I am a Moron

McCarrick and Gerety
Theodore McCarrick’s installation as Archbishop of Newark, NJ, 1986. Outgoing Archbishop Peter Gerety stands second from the right. (Photo by D.J. Zendler.)

The late Archbishop Peter Gerety‘s name appears in the draft of my book.

From Chapter 2…

McCarrick successfully sold the myth of his glittering celebrity status not just to his victims but to a wider circle. Newark needed a new Archbishop in 1986; McCarrick became the young pope of New Jersey. His predecessor, Peter Gerety, claimed to have grown old at age 73, even though he went on to live to 104.

Something odd with Gerety leaving office in 1986, to be sure: A bishop resigning at 73, claiming the infirmity of old age. Then he goes on to live to 104.

Odd.

In an earlier version of the chapter, I had speculated that Gerety was “too liberal” for Pope John Paul II. McCarrick successfully sold himself as a “moderate.” I decided to take that speculation out. Superfluous.

But:

I am a moron.

Why, after all, am I here? In the situation in which I find myself now?

In May of 2006, the Cardinal Archbishop who ordained me resigned suddenly, claiming old age despite his evident vigor. My priest friends and I thought: It’s because he’s too liberal for Pope Benedict.

We were wrong, of course.

We now know why McCarrick “resigned” prematurely in 2006. Namely, so that the Vatican could orchestrate a cover-up of his crimes, a cover-up that would last for the next twelve years.

And the cover-up would remain in effect now, and McCarrick’s victims would still live in agonizing solitude.

(And I guess my priest friends and I would still think McCarrick got ushered out for being “too liberal,” and Donald Wuerl would still be the Archbishop of Washington, and the biggest controversy of Pope Francis’ papacy would still be communion for the divorced and civilly re-married…)

But McCarrick’s victim “Mike” told his story to a New-York lawyer in 2017. The jig was up on the McCarrick cover-up. I blogged the heck out of it, and now I’m facing expulsion from the clerical state for it.

So:

Why o why would I have thought–after all this–that Peter Gerety got ushered out of Newark in 1986 for “being too liberal?” What kind of numbskull am I?

A 49-year-old woman (name withheld) has filed suit in New Jersey. Her sworn affidavit states that Gerety molested her when she was five years old, in 1976–two years into Gerety’s tenure.

[WARNING Not easy to read, taken from a Bergen Record article by Abbott Koloff, who gained access to the affidavit.]

She grew up in Newark near the Cathedral Basilica of Sacred Heart. Her mother “worked long hours as a seamstress” and Gerety allegedly offered to babysit.

One day Gerety took her by the hand to his bedroom. She described the room as being simply furnished, with the prelate’s bed pushed up against a wall and an old Bible on a table.

“Gerety told me to relax and close my eyes and informed me that what he was going to do with me was part of what God required and wanted me to do,” she wrote, adding that the archbishop gave her a warning: “Do not say anything about this because it will hurt your mother. This is our secret.”

She wrote that he walked her back to her home.

The abuse allegedly occurred three or four times, always in the rectory bedroom. She wrote that it stopped after she protested being left with the archbishop and an aunt offered to watch her. She remained silent about the allegations “as I had been instructed” until she was 13, when she told her older sister.

“My older sister cried when I told her and she said she felt guilty because she hadn’t or couldn’t protect me,” she wrote. “However, neither of us ever mentioned the abuse to our mother.”

Dear Reader, I do need help to pay my canon lawyer to fight Bishop Barry Knestout’s unjust actions against me. Click HERE if you can donate something. Thank you.

3 thoughts on “I am a Moron

  1. Why don’t church publications other than Mark’s blog print the “not easy to read” stuff? Perhaps because “sex abuse” can roll more easily off Catholics’ tongues and be forgotten—if they don’t have a clear mental image of a bishop raping a five year old girl, or . . . What other written descriptions tell exactly what an abuser does to his victim?
    Ann White

  2. Ha! Probably, Mrs. W., because the bishop would write to Rome and ask to have the publishers unbaptized!

    We have to let justice play out regarding this bishop, due process and all that, but what I don’t get is, why didn’t we hear about this first from the Church? Surely they should be letting people know that they are sharing all sworn allegations against past or present clerics as they get them, no?

  3. I am still catching up on reading I missed while out of town for several days, so I am late posting this comment. Each time we read about another victim’s story, it hurts…no matter how many stories we’ve already read. Hindsight, unfortunately, is 20/20, which at some point in time leaves almost everyone wondering, “How could I have not understood?” Or, “How could I have trusted that person?” Fr. Mark, I remember from your writings that McCarrick swore to a group of seminarians that everything they were hearing were lies told by his enemies, and they believed him because of who he was and their relationship with him. The only thing one can learn is to be less trusting in the future, and that in itself is extremely sad. I watched a beautiful special mass on TV recently and realized that I was wondering which among them would be another McCarrick! And I was angry that I should even be in a situation where such a thought occurred. And anger can fuel the desire to fight for what is right and good, even against what seems to be almost unsurmountable odds. We fight because we must. The “no one must tell” is how the Church got to where it is today. It’s time to tell, to expose, to fight back. May God be with us.
    Judy R.

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