Exclusive Tell-all Interview—nyc Gay Priest Embezzlement Scandal
March 5, 2016
Michael Voris: OK, there's really two sort of major areas. One is the money, and the other is the sexual. They have a sort of overlap, but let's speak of each one individually at first. So first the money. Tell us what you know and how you know it about the accusation embezzlement of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bob: The embezzlement aspect of the scandal that has taken place in the archdiocese of New York comes from both parishes, and the reason I know this is because I've been privy to be at meetings where this scandal has been discussed. This is not the first time that this priest has been accused of stealing money. In fact, there have been numerous occasions where people have reported him for stealing money and for misappropriating funds from different parishes, in particular both parishes, the one in Manhattan and the one in the Bronx. The information that is being portrayed by the archdiocese as far as they don't know or have any direct evidence is because this is a cash business. The church is a cash business, and the times that he has been reported for stealing money has all involved cash. He is also someone who is being coached by officials within the archdiocese of New York, someone who is very high up in the archdiocese, who is very high up and who, in fact, is very experienced in the field of economy. He's an economist himself, also an attorney, and that person is Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo.
Michael: Now, you know this how?
Bob: I know this because I've overheard conversations that both Peter Miqueli and Gregory Mustaciuolo have had in the past. I was present at conversations that they had. I was also present at meetings where Gregory Mustaciuolo handpicked information and gave different bits and pieces of information to the cardinal of the archdiocese regarding the issues that were taking place with Peter Miqueli, particularly when it all began at the parish in Manhattan, St. Frances Cabrini.
Michael: Is there a cover-up going on here?
Bob: There is a cover-up with respect to what's happening. I think that the archdiocese needs to come forward with all of the truth. I think the truth will set everyone free. The cover-up — it's not a problem that Cdl. Dolan, I believe, should be held directly accountable for everything that has taken place. I think it's a problem that he has inherited from his predecessors.
Michael: Now when you say Gregory Mustaciuolo, you are talking about the vicar general of the archdiocese?
Bob: Yes, absolutely.
Michael: So this is not a little level player.
Bob: No, absolutely now. In fact, he would be the second most powerful in the archdiocese of New York, in fact, Cdl. Dolan's right-hand man. I think the cardinal has unfortunately taken a side step when it comes to oversight. I think that he has been lax on really, really keeping a tight leash on those who work for him and those who work directly with him. And because of this lax approach, he has now been put into the hot seat in many ways. For him to take the position that he was not fully aware of everything that was happening, there is some credibility to that. I believe he was aware of what was happening, but every piece of detail of everything that was happening as it was happening, I do not believe that it would be fair to say that the cardinal was aware of all those facts. I think the facts that he is aware of were hand picked by his right hand man, which is Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo.
Michael: What's Monsignor Mustaciuolo's play in this? Why is he — I mean, these are pretty serious charges. A priest is stealing a million dollars from two parishes over the course of 10 years, using them to fuel a sex life, which we'll get into later, and everybody knows about this. Priests in the archdiocese know about it, the parishioners know about it, they filed a lawsuit about it. Why is Msgr. Mustaciuolo trying to sweep all of this under the rug?
Bob: Well, it's not secret among the clergy in the archdiocese of New York that Msgr. Mustaciuolo is in fact the protector of Peter Miqueli. That's a very well-known fact that has been established. The problem comes in that the clergy is afraid to come forward and speak about this truth out of fear of retaliation from the very people who are supposed to be protecting the clergy and protecting the Church, that is, the infrastructure of the Church itself.
Michael: Well the chancery is protecting — the high-power people in the chancery are protecting Fr. Miqueli, and among those people is the vicar general.
Michael: Are there other parties protecting him?
Bob: Yes. The way that things work within the archdiocese is that before any type of disciplinary action can be taken against any clergy member of the archdiocese, it must be taken as a directive from the director of priest personnel or the priest personnel board, who acts on the order of the vicar general, who is Gregory Mustaciuolo. So what happens is even though there has been proof of misbehavior, whether it's been sexual misconduct or financial improprieties, whatever the case has been, the archdiocese, or the people who work for the archdiocese cannot act without a direct directive from those who are in the infrastructure structure of the archdiocese of New York, so pretty much it's like the people who are in place are doing their job, the laity if you will who are in place, are doing their job.
