In 1990 before my study A Secret World; Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy was published I agreed to meet with the entire staff at their DC offices.
Institutional resistance is understandable, if surprising to me. So much of my work has been validated and in many quarters now taken for granted.
The number of priests and bishops having sex with minors was not the primary or central focus of the study. But my calculation of 6% (six percent) clergy abusers as a base line has held up very well. [the most recent validation is between 6 ½ and 9% in the U.S. Some dioceses have registered 23%. Some religious houses have recorded 25%.] Sexual violation within the RC clergy is systemic. I say that on the basis of observation and scientific conclusion. And I say that with empathy and concern.
Now that aspect of the sexual crisis is well known around the world. The crisis behind the scandal will be the next phase of reality with which to come to terms: Namely: the broad range and frequency of sexual behaviors registered in the clerical system. “At any one time no more than 50% of priests are practicing celibacy.”
That was the hypothesis and thrust of A Secret World (1990) and repeated in Celibacy in Crisis (2003)
In May 1993 at the Vatican International Conference on Celibacy in Rome Cardinal Jose Sanchez then Chairman of the Dicastery on Clergy fielded questions about my study and conclusions and a similar sociological statistical report by Fr. Victor Kotze of South Africa. Father Kotze concluded that in any three-year period only 45% of priests were practicing celibacy.
When asked directly by reporter Mark Dowd, and a reporter recording for the BBC TV what the Cardinal thought of those studies he said, “I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of those figures”.
During the first National Survivors Conference in Chicago, October 1992, I addressed the group with these words: “The crisis we are facing today— sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy—is the tip of an iceberg. And if we follow it to its foundations it will lead to the highest corridors of the Vatican.”
Sooner or later it will become broadly obvious that there is a systemic connection between the sexual activity by, among and between clerics in positions of authority and control, and the abuse of children. When men in authority—cardinals, bishops, rectors, abbots, confessors, professors—are having or have had an unacknowledged-secret-active-sexlife under the guise of celibacy an atmosphere of tolerance of behaviors within the system is made operative.
Many of the sexual patterns are set up during seminary years or in early years after ordination when sexual experimentation is initiated or sustained. The 2009 Vatican Report (in English) on American seminaries invented a new term—transitional homosexuality. I believe this is due to the awareness of the frequent activity in the homosocial structure of seminary and religious life.
I was on the staff of three major seminaries, one Pontifical, from 1967 to 1984. I served as a consultant for seminaries from 1966 to 1996. That gave me a broad contact with several other seminaries, their Rectors and staffs.
I was aware, from information shared by their partners, that a number of rectors (at least three) and also some staff members, were having periodic sex with students.
At one seminary fully one-fourth of the professors had ongoing sexual contacts with men or women in more or less consensual arrangements.
It is credibly established that thirty percent (30%) of U.S. bishops have a homosexual orientation. This is not a condemnation nor an allegation of malfeasance. The list of homosexual Popes and saints is long and illustrious. [Remnant Editor's Note: Verification of this claim would be difficult, if not impossible, to establish. Certainly, in the case of saints -- if there's any truth to it -- it would have been non-practicing homosexuals who'd overcome the (non-sinful) inclination and thus would never have made it known to others. So how does Sipe know this? I'd say he does not. He's speculating. In the case of popes, perhaps he's referring to Pope Paul VI who was certainly rumored to be homosexual. And there are others in history rumored to be. Making this contention, however, to our mind, should have proven beyond any shadow of doubt that Sipe was certainly not some "homophobic" rad trad with an axe to grind, thus making it all the more egregious that his findings were ignored, covered up, and dismissed by the Modernist prelates Sipe attempted to warn. MJM]
A serious conflict arises when bishops who have had or are having sexually active lives with men or women defend their behavior with denial, cover up, and public pronouncements against those same behaviors in others.
Their own behavior threatens scandal of exposure when they try to curtail or discipline other clerics about their behavior even when it is criminal as in the case with rape and abuse of minors, rape, or power plays against the vulnerable. (Archbishops Harry Flynn, Eugene Marino, Robert Sanchez, Manuel Moreno, Francis Green, etc.)
I will record instances that demonstrate the systemic dynamic that forms and fosters sexual violations among the clerical culture. All of this information is culled from records (civil or church). In addition, I have 50 years’ participation or contact with the clerical culture of the RCC.
I have reviewed several hundred thousands of pages of records of clerical sexual activity and been involved as a consultant or expert witness in 250 civil legal actions against clergy offenders.
None of the following information is secret. It is reviewed here in an effort to demonstrate how the sexual system works in the clerical culture.
Archbishop John Neinstedt (1947—) I reviewed the 138-page report of the Ramsey County MN Attorney’s report on the sexual activity of Neinstedt.
