for years had to travel long journey’s to attend the True Mass but we did it gladlyThanks be to God that’s gone now. There is no pomp at the Low Mass.


Benelli…Montini. Montini…Benelli. Benelli…Montini. Montini…Benelli.
Magee. Dermot Martin. The list is long…..

I hope Alaistair McLeland is going still. He made the scales fall from my eyes.

A two word construction in speech….I have never used it and I never shall…….never…..I have that in common with a British Prince who declined them also…


Have spoken to a Portsmouth Parish Priest – Not a word of good about Phylis Egan, but no word about his death. But then the way Phylis runs the Diocese the Clergy would be the very last to know such a thing.


Here is Bishop Egan’s reflection on the thriving trad parish in Reading. Note his comment on the average age of the congregation. That’s the future, not some battleaxes in Blackpool.


You are obviously posting from the UK. There’s minimal interest in the Tridentine Mass here.
By the way, if ‘God save the Queen’ and ‘Pop goes the Weasel’ were translated into Latin and inserted into the canon of the Mass, would you know the difference?


You are wrong there is great interest in The Tridentine Mass here Dublin,Cork,Limerick,Dunlaoghaire,Athlone,Newry,Belfast and many more all well attended. As for the songs you mention I am not familiar with them at all. But I can sing the Missa De Angelus,The Kyrie.The Credo,The Pater Noster,The Agnus Dei with no bother at all. Sorry to disappoint you.


Now don’t get carried away, 4.17. Great interest does not translate as great numbers.
Fact is the vast majority of Cathoilcs prefer the New Mass, which is why the numbers attending the old form are relatively (one could say risibly) small.
I mean come on. You lot have had more than enough time to prove your case, but you have made little inroads with new rite massgoers


@3:32, you are right, I am posting from the UK, from co. Down.

In saying that the Traditional Mass is the future I don’t mean that most Catholics will embrace it – narrow the way etc. What I mean is that once the oldies who attend the New Mass go to their judgement they are not replaced. The parish and diocesan structures built up in the past will collapse very quickly. COVID will accelerate that sharply, with the old watching Mass on their tvs.

There are no more new priests from Maynooth, the Irish College is gone, the last convents will close, Catholics are uncatechised, and the children of the Mass-going pensioners are lapsed, and in turn their children are unbaptised.

The rotten husk of the post-Vatican II Irish Church, typified by Maynooth and Repeal the 8th, is over. In the wreckage will remain the small Traditional communites. They are the ones having the babies and from them the vocations come. Hence it is the future.


He was certainly considered a sincere and thoughtful prof at Oscott, then of course Dark Mavis got him back to Shrewsbury to be Vicar General


O get a grip your new mass is usually celebrated in half empty churches,try going to St Kevin’s Harington St. for the 10:30am Mass on a Sunday you’ll be lucky to get a seat. People come from all over Dublin and further,the Church is packed like they all used to be.


6.28, here’s something for you to get a grip of: facts. Those isolated little pockets of traddism are not always packed, far from it.

Another fact, its the numbers that clinch this argument: regardless of how many, or how few, attend New Rite liturgy, collectively they still vastly outnumber the traddie-goers.

As I said, its the numbers thst clinch thus argument, and you guys have simply failed to appeal to the overwhelming majority of Catholics, either those who still outnumber you at New Rite liturgies…and those down the Dublin pubs of a night. 😅


Numbers attending a place say nothing. You could not get standing room at Hitlers rally.

“If a million people follow you, ask yourself where you have gone wromg” (Gandhi)


6:50 pm
There’s apostasy happening in the Catholic Church thanks in large part to corrupt clergy like former Cardinal Ted.



Have you said the same thing to Patsy about the oratory, no I didn’t think so. I’ll agree with Patsy it’s not about numbers. But we will always be there, as Our Blessed Lord said “Fear not little flock I am with you to the end” now put that bottle down and have an early night for once, you bold boy!


Pat, I am a Priest of Portsmouth. You should not take your eyes from the ball with J.P Little. You may like to ask where he is, and what he is doing? As he is no longer where the Bishop sent him after all the trouble .


11.43: Thank you for doing so as there was only one direction some comments were travelling – an onslaught of abuse and vitriol, led by Magna Carta. Your blog is much better without him. Thank you for your courage again. TheMcCarrick web of lies, deceit and abuse of all kinds is horrendous and what moral degeneracy at so high a level! Where will all these stories eventually lead to? How do we continue in the knowledge of these events and more?


This story only leads to ONE PLACE – the corrupt papacy which covered up child abuse for the millions McCarrick and Maciel gave John Paul 11 etc.

