Reading some of the posts elsewhere, it suggests to me that some people only have a vague awareness of the Cardinal McCarrick scandal.
Seminary under McCarrick rife with secrecy, fear, ex-priest recalls
Aug 22, 2018
The caller identified himself as Ed from Freehold. He claimed insider knowledge on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer’s radio talk show Aug. 6.
The topic on New York’s public radio that morning was the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church, in particular the resignation of accused Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The program featured Heidi Schlumpf, national correspondent for NCR.
McCarrick’s proclivities were an open secret in church circles, Ed from Freehold said.
Ed told the radio audience about the regular invitations Archdiocese of Newark seminarians received to visit McCarrick at his Jersey Shore beach house. The then-archbishop would invite seminarians over for the weekend, with the proviso that there would always be a need for an extra bed, which would be shared by McCarrick with a favored seminarian.
“It was common knowledge,” he said, adding, “It is not a surprise to me. I am surprised that some of the cardinals have said they are surprised by this.”
He told of being invited, via a phone call from the then-archbishop’s priest secretary, and begging off, claiming weekend duties at a hospital chaplaincy program. That was a lie, he said, created to avoid a compromising situation.
Ed from Freehold is actually Ed Bognacki, a former priest who resigned from the archdiocese in 2000. At 63, he works as a substance abuse counselor in Freehold, New Jersey, and lives in a nearby town. He is now married to a man with whom he has been connected for two decades and describes himself as an occasional Catholic churchgoer who has largely left church life behind.
In 1987, Bognacki began seminary studies at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, where McCarrick was archbishop. Three decades later, he describes an atmosphere of secrecy and fear in which McCarrick’s powerful dominance permeated the culture, a situation he says was especially debilitating for men aspiring to the priesthood.
Bognacki is choosing to break his silence, but he says the culture of secrecy still exists for those men who remain priests in the archdiocese. Some who were at the beach house might feel embarrassed . . .