Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

A Moment of Candor

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Feb 28, 2004

At the press conference that followed yesterday's release of the John Jay Report on Sexual Abuse, EWTN's Ray Arroyo asked USCCB President Wilton Gregory whether the fact that the crimes were overwhelmingly homosexual in nature had implications for seminary recruitment and screening, etc.

"Well, Ray, to answer you candidly, we bishops are simply unable to address the question of gays in the priesthood, because we are unable to address the question of gays in our own ranks. A reasonable estimate, extrapolating from arrest reports, etc., is that 25 to 35 percent of us bishops are homosexuals. Of these, some are gay, some are closeted. Some are active, some are clean, some are chaste today but have dirt in their past. Some are deeply angry and vindictive men, others are timid and retiring. Most importantly -- and completely fatal to any honest confrontation of the issues -- we don't know who among us is homosexual and who is not. So our own discussions are always conducted in a disingenuous third-person: everyone, including gay bishops themselves, speak about gays as 'those persons,' implying detachment and objectivity.

This means that it is impossible to raise, much less resolve, the problem of special pleading. Can we trust a gay bishop to view the data impartially and use his vote and his influence to advance the good of the Church, rather than defend himself and his fellow gays -- especially when he lacks the moral courage to trust us with the truth about himself? Ray, can't you see how hopelessly mired we are in the crisis of special pleading when we can't even identify the individuals with the "interest" for which special pleading is at issue?

"Let me put it this way. We all know the case of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, an in-and-out-of-control gay man whose sordid history came out on national television in April of 2002. Now Ray, had you asked me in March 2002 if Weakland was gay, I would have denied it categorically and heatedly, and probably would have denounced you as a muckraker for even raising the question. And 99% of my fellow bishops would have joined me. But the fact is that Weakland was among us for every meeting of bishops from November of 1977 onwards. That's 25 years of speeches and votes and committee work in which -- and this is the key point -- we had to pretend he was a chaste heterosexual who had only the good of the Church at heart, including those occasions when gay issues were on the table. Can't you see how false and futile that makes our efforts now?

"Ray, we don't know how many Weaklands are still among us. We don't know how many old love-letters are still out there, hidden in dresser drawers, waiting to torpedo the man sitting next to us at the bishops conference. I mean, it's not as if Weakland let us in on the secret; we first learned about it on Good Morning America like the rest of you. I would have publicly denied it had you asked me whether Symons was gay a week before the media got the story; the same with Ziemann and Williams and Ryan and Hart and O'Connell and Dupre. And these are just the men with concrete, legally actionable dirt in their past -- God knows how many gay bishops are physically continent but twisted into some kind of emotional sheepshank because they're infatuated with a seminarian or something. All homosexual bishops, chaste or unchaste, are in perfectly good standing right up to the hour of their dismissal; and of course for the great majority a dismissal never comes. We are the only men who have the authority to tackle the problem you raised, and the best we can do is feign an interest in getting at the truth."

Obviously, this NOT the response Bishop Gregory made to Arroyo. To find out what he actually said in reply, go here and select one of the video options on the lower right side of the window. Once the file is up and playing, move the cue button to about 19 minutes into the video. Then pray a rosary.

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