I have interviewed priests from the Detroit Archdiocese who had personal contact there with Neinstedt and had first-hand knowledge of his presence at gay bars. The affidavits in the report speak for themselves.
Bishop Thomas Lyons (1923-88) priest of Baltimore and auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C. I have personally interviewed adult men who claim that they were sexually abused by Lyons when he was a priest in Baltimore and a monsignor and pastor in D.C.
One of them was on probation for abusing minor members of his own family. He claimed that Lyons abused him from the time he was seven to seventeen years old. Also Lyons himself said that this happened to him (by a priest) when he was growing up and that “it was natural.”
One important element in this behavior is the three generational pattern of sexual abuse of minors involved: Priest abuser of child who becomes a priest and child abuser. Behavior is justified as natural. This is a pattern seen often and termed the genealogy of clerical sexual abuse.
Bishop Raymond J. Boland (1932-2014) was a priest and pastor also in Washington, D.C., until 1988 when he was appointed bishop of Birmingham AL, and subsequently, in1993 bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
I was involved for several years in advocating for several victims that Boland violated when he was a pastor. The accounts of the victims are among the most horrendous from the point of view that exemplifies how deeply sex even with minors is integrated within the clerical culture.
Cardinal James Hickey and bishop William Lori fought with particular fury the allegations that ended in the suspension of several priests and a financial settlement with some victims.
The victim quoted here from his report to the Archdiocese refused the settlement offered by the Archdiocese. The whole process from 1994 to 2004 spanned the reigns of Hickey, Mc Carrick and Wuerl.
Fr. Frank Swift (+1974) and Fr. Aldo PetrinI (+late 1980s) were named as abusers.
Msgr. James Lavin was named as an abuser of several minor victims and was finally removed from the ministry by Cardinal McCarrick in 2002.
These D.C. priests formed a coterie of sexually active clerics from the seminary to connections with officials in Vatican offices.
Some of the victims were assaulted together. Two victims refused financial settlements. Others were constricted by confidentiality clauses.
This tangle of clerical sexual abusers demonstrates the operation that infests the systemic operation of sexual activity from top to bottom. Many more facts about this group are on record.
Following are quotes from the reports in files submitted to the offices of the D.C. Archbishops and their lawyers:
A 10-year-old boy at Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Forestville, MD in 1967 was sodomized by Fr. Raymond J. Boland and then-deacon James Lavin.
The boy asked Boland why they were doing this and he responded, “God makes special boys and girls for pleasure, and you are certainly one of them.” ...
They said they were going to make him a “big boy” and show him how much God loved him. And breathlessly told him that it was, “the ultimate sign of love when a man ‘came’ with a special boy; that gave him, “the seed of life”.
Lavin said, “when I was 12 years old, I would be taken on retreats where spiritual bonding between older men and younger boys took place.”
They assured him the pain would go away, gave warnings to keep secret and delivered threats of dire consequences if he told anyone. (He did tell his mother who slapped him and told him never to talk that way about a priest or nun.)
He made a first suicide attempt with aspirin.
Three weeks after the assault by Boland, this boy contacted a priest in his home parish—Fr. Perkinson. (who was ultimately a patient at St. Luke’s Institute Suitland, MD.)
When he told the priest his name, Fr. Perkinson said, “Oh, you’re the special little boy Fr. Boland told me about.” He said he had been in the military and “sex between two guys was normal”.
The priest then proceeded to [sexually molest the boy. (Too graphic to reproduce here.) MJM]
[This victim spent several years in the major seminary where he experienced and recorded the sexual connections between seminary, parish priests, chancery and Rome. The string of abusers was reported to Cardinal Hickey. Some were retired or left the area.]
While this assault was in progress, the pastor opened the door, simply looked and closed it. (This behavior by other priests is reported in other instances— e.g., Gaboury, litigated in Fall River, MA; in a case litigated in D.C. the pastor seeing the boy bound and being sodomized simply said, “you will have to repair that wall”. (The victim had punched a hole in the wall while bound and thrashing around.)
Boland’s victim made a second suicidal attempt and was treated in a hospital.
This is by no means the most horrendous of the records I have reviewed, but its elements of seduction, assault, sexualizing spirituality, and selfjustification under a “celibate” mantle and cover up are paradigmatic of a system of behaviors in the Catholic clerical culture.
The record of one priest abuser relates how he anointed the foreheads of his boy victims with his semen.
Another priest who was having sex with a 13-yer-old of girl touched her genitals with what he said was a consecrated host to show her “how much God loves you”.
The credibility of the documents is unquestionable and recorded in church and legal documents. The reporter in Boland’s case is a respected professor.
