Outing Cardinal Egan

A priest's lawsuit alleges the Catholic Church is hiding pedophile clergy—and offers a stunning reason why

The Vatican's antics on homosexuality could change all that. Michael Mendola, of Dignity New York, the local chapter, says gay priests have kept their mouths shut about bishops' sex lives because they "don't want to jeopardize their relationships with the dioceses." But he knows plenty of good, caring gay priests who, in his words, "are tired of all the nonsense going on in the church with homosexuality these days." They're tired of the way the Vatican has pinned blame for the clergy-abuse crisis on homosexuals. And the way far-right Catholic groups have tried to purge the church of gays.

Some may grow so tired of being persecuted that they could break the veil of silence. Once news of Hoatson's lawsuit gets out, Sipe predicts, "I think others may follow."

Whether that happens remains to be seen, of course. In the meantime, Hoatson's suit must make its way through the courts. Attorneys for Egan, Hubbard, and Myers did not return a phone call from the Voice seeking comment for this article. But letters they sent to U.S. District Court judge Paul Crotty, who is presiding over the case, suggest that they intend to try to dismiss it on legal grounds. As Daniel Alonso, the Manhattan attorney who represents Egan and the New York archdiocese, writes in his January 19 letter, "We propose to move to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted."

"It's time the church confronts this dysfunction," says Father Bob Hoatson.
photo: Jay Muhlin
"It's time the church confronts this dysfunction," says Father Bob Hoatson.

Details

Outing Cardinal Egan
Father Bob Hoatson Says Closeted Catholic Leaders Can't Protect Abuse Victims—And He's Naming Names
by Kristen Lombardi

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    Hoatson's suit could well get quashed before it ever reaches an open courtroom. Yet in the court of public opinion, he may already be winning. Survivors, at least, are rallying around the priest, cheering him on in listservs and Internet discussion boards, lauding him as courageous beyond belief. "Father Bob is no dummy," says Regan. "He's a priest who has a lot to lose by coming forward with this suit."

    And that's just what worries some of his allies who think he's crossed a line. They fear his allegations against the bishops may backfire, undermining his credibility and, worse, his victims' ministry. One fellow clergyman doesn't doubt that the bishops have targeted Hoatson for whistle-blowing. But he can't quite wrap his mind around why the priest decided to bring the bishops' sexuality into the mix. "Once you make those claims, there is no turning back," the cleric says.

    To Hoatson, though, it comes down to the truth. All he wants is to save his church, he says, and sometimes, you have to destroy something in order to rebuild it.

    "I answer to a higher authority, and this is what God has asked me to do," he says. "God is calling on me to dismantle the insanity and corruption."

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