Michael: The heads of the different departments who know this and would take action are prevented from taking action by the clergy above them?
Bob: Yes, by the clergy above them. It's almost as if to say, if you have a director of finance, a director of legal, if you have a director of safe environment, if you have a director for lay ministries, they are doing their jobs as far as they are capable of, but once their job is done, they cannot act regardless of what information they uncover, regardless of what facts they uncover, whether they be criminal or noncriminal. These men and women cannot act without a direct directive coming from within the chancery itself, and that directive more often than not would come from Gregory Mustaciuolo, and he would then give that directive to those who are beneath him, which is Msgr. Weber, who is the director of priest personnel, and among other members of the archdiocese who sit on the priest personnel board, such as Anthony Sorgie. Pretty much these are the key players. You have Msgr. Weber, Anthony Sorgie and Gregory Mustaciuolo are acting in a conspiracy to get their agenda across. And it's sad to say, but that agenda is either a gay or bisexual agenda, for all three, including Peter Miqueli, have been — it is a well-known fact throughout the archdiocese that these men are either gay or bisexual.
Michael: And they're running the archdiocese?
Bob: Pretty much. They are running the archdiocese with the support of other gay priests in the archdiocese of New York. I think that it's a serious problem that is happening in the archdiocese of New York and among the other archdioceses throughout the United States and abroad. It's a cancer that is corrupting Mother Church from the inside.
Michael: Are you saying, just so we're clear here, are you saying that the archdiocese of New York is controlled and manipulated by a gay mafia in the chancery?
Michael: If we ask that of the archdiocese of New York, Joe Zwilling will deny that. Cardinal Dolan will deny that. The very men you are talking about will deny that. What would you say to them when they offer their denials?
Bob: I would tell them that it's time to just own up and tell the truth. I think that Mother Church deserves the truth. I think that the domestic Church, the people of God, deserve the truth. It's unfortunate that although it is true in, I would say the majority of both the laity and the clergy within the archdiocese know this to be a fact, know this to be true, they cannot speak or come forward. They're afraid, quite frankly. I can't blame them for being afraid.
Michael: Is that why you're giving your interview to us here in the shadows?
Bob: Yes, there is no other way but to give an interview in the shadows. The truth must prevail, and unfortunately if we as laity and those who are clergy come forward with the truth and reveal their identities, there will be reprisals up to and including possibly dismissal from employment from the archdiocese of New York, and if you are clergy, up to and including laicization possibly, depending on what it is that you say or don't say.
Michael: This is an inside job that goes back many years.
Bob: Yes, absolutely so. It would be unfair to say that it's something that's recent or something that is part of the recent culture. This is something that goes back decades in the archdiocese of New York, and in fact is something that begins in formation, if you will, way back into the seminary. You know, it's safe to say that the next biggest scandal, if not probably the biggest scandal that our Church will face, is not the scandal of the sexual abuse of minors, but it is in fact the cover-ups that have taken place afterwards. The sexual abuse and the scandal itself had to be dealt with, and we have a new zero tolerance as a Church to deal with that and the involvement of the proper law enforcement officials, but I think that the financial scandals that are going to come forward in the future, the cover-ups of those financial scandals — so many people have gotten rich off of stealing money from Mother Church that it's really a shame. And these people rank all the way up to be members of the Magisterium.
Michael: There's a hierarchy.
Bob: There's a hierarchy of this.
Michael: Do you think that there — okay, you know because we have shared with you, we have spoken of numerous priests in the archdiocese of New York who are terrified of anybody knowing that they know anything. They've sent us emails. We've had phone call discussions with them. And one of the things that they have identified to us is that there are so many priests in the archdiocese of New York who are leading double lives, and they have their lovers or whatever with them in the rectories, or they go off on vacations with them or whatever. That's what priests have told us. How do you respond to that?