We continue by attempting to be good Catholic Christian’s with no allegiance to Rome, popes, bishops and priests.


12.30, fascinating, how many other pies Mr Mccarrick had his fingers in, too. I bet their accounts are quite a tangle.


That video by CM/vortex is shocking cos Mc Carrick ties to communists such as China and Russia. No wonder mc Carrick rapid rise to the rank of cardinals. Who promoted him and why? Also which Bishop did mc Carrick nominated for the role of Bishop? Richard Snipe who named him several years ago as Vatican took no notice of it even the press too.
One thing is clear that the Vatican will never publish their report on mc Carrick cos its too damaging and put a massive dent on Vatican reputation and their probity. That said it implies that the Vatican /bigwigs cardinals with millions will never be trusted as regards to their dealings. Quite simply in another words, you can’t simply trust them on their word.
Just wondering is there another MC Carrick out there that we don’t know?


An interesting route of enquiry fo the McCarrick commission report will be the relationship between him and card. S. Dziwisz the gatekeeper of Wojtyła.


12:11 pm

The clergy are NOT the Church.

They are supposed to be servants to the People of God, not self-serving.
The Church is in a process of cleansing. Read Mark 11:15-18,Luke 19:45-47,John 2:14-16
There is nothing new under the sun.
Keep the faith.


Cleansing is not enough! It needs rebuilding. Send in the ball and chain gang.


1:39 pm

DG, a very good question;’ is there another McCarrick out there we don’t know about’?
I think, highly likely. Maybe in the ranks of Bishops..?


It’s amazing how the secular press is uninterested in this but was very interested in Cardinal Law. It must depend on whether or not they like the Pope at the time.


1:00 pm

Yeah. As in Francis, rebuild my Church. (Francis of Assisi).

Writing straight via the crooked cabal…….


He’s really media friendly, visually and in giving soundbites. Unless a journalist works for a specialist religious journal they won’t be interested in the minutiae of the religious world and the complex history and politics. For example most journalists would be mystified by this page today and wonder why a Bishop is referring to a church in Reading.
If you think of how various popes appear in the secular press these glimpses are key – JP2 kissing the tarmac or hearing his assassin’s confession would be other examples.
In the past they had the sedes gestatoria as a photo opportunity of course.


…”Send in the ball and chain.” ?

Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball –


the HOLY PRIEDTS deserves his wages snd rewards from the HOLY GOD do not begrudge these men what HEAVEN sends them to


J;P Little – Where is he? I have not got a clue. When Phylis is asked that question he gets very cross, and will not answer. He was warned not to give him Ordination, and would not listen. Many priests in Portsmouth are very depressed by Egan , and his leadership. He is not taking the Diocese forward, but back to the dark ages.


What does forward look like? By 2037 the majority of students in primary schools in the Uk will be non white, your diocese is only going in one direction and that’s extinction and you can have all the married deacons and altar girls and folk groups you want but unless you are planning to convert Muslims you can forget it.The priests of Portsmouth diocese have not brought forward any original initiatives, they don’t have a national reputation for increasing vocations or for running food banks. Keep blaming your Bishop he makes you look good


I have grave doubt that Jeff Anderdon’s state lawsuit on behalf of alleged abuse victims will succeed. It seems to hinge on the unsubstantiated word of James Grein, a man who appears far from mentally stable, that he reported to Pope John Paul II McCarrick’s alleged abuse of him as a minor. There is no independent proof of this; there is just his word.

The suit will be kicked into touch.


A paper trail? Even if there were the remotest chance of that’s being true, a federal court has no authority to order its disclosure by the Vatican.

Remember in the 1980s, and beyond, Pope John Paul II was disinclined to believe reports of sexual abuse by priests. It is certainly probable that he politely heard James Grein out in 1988, and then mentally dismissed the allegation(s) as rabid nonsense; no paper trail required.

I don’t mean to be rude about Grein when I say that he appears mentally unstable, but this is how he strikes me: as a man at times on the point of erupting in volcanic rage.

How, then, must he have struck such a saint-like figure as Pope John Paul II, already disinclined to believe that a priest, especially a golden boy like McCarrick, could commit such gross and criminal offences?

In all probability, this pope thought Grein deranged and deluded.


Vocations and attendance at church in decline, the same will happen the Muslims once the next generation is educated.


The way education is in the UK is not going to lead to critical thinking and certainly not amongst those brought up with a clear separate identity. Portsmouth diocese will not exist in thirty years time it’s a fact of biology they can have a married woman Bishop tomorrow and every Mass according to the rite of 1970 it’s not going to increase the Catholic birth rate.


