Cardinal Tobin Denies Knowledge of ‘Gay Subculture’ in Newark
His letter was written in response to a CNA report in which Newark priests described their experiences in seminary and ministry.
NEWARK, N.J. — In an Aug. 17 letter to the priests of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin has said he has not been told by priests about a “gay subculture” in the Archdiocese of Newark.
The letter was written in response to a CNA report published the same day, in which Newark priests described their experiences in seminary and ministry in the archdiocese. Cardinal Tobin’s letter specifically addressed allegations, included in CNA’s report, of sexual misconduct on the part of two priests.
CNA’s article included testimony about homosexual activity in the Archdiocese of Newark from six priests who spoke to CNA on the condition of anonymity. The priests’ experience spanned across several decades under the leadership of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and Archbishop John Myers.
CNA reported that, in 2014, Father Mark O’Malley was — according to multiple sources — removed from his position as rector of the archdiocesan college seminary and placed on medical leave following an incident in which he was accused of hiding a camera in the bedroom of a young priest.
Cardinal Tobin’s letter, which surfaced on the internet over the weekend, addressed the matter directly.
“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. In April 2015, he was deemed fit for priestly ministry. He hopes to serve as a hospital chaplain.”
CNA also reported last week that Father James Weiner, currently pastor of the parish of St. Andrew’s in Westwood, New Jersey, was under renewed investigation by archdiocesan authorities. Father Weiner was identified as the previously unnamed man referred to in the allegations of sexual assault made by Father Desmond Rossi, now a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York.
Father Rossi has alleged that, in 1988, he was sexually assaulted by two transitional deacons. In 2004, Father Rossi received an out-of-court settlement of approximately $35,000.
Recently, Father Rossi said that his allegation was found “credible” by an archdiocesan review board but that no action was taken.
Cardinal Tobin’s letter confirmed that Father Weiner’s case had been examined by a review board in 2003 “even though it did not involve an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.” The cardinal also confirmed that he had ordered the matter reopened earlier this month because of “new information and out of an abundance of caution in these most difficult times.”
This weekend, the bulletin at Father Weiner’s parish carried a notice that Cardinal Tobin’s office had indefinitely delayed the ceremony formally installing of Father Weiner as pastor of the parish because of a scheduling conflict. Cardinal Tobin had been scheduled to install him in the post Sept. 15.
Addressing reports of harassment and active sexual behavior by some priests, both in the seminary and in the archdiocesan presbyterate, Cardinal Tobin said that “no one — including the anonymous ‘sources’ cited in the article — has ever spoken to me about a gay subculture in the Archdiocese of Newark.”
Cardinal Tobin began his letter by acknowledging the ongoing scandal of sexual abuse in the Church, following the allegations against Archbishop McCarrick and the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The cardinal said that these events “have shaken and saddened the bishops and priests of the Archdiocese of Newark.”
Turning to the CNA report, Cardinal Tobin said that while there was “much more to communicate about these open wounds,” he was writing the letter in response to “allegations of misconduct” against the two priests of the archdiocese, Fathers Weiner and O’Malley.
The cardinal closed his letter by expressing his hope that CNA’s sources were not actually priests of the archdiocese. However, CNA confirms that the sources for the story were priests of the Newark Archdiocese, along with one priest member of a religious order.
The Archdiocese of Newark declined to offer comment or respond to questions from CNA regarding the letter.
Cardinal Tobin’s letter concluded by encouraging priests to refer media inquiries to the archdiocesan director of communications.
Added Cardinal Tobin, “I repeat my willingness to meet with any brother who wishes to share his concerns regarding allegations in the press or personal experience in our local Church.”