Bob: I think that my response to that is right on. I think it's 100 percent the truth. There is an unwritten policy in the archdiocese of New York and I would assume probably many of the archdioceses, and that unwritten policy is that it's okay for a priest to be living the life that he wants to live as long as he's living it in secret. And what I'm saying by this is it is okay in the unwritten rule, if you will, but it is a standard, unwritten rule, something that everyone is fully aware of, that is okay for a priest to be living in an openly gay relationship, or even an openly heterosexual relationship, regardless of that man being in the sacrament of holy orders, to have a double life. It's okay in the archdiocese of New York.
Michael: Other priests in New York know that?
Bob: ... I'm sure there are some people who are still naive, who don't want to face the reality of what's happening in the archdiocese, but the truth of the matter is, I would say the majority of the clergy of the archdiocese of New York and even probably the majority of the laity who work within the infrastructure of the archdiocese of New York, including myself, would agree to that fact, that there is an acceptance and that it is okay for priests to be living double lives as long as it is a secret. And that double life, regardless of whether it is heterosexual or homosexual relationships, it doesn't make a difference.
Michael: The laity knows that, many of the priests know that, the officials in the chancery know this?
Michael: Cardinal Dolan knows this?
Michael: Where does this leave someone looking at the condition of the Church saying, “What are we going to do?”
Bob: I certainly can't sit here and say that I know the answer or the solution to the problem.
Michael: First step.
Bob: What I can say is that the first step is we need to hold people accountable. We can't move forward. Remember, the Church is not only a spiritual institution, but it's also a political institution, it's also a social institution, and we need to look at that from a realistic perspective. It's only in matters of faith and through the Holy See and in the seat of the Holy Father that we can say the Holy Father is infallible and that whatever matters of faith come forth are infallible, but in matters of politics and matters of economics, absolutely the Church is not infallible. In fact, it is just another entity like any other entity, and it's the human side of the Church. Sadly we have been shrouded by years and years of corruption, of unethical behavior, of sacrilegious men going into the sacrament of Holy Orders for the wrong reasons.
Michael: Let me ask you this. There is — the way other priests, the way priests in New York, the Archdiocese have typified this to us over the last few months has been that there is a stranglehold of actively gay priests who run the show.
Bob: Yes, that is true. That is true.
Michael: And the cardinal knows this.
Michael: In reference to the case of Fr. Miqueli, he has — the story is, I'm asking your opinion here or what you know, the story is he has a protector in not only Greg Mustaciuolo but a former rector of the seminary who is now Cdl. Edwin O'Brien. There have been many instances, public instances, of Cdl. O'Brien coming back from Rome to have confirmation Masses at whatever parish Fr. Miqueli was at, and many people inside the archdiocese tell us, yes, there is some sort of unique relationship there that is troubling.
Bob: Yes, that would be true also. I would have to say that this all began back in the seminary days. Cardinal O'Brien is someone who is not unknown in the archdiocese of New York.
Michael: He was rector of the seminary.
Bob: He was the rector of the seminary, and in fact these relationships of the people we've been talking about here, which would be Peter Miqueli, Sorgie, Mustaciuolo, Weber, and in fact Cdl. O'Brien, these were all relationships that were forged back in the 1980s at Dunwoodie in St. Joseph Seminary. In fact, it might be shocking to hear, but these men regularly had conversations that I was privy to where they jokingly and openly recollected masochistic activity and parties and things that they did back in the seminary.
Michael: You were in the presence, you were personally in the presence of these people as they were recounting stories of sexual activities with each other while they were in seminary?
Bob: Yes, yes.
Michael: You heard that personally?
Bob: Yes, yes. The presence of Cdl. O'Brien was not there, but they were all talking of him, in fact, Cdl. O'Brien was referred to as the "master." He was the "master." Whatever that meant, only they know.
Michael: And is this sort of the political body, so to speak? This is the group that now runs everything in the archdiocese?
Bob: Yes, but they don't run it alone. They are the main leadership structure, if you will, because they are in positions of power already in the archdiocese of New York and have been in positions of power for quite some time. We can only pray that that's going to change at some point. I know that for my colleagues and I who are privy to seeing the internal workings of the archdiocese of New York, it's something that we pray about every day. Miqueli was removed from his position as a pastor.
