Newark Cardinal denies ‘gay subculture’ in Newark

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Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ
Scathing report from Catholic News Agency

In a mid-August letter to the priests of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin denied there being a “gay subculture” in the Archdiocese of Newark. The letter was issued in response to a report by the Catholic News Agency published on the same day, where Newark priests detailed their experiences in seminary and ministry. The Catholic News Agency report also included the alleged sexual misconduct of two priests, which adds onto a bombshell report issued by the state of Pennsylvania of over 300 priests suspected of sexual misconduct with minors.

Six priests spoke to the CNA on the condition of anonymity about homosexual activity in the Archdiocese. The priests’ experiences spanned decades under the leadership of Archbishops Theodore McCarrick and John Myers. One of the more notable incidents- detailed directly in Cardinal Tobin’s letter. It was in referenceto Father Mark O’Malley. In 2014, O’Malley was removed as rector of the archdiocesan college seminary and placed on leave following accusations that he hid a camera in the bedroom of a young priest.

“In April 2014, Father Mark O’Malley, who was serving at St. Andrew’s College, experienced a serious personal crisis for which he received a psychological evaluation and subsequent therapy,” Cardinal Tobin said in his letter. “In April 2015, he was deemed fit for priestly ministry. He hopes to serve as a hospital chaplain.”

The CAN also reported that Father James Weiner, pastor of the Parish of St. Andrews in Westwood, is under renewed investigation by the archdiocese officials. Father Weiner has been revealed to be the previously unnamed man referenced in sex abuse allegations made by Father Desmond Rossi, currently a priest of the Diocese of Albany in New York. Father Rossi alleged that he was sexually assaulted by two transitional deacons in 1988. He received an out-of-court settlement of $35,000. Recently Rossi has said that his allegation, while found ‘credible’ by an archdiocesan review board, had no action taken on it.

Cardinal Tobin confirmed that Father Weiner’s case had been examined in 2003, “though it did not involved an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor,” and he ordered the matter to be reopened in early August because of “new information and out of an abundance of caution in these most difficult times.”

Cardinal Tobin’s letter addressed further reports of harassment and priests engaging actively in sexual behaviors in both the seminary and the archdiocesan presbyterate, denying that he had any knowledge of it. “No one —  including the anonymous ‘sources’ cited in the article — has ever spoken to me about a gay subculture in the Archdiocese of Newark.”

The Cardinal closed his letter by saying that he hoped the CNA’s sources were not priests of the Newark Archdiocese, though the news organization has confirmed otherwise. The Archdiocese of Newark has refused comment nor has it responded to questions from the CAN.