Friday, February 10, 2006

Homosexual hierarchy?

A friend and former coworker asked what I thought about the Village Voice's recent story on a New York lawsuit filed by Bob Hoatson, a Newark archdiocesan priest and former chaplain of Catholic Charities there, against nine Catholic officials, including Cardinal Edward Egan of New York, Archbishop John Myers of Newark, and Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany. Hoatson alleges he was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on clergy sex-abuse coverups by the bishops in question. The really racy bit: Hoatson alleges all three bishops are gay and have been sexually active, and that they covered up abuse because they feared being "outed" by accused priests. (I'd encourage everyone to read the VV story.)

Is Hoatson telling the truth? In my experience and those around me, I'd say it's at least possible. That very thing happened in an Irish diocese about ten years ago; a bishop moved an abuser around for fear that the bishop's own trips to Thailand and sexual escapades there might be discovered. The well-known case of former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who paid off a former male lover to the tune of $450,000, comes to mind as well, as does the case of Bishop Patrick Zieman, the former bishop of Santa Rosa, California, who was involved in both a financial and sex scandal, in which the bishop kept quiet about a priest who was skimming the parish collection in exchange for sex with the priest in question. (Ick, ick, and double ick!) The priest, it turns out, was never ordained in the first place, and Zieman is now living in a monastery.

Of coures, the Albany diocese paid a former prosecutor $2.2 million over four months (!!) to investigate the claims against Bishop Hubbard; she found no "credible evidence" against him, but her investigation was hardly independent, though lucrative for her (and a raw deal for God's people in Albany!). Egan and Myers deny the allegations.

It's sad to say, but I'm prepared to believe almost anything about bishops nowadays. Time will tell if Hoatson's allegations are true, or even if they see the light of day. But the actions of bishops around sex abuse make them worthy of suspicion. Whether it's something this disgusting or just the old boys' club in action remains to be seen.

Of course, all this just feeds into the conservative frenzy that sex abuse and the problems with the church have something to do with gay people. The problems are caused by sick people, of course, some of whom happen to be gay. That distinction is unfortunately lost on many.


At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem of sex abuse among the clergy IS largely a homosexual problem. Even the National Review Board reported this. There are very few pedophile cases, but many cases of priests whop acted our homosexually with post-pubescent young men. That is NOT pedophilia.


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