Michael: Regardless that it was presented that he resigned.
Bob: Ah well, absolutely, he may have presented it any way they wanted to present it, but the reality is that he was removed. We're dealing with egomaniacs here at all levels, and so it's unfortunate that these things happen, but I believe that it's a necessity. It's part of the purification process of Mother Church. I think that going forward, nothing but good can come of this.
Michael: The exposure.
Bob: The exposure, yeah. Nothing short of some sort of internal vigilance within Mother Church Herself mandated, if you will, by Mother Church coming from the Holy See I don't think will really, really make a huge difference. It's unfortunate, but I think that that's true. I mean, we are a Church of mercy, and I think we need to remember that, but there can be no mercy without justice and without accountability.
Michael: Is there a situation where you see some big change being able to come from all of this? Does Cdl. Dolan have to step out on the steps of St. Patrick's and admit all of this and say he's cleaning house, does he have to resign, does the district attorney office have to file charges against the archdiocese for covering up the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars because of this gay network covering for each other's' relationships? What has to happen here?
Bob: Well, I think there's truth to everything that you said. There has to be accountability at all levels, at the onset of corruption, which is at the parish levels if it's taking place with a parish priest, regardless of who that parish priest is, whether he is a pastor or not, but if a parish priest is questionable about his lifestyle or his behaviors, he needs to be held accountable and so forth and so on, from parish priest to the pastor to the bishops who are positions of supervision over these priests, to members of the priest personnel board, to members of the chancellery itself, all the way up to the rank of cardinal.
Michael: So you're saying the whole network is corrupt, all the way up.
Bob: But the whole network, again in defense of our current cardinal, I think this is a problem he inherited.
Bob: But I think it's a problem that he also failed to act prudently.
Michael: And continues to not act prudently.
Bob: And apparently yeah, continues to not act. The removal of one priest after a scandal like this is not the solution.
Michael: ... Okay, it's been well testified to, it's proven, no doubt about it, Cdl. Dolan knew from the parishioners at [St. Frances] de Chantal almost two years before all this broke out, before they filed the lawsuit, a year, eight months, 10 months, whatever it was. He knew this was going on. He wrote letters to them, blowing them off or saying, “Yeah, we'll look into it.” They knew about this. The cardinal himself knew about this, and he continued to blow it off. It was only when those headlines hit the local New York papers, The Post, Daily News, of Fr. Miqueli and the whole sadomasochistic prostitute thing that all of a sudden, bam, he's gone. Does that disturb you that it took something in the secular press to get the archdiocese to respond?
Bob: Yes, it does disturb me, but it doesn't surprise me. I think that unfortunately it is a human reality that we don't do what needs to be done until we are forced oftentimes to do what needs to be done. And in that case, the archdiocese of New York, including its leaders, is guilty of that. And there must be accountability. What that accountability is, I don't know. Certainly there must be accountability. And I think that in due time, the Holy Father will know what to do. I go back to my opinion, and that is unless there is massive internal change in Mother Church where there is some sort of internal vigilance for holding people accountable regardless of your rank within the clergy —
Michael: Like the police have an internal affairs department.
Bob: Pretty much. Okay. Regardless of whether you're an altar server all the way up to the very seat that the Holy Father holds because in our own humanity, we live and exist in a broken condition, a condition of sin. It's part of our human condition, and our failure to acknowledge that element of reality, that regardless of who you are, up to and including the Holy Father himself, he is a sinner. But if he sins against Mother Church Herself, then he should be held accountable too.
Michael: Okay, so Bob, let me ask you, would it be a fair characterization to say that the legal team for the archdiocese of New York is very concerned about this case?