Cardinal McCarrick with high school students
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been reported by numerous seminarians and priests (accused of having made sexual advances and activity). A settlement with one priest was effected by Stephen Rubino, Esq.
In that record, the operation of McCarrick in sexual activity with three priests is described. Correspondence from “Uncle Ted” as he asked to be called, is included. One of the principals is now a lawyer who left the priesthood. Two men remain in the priesthood, but refuse to speak publicly, despite the fact that the settlement document is open. One priest was told by the chancery office, “if you speak with the press we will crush you”.
Priests or seminarians who speak up about a sexually active superior are threatened with the loss of everything—employment, status, etc. Those who report are greeted with disbelief or even derision if they know but were not personally involved. If they were a partner in the sexual activity and “come out” they become a pariah and labeled a traitor.
I have interviewed twelve seminarians and priests who attest to propositions, harassment, or sex with McCarrick, who has stated, “I do not like to sleep alone”.
One priest incardinated in McCarrick’s Archdiocese of Newark was taken to bed for sex and was told, “this is how priests do it in the U.S.”. None so far has found the ability to speak openly at the risk of reputation and retaliation.
The system protects its impenetrability with intimidation, secrecy and threat. Clergy and laity are complicit.
Abbot John Eidenschink, O.S.B. (1914-2004) I knew John Eidenschink from the time I was a student in Prep school (1946) until the time of his death. He served as a theology professor, confessor for six years, superior, and traveling companion in Europe (summer 1956), and principal speaker at my first mass in 1959. I served with him as an assistant master of ceremonies.
It was only in 1970 that monks and former monks came forward to tell me about how Fr. John, under the guise of offering instructions how to make them more comfortable with their body, and that during spiritual guidance, had them stretch out nude on his bed while he touched them; he penetrated some.
At least two of these men sought legal advice and received substantial financial settlements from the abbey. At least five men reported this behavior. Others who remained in the monastery did not publicize their encounters.
I have heard this manner and mode of relationship described in other religious houses and seminaries.
Like many other members of dioceses and religious communities I was blind to these and other sexual activities among the group. This is not an excuse. Lack of vigilance, adequate sexual education and simple ignorance contributed to the blindness instilled by institutional absorption and dependency.
On record maintained by a former victim of the system recorded sixty members of the St. John’s community who were sexual violators and 260 “known victims”. (Patrick Marker [Behindthepinecurtin.com])
John Eidenschink was a prominent and productive member of the community. He influenced every segment of this large institution. His sexual conditioning was formed and fostered in the two years of his novitiate under the tutelage of Fr. Basil Stegmann, O.S.B., who repeatedly took novice John on his lap while instructing him.
John was an orphan and lived with relatives near the campus of the abbey. His sexual identity and his remarkable talents were conditioned and fostered by the institution. The homosocial structure of the abbey and schools influenced his adjustment.
The homoerotic component in the theology and in the social construct of training and in the power associations fosters sexual expression as “natural” in ordinary male relationships. This is in direct contradiction to the official teaching that homosexuality is “unnatural” and “intrinsically disordered”.
I observed similar constructs in Vatican contacts with confreres when I was a student in Rome. I could only register facts that I could not put together at the time.
Students with some ambition would make contact with secretaries of various Vatican officials, usually a Monsignore. This could assure them an invitation to “tea” or some reception. Those who made the cut had social access to a certain group of minor officials with prospects of wider and more exalted contacts. (The book I Millinari written by 5 Vatican officials also records variations on this pattern.)
Sexual liaisons become common for men conditioned to homosexually in the system when women become available for social contact usually after ordination. The Vatican term “transitional homosexuality” (2009) I believe is based on the observation that a portion of priests pass through a phase of sexual bonding with men (or even boys) before setting into heterosexual behaviors.
Bishop Robert H. Brom: I have talked with the man who made allegations of misconduct against Brom and with whom he made a $120,000 settlement. The history is well recorded by several responsible reporters. (http://www.awrsipe.com/brom/bishop_brom.htm)
Significant here is the operation of the National Conference of Bishops who in their 2002 Dallas Charter made provision for “zero tolerance” of clergy abusing minors but neglected to address violations by bishops. Instead they appointed Brom, when allegations were known, to make “Fraternal Correction” to other bishops accused.
This type of operation is typical of the pattern of cover up from the top of the institution. (Reflected in the destruction of documents by the Papal Nuncio in the Neinstedt case. Cf. Documentation provided by the Ramsey County District Attorney)
Cardinal Roger Mahony. I have served as an expert witness in a sufficient number of abuse cases in the LA Archdiocese to conclude it is not outlandish to ask if Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles is a criminal for “knowingly endangering the children he was supposed to defend.”
