The Rev. Jim Weiner of St. Andrew's Church in Westwood hosted cocktail parties attended by known homosexual priests from the Archiocese of Newark, several priests claim in a published report.
Weiner -- who has taken a leave of absence as pastor amid a renewed sexual misconduct investigation -- “has a reputation among the clergy, dating back to his time in the seminary, for active homosexuality,” the priests reportedly told Catholic News Agency (CNA) .
It was all part of a subculture that existed while former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was the archdiocese’s archbishop, as well as under his successor, Archbishop John Meyers, the priests said in independent interviews, according to CNA.
They also said in the CNA report that Weiner -- who previously was at St. Luke's in Ho-Ho-Kus and St. Elizabeth's in Wyckoff -- is one of two “transitional deacons” who Fr. Desmond Rossi said sexually abused him while he was a seminarian in Newark in the late 80s.
Rossi, now with the Diocese of Albany, said he agreed to a $35,000 settlement that covered the cost of counseling after the Archdiocese of Newark's Review Board deemed the claims credible.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the current Archbishop of Newark, announced earlier this month that Rossi’s claims were among those being re-examined.
In response to the CNA story, an archdiocese spokesman said: “No one – including the anonymous ‘sources’ cited in the article – has ever spoken to Cardinal Tobin about a ‘gay sub-culture’ in the Archdiocese of Newark.”
Three Newark priests gave independent accounts that were “nearly identical” of the cocktail parties they’d attended after being newly ordained, CNA reported.
One told the news agency that he entered a room to catcalls, while another said the attendees at a different gathering “were all carrying big mixed drinks, pink ones. It was like something out of ‘Sex In [The] City’.”
A third priest reportedly said: “Everyone kept calling me a ‘looker’ and saying they had to ‘keep me around’ from now on.”
Things changed for the better toward the end of Myers’s tenure, CNA said the priests reported.
Yet they also said an enormous amount of damage was done by priests who openly broke their vows of celibacy.
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