Bob: Yes, the legal team is very concerned about this case, particularly because there is documentary evidence that will clearly, clearly stipulate that the leadership of the archdiocese was fully aware of what was happening, not only at St. Frances de Chantal but also at his previous parish in Manhattan, St. Frances Cabrini. Again, this is not a new problem. This is something that was inherited by Cdl. Dolan, if you will, and unfortunately he's in the hot seat over it, as they say. But the legal team is very worried, and quite frankly, I don't blame them. I think that when the truth finally comes out in its entirety, I think that some heads are going to roll.
Michael: Well, we have the civil suit. As we understand, subpoenas about to be issued in regard to that case. Then we have the criminal case where subpoenas are also imminent with regard to criminal misappropriation of funds, covering things up, negligence. I mean, some of this theft has been going on for close to 10 years! And the same people who essentially run the archdiocese now are the same people who ran it 10 years ago. And they knew this the whole time.
Michael: I mean, Cdl. Egan went out. Cardinal Dolan came in. Cardinal Egan knew about it. Cardinal Dolan knows about it.
Bob: There's no denying that. I think that, again, sooner or later people will have to be held accountable.
Michael: So Bob, you have inside information on all of this. You've seen each of the documents, you've been present at some of the meetings for this and that, you've heard the discussions between people, you're in the daily flow of this.
Michael: What do you think when you hear a statement or a press release of Joe Zwilling saying, "Nothing to see here, folks! Nothing to see."
Bob: I think you need to take that with a very tiny, tiny grain of salt.
Michael: Are they lying?
Bob: I believe he is, directly. As the spokesperson for the archdiocese of New York and knowing that he's just someone there to spin statements.
Michael: He says they haven't been able to find any financial malfeasance, records of — there was an audit done at Cabrini when Fr. Miqueli left and went to de Chantal in the Bronx. An audit was done there, where the auditor — we've heard this from various sources — the auditor says this stuff is criminal.
Michael: And that was an archdiocesan audit!
Michael: So how can Cdl. Dolan's spokesman say, "Nothing to see here! We can't find anything!" The cardinal said just sloppy bookkeeping. The auditor said it was criminal!
Bob: Well, I think that everyone is sort of ducking for cover. Eventually the buck has to stop somewhere, and in this case, it's going to end up stopping right where it needs to stop, which is in the chancery of the archdiocese of New York. There were reasons why what the auditor discovered was covered up. And again, the people that did that, people like Msgr. Weber, people like Gregory Mustaciuolo, people like Cdl. Egan who, may he rest in peace, but the reality is he was aware of this problem in the archdiocese. There's no denying that. This is not something that is new, and eventually, unfortunately, the buck's going to stop with the present cardinal.
Michael: Well, that's why you have the power.
Bob: He ultimately, the buck stops with him, as the phrase goes. The buck stops there. And he will have to be held accountable. To what degree of accountability I can't say.
Michael: Let's switch gears from the legal thing for a moment to something that still has legal ramifications. The gay-for-pay prostitute, Keith Crist — now he had been found lacking by the Safe Environment program, Safe Environment Office of the archdiocese.
Michael: That's right?
Michael: They had actually issued a public statement that he was not supposed to be on church property. Is that right?
Michael: That was a well-known fact?
Michael: And yet for years, he was on property on both places and in particular was spending time in the rectory at de Chantal in the Bronx. Is that right?
Michael: After the warnings, or the directives, or the statements saying he can't be on church property, after those have been issued, he's still there.
Michael: One of the directors of Safe Environment was stationed at the parish. Is that right?
Michael: He knew that that man should not be on church property, right?
Bob: Yes. It would be logical to assume that. Well, it wasn't the director of Safe Environment. It's someone else who works for the archdiocese of New York. In fact, he's a clergy. And he actually is assigned to that parish of St. Frances de Chantal. His name is George Coppola. And you can open up any —
Michael: In fact, he's a deacon.
Bob: Yes, in fact, he is a deacon. Yes he is.
Michael: And he is the one right now whom Cdl. Dolan has sort of placed in charge in the sense of pastorship? He's the guy running the show there right now.
