Questions raised about McElroy's response to 2016 McCarrick allegations

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Questions raised about McElroy’s response to 2016 McCarrick allegations

by Michelle La Rosa

San Diego, Calif., Aug 24, 2018 / 11:00 am (CNA).- The Bishop of San Diego has explained why he did not respond to a 2016 letter alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and other Catholic clerics.

The letter was sent to Bishop Robert McElroy by psychotherapist Richard Sipe.

McElroy has been reported as a frontrunner to succeed Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC. Calls in recent weeks for the cardinal’s resignation follow an Aug. 14 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clerical sexual abuse, which questions the cardinal’s handling of sexual abuse allegations during his tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh.

McElroy now faces questions regarding accountability and transparency surrounding abuse reports. . . .

. . . After Sipe requested a third meeting but was told by the McElroy’s assistant that the bishop could not meet with him that month, he hired a process server who came to the office, posing as a donor wishing to hand-deliver a check, McElroy said. The process server delivered a letter from Sipe.

McElroy said he did not respond to that letter because Sipe’s use of a process server, and apparent dissemination of the letter, made him untrustworthy. . . .

. . . Sipe’s July 28, 2016 letter warned of a widespread culture of illicit sexual activity among clergy. Pointing to his time as a staff member at three major seminaries, he said that patterns of sexual behavior are often established “during seminary years or in early years after ordination when sexual experimentation is initiated or sustained.”

“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,” . . .

. . . In the letter, Sipe listed allegations against several bishops . . .

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griz . . .

Sipe’s use of a process server was a deliberate slap in the face of the Archbishop. It’s understandable why the Archbishop wouldn’t want to meet with Sipe after that.

You could be right here griz.

Others will say (the now late) Sipe attempted to meet without the process server . . . TWICE.

But right now I am refraining from too many conclusions and am more focused on assimilation.

As I said though. You may be right.

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I don’t really know why an article like this is being published unless it is an attempt to smear Archbishop McElroy.

Why not email Catholic News Agency and ask them why they published it? Then you can share your answer here.

Or better yet, why not just quit impugning peoples motives?

griz . . .

Maybe you should ask why I said that instead of accusing me of impugning other’s motives.

Because you are the one that came on here making the unfounded “smear” accusations.

griz . . .

The author made no attempt to explain why Sipe was trying to meet with McElroy


The article . . .

a 2016 letter alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and other Catholic clerics.

griz . . .

You should have asked why I felt . . .

You can just begin a thread where you can focus on your “feelings” griz.

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griz . . .

Why don’t you re-read everything I wrote and reply in good time once you’ve processed all the information?

I’ll pass on any further reply to you at least for now griz.

You are being needlessly contentious.

That is an unnecessary insult.

Admonition well-taken by me. My apologies concerning my comment on suggesting you starting a thread about your “feelings”.


WHY would Sipe want to meet with McElroy in particular?

The article assumes Sipe is contacting his own Bishop
(“Over the course of “two long, substantive, cordial and frank discussions about the history of clergy sexual abuse in the United States,” McElroy said” - You usually don’t go to another diocese to have such discussions). At least that was MY conclusion . . . that Bishop McElroy was HIS Bishop.

A former Benedictine priest, Sipe left the priesthood in the 1970s and married a former nun.

Having lived through the 70s and seen a lot of this sort of thing, this to me says the guy is a loose cannon and If I were Bishop McElroy I would avoid him completely.

The letter in question, in which Mr. Sipe named names, including Cdl. McCarrick (warning, disturbing content):


I understand why you might say this, but the Church does allow men to leave the priesthood and marry. I don’t think this fact alone means he is a loose cannon.

This guy bailed on his commitment to the priesthood and seems to have made a cottage industry out of getting attention for himself as a muckraker for sexual behavior of clergy. I think he’s got an agenda and if I were bishop, I’d react to him the same as if I came to my office and found the Mike Wallace-era “60 minutes” team there sticking a mike in my face. I’d duck his calls and call my lawyer.

I get what you are saying but should clergy avoid anyone who bailed on his commitment to his marriage? We actually have recent pastoral teachings saying the exact opposite about this far more pervasive problem.

Maybe this guy was a bit of a muckraker, then again there is obviously a very serious problem with the sexual behavior of clergy. And the Church did a horrible job in addressing it during this time. There are a lot of accusations of ignoring warnings. Even if this guy wasn’t the best source it doesn’t look good ignoring him in light of all the other evidence that was ignored.

If somebody credible comes forward acting like a normal person and not like he’s trying to grab headlines and play “gotcha” with the bishop, then it might promote a healthy dialog. When the process server shows up, civility is out the window.

I will admit I am not a fan of anyone I see bailing on commitments to Church, spouse, kids or anyone else, but I’m willing to set it aside if the person doesn’t act like they have an agenda, are seeking attention, or are playing a game.

I agree that once he was served it was a legal matter. But I can also see why someone would serve a bishop if bishops were ignoring and not acting on evidence. There is a lot of ‘we never got the information’ involved in the current sexual abuse claims.


Was it even a legal matter? After reading, it sounded like Sipe hired a process server to deliver his personal letter, not any legal document.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the article didn’t mention it being anything legally binding.

When you serve someone papers you’ve entered the legal realm. If someone served me papers of any sort I’d consider it a legal issue from then out.

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If someone served me with a personal letter, I would tear it up. It has no legal authority at all. A summons or a subpoena or such is a legal document, this is not.


You are expressing a very narrow view of being served a document. Being served a document is usually an early step in a legal matter. An attorney might serve a contractor a letter to a contractor as a step before a lawsuit.

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Perhaps I am. Not being involved in the legal field, it seems unusual to utilize a process server to deliver such a letter (and not know what the first two attempts were).

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