5:00 pm
You are making huge assumptions about James Grein, etc.
Pope John Paul II must have known of the sexual abuse problem.
If he didn’t, he was either negligent, incompetent or catatonic.
I suggest, he was none of the above.
How could he not know of the issue and extent of the problem. Apparently, in the early 1990s, when in America, he blamed American culture for the problem in the Church, which was emerging in the public domain . Meanwhile, the problem was ongoing worldwide. It was his watch! He was Pope.
How could he not know of Maciel’s track record of abuse, considering complaints about Maciel had reached the Vatican as early as the 1950s.
Why was the devils advocate related to saint making abolished prior to Escriva’s canonization?
If Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II were unaware of the extent of the issue, both of them had to have been catatonic! Or, at least fast asleep.That is not credible, or is it?


It is credible. Honestly it’s the standard response and absolutely remarkable how clergy never know of any wrongdoing by other clergy.
Right up to the nineties and beyond there wasn’t the faintest glimmer of understanding that abuse was a problem. Fortunately increasingly the church is forced to act.
During all of this time the doctrine has remained that sex is a mortal sin unless between a married couple. Which just shows these men aren’t actually bothered about the faith they preach.


Yes and it’s a false idea to think that they will imitate the pattern of the Catholics in this country and in fifty years they will all be lapsed, just look at Birmingham at one time it had the highest Catholic population next to Liverpool now white British are the minority, the city centre churches have hardly any congregations including St Chads Cathedral and in the seventies they were standing room only. There isn’t going to be a Second Spring only a very swiftly falling forever Winter.Pope Benedict’s visit will be remembered as the last day of Autumn.


8:07 pm

Oh, I think they knew it was morally wrong, legally wrong and financially a potential nightmare, hence the rush to protect finances both in America and Ireland in the mid to late eighties. The so called learning curve was learning to deal with the public, now the public knew of the issue. Damage limitation in PR speak. Read Fr. Tom Doyle’s ‘The Manual’.


Farrell lived in the same house as Maciel at close quarters and yet he claims ignorance of any wrongdoing and that he had no suspicions? How strange. He was a protege of McCarrick but I imagine has dropped him like the proverbial hot potato in light of murky deeds bought to light. Men of ambition in the church have no friends among the clergy just a carefully chosen panel of those they deem useful in furthering their climb.


The now Cardinal Kevin Farrell was McCarrick’s Auxilliary and shared a house with him for several years. This same Farrell was close to Maciel – he was ordained for that crazy outfit the Legionaries of Christ. He left them joined an american diocese became aux in Washington and then bishop of Dallas. Strange the connection eh?? Circles within circles.
The ladies in Rome say that he has an eye for virile young priests!


Watch him blink after every lie/denial he ( Farrell) tells/makes…on the YouTube interview. Deny, deny, deny……..he was well schooled….


…..or Cardinal Ratzingers 70th Birthday Party….it was something else …..a great night !! Unfortunately I was not invited….Lol…Lol…Lol……I would have gone….the Chef was the best that the City of Rome could offer….


10:17 Do you still wear the clerical collar? It’s become an object of shame due to the moral corruption in the clerical fraternity. By the way, another Catholic Church was ‘burned’ in Boston earlier today.


how are ye girls? are ye still bickering among each other. gutted ye didn’t get ordained God love ye


Willie @ 10:17 pm, a sample of numerous articles from the US;
“When you’re investigating gangs or the Mafia, we would call some of this conduct a criminal enterprise.”
“If a prosecutor applies racketeering laws, also known as RICO, against church leaders, bishops and other church officials could face criminal consequences for enabling predator priests, experts say. Such a move by Michigan or one of the other law enforcement agencies would mark the first known time that actions by a diocese or church leader were branded a criminal enterprise akin to organized crime.”
“In recent years, civil lawsuits have used racketeering laws leading to large settlements. Delaware-based attorney Stephen Neuberger, who has successfully sued the church on behalf of clergy abuse victims, said questions inevitably arise about church authorities covering up and facilitating for accused priests. He said organized crime statutes seem appropriate.”
Willie @ 10:17 pm, hope you aren’t gutted to have been ordained in the months or years ahead. Mind yourself. God love you.
P.S. Ireland ‘ground zero’ of abuse needs investigating top to bottom.


I suppose, at one time, that some of those who were not ordained were upset, even cross about it. I’m sure that they are relieved, now that everyone in society assumes the worst about Catholic priests and looks on them with a mixture of contempt and fear.


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