Bob: Yes. There is a priest there now who has been named temporary administrator of the parish, but pretty much the day-to-day things are being run by this person who has been there since the scandal began. In fact, he is the archdiocesan, if you will, representative for the reporting of alleged sexual misconduct of any clergy or laity or anyone who works for the archdiocese. If there is a suspicion or an allegation, this person, George Coppola, is the person who is supposed to take the report and file those reports and follow up on an investigation. But he failed to do that in every respect.
Michael: So inside the very rectory where the deacon in charge of this aspect of Safe Environment for the archdiocese, inside this rectory in the Bronx, Keith Crist, the gay-for-pay prostitute for Fr. Miqueli, whom he knows isn't supposed to be on church property —
Michael: And now, when Fr. Miqueli is removed/resigns, he's given the keys essentially to run the show, not directly, but the day-to-day operation, he runs it.
Bob: Yes, and that's not very different than — my understanding is he was running the day-to-day operations even when Peter Miqueli was there because Peter Miqueli was just there in name, pretty much. At the time, he was pretty much always absent from the parish.
Michael: So, you don't even know where to go with this. There are so many different legs here. You don't even know which one to grab. Is it the case that — Keith Crist was not allowed to be on church property?
Michael: That is what the Office of Safe Environment for the archdiocese said.
Michael: Yet, here he was on church property, day after day, day in, day out, week in, week out, month after month. He gets reported. He goes away for a week or two or whatever, and he comes right back.
Michael: Keith Crist, gay-for-pay prostitute, who had failed the Safe Environment program, is also, when Cdl. Edwin O'Brien comes into town, is chauffeuring him from the airport, chauffeuring the cardinal from the airport to Fr. Peter Miqueli.
Bob: Yes. That is correct.
Michael: And you, or others you know, are witnesses to that.
Michael: There is gay pornography that has been downloaded on the rectory computer, and various members of the parish know that.
Bob: Which parish?
Michael: De Chantal.
Bob: Yes, that is correct.
Michael: So there is a gay-for-pay prostitute, who shouldn't even be on church property, who's in the rectory. He's chauffeuring Cdl. Edwin O'Brien around and driving him around when he's in town when he's coming in for Fr. Miqueli's requested events. There's gay porn on the rectory computer, witnessed by various parishioners. All of this is being reported to the archdiocese.
Bob: Yes. Absolutely.
Michael: And what are they doing about it?
Bob: Well, from what can be seen, they did little to nothing. It's sad to admit that truth, but they did little to nothing. Perhaps maybe patronize the people at these parishes who were reporting these misdeeds pretty much is what I would call their response. They pretty much patronized them with letters telling them they're never happy or they're just always complaining.
Michael: And one of those letters just like that came from Cdl .Dolan. He said, "Oh you guys, I went back and checked the history. You guys are always complaining."
Bob: Yes. That is true.
Bob: But little to nothing was done. They took some small steps with an attempt at mediation.
Michael: Mediating what?
Bob: Apparently, I think that the position of the archdiocese in response to the concerns of these parishioners was hoping that at some point they'd just shut up and go away.
Michael: Well, sure.
Bob: And I think that these parishioners are heroes. They're truly warriors for Mother Church. I think that it took a lot of courage for them to come forward and to stand up and defend Mother Church, and in the end, they're really defending themselves and their families because they are the Church. And I think that part of the reality has set into the mindset of the leaders of the archdiocese who are now realizing that they slapped the wrong people in the face because these people are not going to go away, and I don't blame them in many ways. They're fighting for the integrity of Mother Church. And bravo!
Michael: Haha, "bravo!"
Bob: Bravo, indeed! Because unfortunately men like myself —
Michael: Yeah, if you turned the lights on here, you'd get fired.
Bob: Absolutely. Absolutely. If my identity was revealed, I would be fired, I would probably be sued for all kinds of breach of confidentiality, etc., etc.
Michael: So why are you sitting here right now?