There is ample evidence already in the public forum that Mahony has known of priests who abused minors, reassigned them and allowed them to minister, only to abuse other minors. He has not informed parishioners or even parish staffs, that the priests he was assigning had a record of abuse.
Mahony who has a Masters in Social Work did not report known priest abusers to social services even though he was obligated to do so by civil law and by reason of the profession’s Code of Ethics. All of this vast evidence is recorded in countless depositions on record from litigations[i] of abuse cases and from Mahony’s own testimony under oath.[ii]
I received reports from two men about Mahony’s sexual life and orientation; one a former (St. John, Camarillo) seminarian who was dying of HIV-related complications; the other a long time LA church employee. The men were credible reporters unwilling to go public or draw on corroboration.
I have served as an expert on a number of cases of confirmed sexual abuse by priests of the LA Archdiocese from 2002 onward. Several are remarkable: (i.e. the case of Lopez y Lopez and the controversy between Mahony and the Cardinal of Mexico City. One of the principals in the latter had to be lying.)
Judge Jim Byrne touted by the cardinal as a poster boy for the integrity of the sexual abuse review board said in deposition that in all the years he served on the Board he “never thought” of helping the victims.
Lawyer, Larry Drivon, who has litigated many California cases of clergy abuse stated that there was sufficient evidence to charge Mahony with perjury after letters he signed when he was bishop of Stockton, were produced in his 2004 deposition and showed—black on white—that he had clear knowledge of events that he denied under oath in deposition and on the witness stand in the 1998 trial of Fr. Oliver O’Grady.[iii]
I attended the Nov. 2004 deposition of Mahony and know the history of the O’Grady trial. I saw Mahony’s signed letters. As a layperson I witnessed the cardinal lying. His lawyer claimed, as did the cardinal, that “he forgot.” (in 2 depositions and on the witness stand)
Three Los Angeles Grand Juries have been impaneled over nine years to determine the real picture of abusing priests in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Their problem is not the lack of evidence, but the monumental legal impediments and roadblocks the cardinal has sponsored to obstruct the investigation and the release of documents needed to pinpoint facts of the cardinal’s knowledge and involvement in complicity and obstruction.
California law does not allow Grand Jury reports to be made public unless indictments result.
Mahony claimed that communications between him and his priests have a special privilege, not unlike that of confessional secrets. His claim was included as the central argument advanced by his attorneys for refusing to disclose files ordered by the courts. His arguments were rejected by the appeal court, the California Supreme Court. Not deterred, he had his lawyers even try to have the case reversed by the United States Supreme Court. The highest court in the land could not swallow his theory. His obstructionism seems unbounded.
He claimed that he was a member of the therapeutic team treating priest abusers and therefore documents involving him enjoyed a privilege of medical confidentiality. In actuality he was never a member of any therapeutic team for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he is not qualified.
It has not yet been revealed how many millions the cardinal spent in pursuing facetious claims. He has employed for his defense not merely several lawyers but several law firms as well as Sitrick and Company, a public relation firm used by Enron, the Tobacco industry and the Keating Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980’s. Fortune magazine called the company’s founder “one of the most accomplished practitioners of the dark arts of public relations." The Financial Times called him, “The spin doctor’s spin doctor.” Should any Catholic entity, much less an archdiocese, take any pride in resorting to the services of such an organization? Truth and transparency seem secondary if important at all.
These and myriad other stories are to be told from documents and records. These records show Mahony’s, and other bishops' pattern and practice that reflect institutional defenses of its ministers’ sexual behaviors.
I will not belabor the more than 250 abuse cases of clergy abuse I have served on as an expert witness or consultant.
I served the Attorney General of Massachusetts in the formation of their Grand Jury investigation of clergy abuse in that State (2002). And I was an expert witness to the first of three Grand Juries empaneled in Philadelphia and I reviewed 135 clergy abuse files then. Since that time, I have been able to follow the working and operation of the Archdiocesan offices’ dealing with victims of clergy abuse. That is a paradigm of the malfunction of the American church in response to clergy.
You are well aware that your diocese has settled with many victims (144 in 2007 alone).
I have tried to help the Church understand and heal the wounds of sexual abuse by clergy. My services have not been welcomed.
My appeal to you has been for pastoral attention to victims of abuse and the long term consequences of that violation. This includes the effects of suicidal attempts.
Only a bishop can minister to these wounds.
Enclosed you will find a list of bishops who have been found wanting in their duties to the people of God.
August 30, 2016
[i] Depositions by Bishop Curry and Judge Byrne are illustrative of how priests were assigned and the oversight board operated.
[ii] Mahony depositions, January 25, 2010; November 23, 2004; also Cf. Mahony trial testimony Fresno, CA March 17, 2009.
[iii] Don Lattin. December 11, 2004. The San Francisco Chronicle.