With the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on abuses in the Church, I have seen several people comment that most of the cases of abuse occurred decades ago and that things have changed now.
I think it’s important to remember that many of the allegations related to the McCarrick scandal and the problems in seminaries are not all decades old, but many are quite recent. This article says that many of the problems still continue:
…“You had the men who were there because they had a deep love of the Lord and a vocation to serve his Church,” he said, adding that those men were the majority of seminarians.
“But there was a subculture, with its own group of men, that was openly homosexual and petty and vindictive with everyone else,” he explained.
The same priest said that before he entered the seminary he was warned he would “see things that weren’t right.” He said he was counseled by an older priest to “just remember who you are and why you are there.”
Several Newark priests told CNA that the same atmosphere existed under Archbishop John Myers, who led the archdiocese from 2001-2016.
One priest who studied during that period recalled being told, as a newly arrived seminarian, to lock his bedroom door at night to avoid “visitors.”
“I thought they were kidding — they really weren’t,” he said.
Another priest told CNA that, as a senior seminarian and transitional deacon, young seminarians would come to him in tears.
“They were just so scandalized by what they saw, these upperclassmen flagrantly carrying on with each other in gay relationships.”
A third priest says that these seminarians were frequently visited by other priests of the diocese, some of whom he later saw at the rectory cocktail parties.
“There was definitely a group of, well I guess we’re calling them ‘uncles’ now. They would come by to visit with the effeminate crowd, bring them stuff and take them out,” he said.
One priest told CNA that, in his judgment, many of Newark’s priests felt resigned to that culture, even after Archbishop McCarrick left, elevated to archbishop of Washington, D.C.
“It is so horrible, so repulsive, no one wants to look straight at it,” one priest said. “You don’t want to see it and at the same time you can’t miss it.”
Another told CNA that among diocesan authorities, “There is a huge culture of toleration.”
“It is generational at this point. In seminary you’re told to mind your own business, keep your head down and not start trouble — they are over there doing whatever and you leave them to it. And then you’re ordained and it is the same story — you don’t win prizes for picking fights.”…
There is an ongoing existence of a culture of secrecy that will continue to plague our Church until serious efforts are taken to root out this evil.