Bob: I'm sitting here because I think that Church Militant is being used as an instrument of God's grace. I really believe that. I believe that, as Mother Teresa used to say, that she was just the pencil in God's hand. And I think that Church Militant has had the courage to stand up, listen to the people who have the truth and are willing to put that truth out there and to protect and stand up for the real Church. And to me, that's heroic. It's heroic. And in fact, I would call myself a coward standing next to some of the men and women who have come forward with the truth, some of the parishioners who have risked so much, some of the people who work here whom I've had the privilege to meet for the first time and just observe them. It really put me to shame. Because the truth is Church Militant is really the only organization, the only entity, that has been willing to just air the truth. I mean, the Catholic New York every month has an ad that says, "If you are aware of any type of sexual misconduct and wish to report any sexual conduct, please call this person," and that person is someone who was protecting Peter Miqueli, who worked with him every day, and in fact continues to work at the very place that he was protecting him.
Michael: What is the big root of all this? Is it the protection of the sexual secrets? Is it the love of money? Is it the desire to hold onto the power and just keep orchestrating everything the way you want it to? Is it the respect or fear that engenders the people who work under you? What is it? There aren't that many things that can go wrong with human nature in the big picture, and it's always sex, power, money, something. There aren't that many categories. So what is it here that's sort of driving the ship?
Bob: I think it's a combination of all of the above, of everything you said, but if I had to narrow it down to a specific, unfortunately it's always about the bottom line. I think that the acceptance of this gay mafia that has sunk its clutches into the archdiocese of New York and I'm sure into so many other archdioceses is linked to that same rationalization. It's about the bottom line. I think that the Church is in such a dire need of money that the gay lobby, the gay community, is new money. And it's so popular because they are willing to give it to whomever is willing to accept it and whoever is willing to promote their agenda.
Michael: So, for example, the St. Patrick's Day Parade scandal from last March.
Bob: Yeah. I would have to say that I never, in all my years as a devout Catholic, have seen such an openly jolly reception of the gay community as I saw the cardinal do! It was nothing but a barrel of laughs about this very important issue that's affecting our Church. And I'm not homophobic, I'm not anti-gay, in fact, not only do I have family members who are homosexual whom I love and whom I share with and help in any way that I can, both emotionally and physically, spiritually and even economically, but there is a place for orthodox faith. And in the same way, if I, as a married man commit adultery and it's not acceptable in Mother Church, it's a mortal sin for me to commit adultery, well in the same way, a person who is experiencing or who lives with same-sex attraction and acts out on that attraction in that same manner, he or she is also committing a mortal sin. And the remedy for that lies clearly in two things: sacrament of reconciliation and the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. But you can't have it both ways! And the problem in the archdiocese of New York is that it is an unwritten rule that it is okay for you to be a priest in the archdiocese of New York and have a double life, so you're a priest from nine to five — if you are lucky to get a priest who is willing to be a priest from nine to five — and there are many, there are many, there are many — because although this gay mafia has taken its toll, there are so many, many good, holy priests, very dedicated men who are devout, who have consecrated themselves ...
Michael: They want this story coming out.
Bob: But they can't come forward!
Michael: They can't do it. Right.
Bob: And they can't do it. And they can't do it. And the reality is that that is a truth that is undeniable. And it is a well-known fact in the archdiocese of New York that it is okay for you to be a priest and have a double life, to live one life from nine to five, and at five p.m., your Roman collar comes off and you're no longer Fr. Bob, that it's then okay for you to indulge in any type of behavior or lifestyle that you wish to engage in as long as it's secret and it's not known about.
Michael: Let me ask you this. We were told by a number of sources inside the archdiocese that one priest not too long ago just sort of abandoned his post, just left the parish, went off and said, “I want to be gay,” went with his gay boyfriend, whatever, went off for a year or two years, gave that up, and then came back. He was accepted right back in and was given a plum parish assignment.
Bob: Yes, my understanding is that that is true, that that is a factual thing that did happen. I don't personally know this priest.
Michael: But you know of him.
Bob: I know of him, and I have heard that to be true.
Michael: There are some very well-known parishes in Manhattan where the priest, sometimes newly installed, has his boyfriend living with him in the rectory.
Bob: Yes. That is true. Also, there are some very openly gay parishes in Manhattan.
Michael: What does that mean, "openly gay parish"?
Bob: Openly gay parish meaning regularly it is a standard practice for them to allow people who are living in same-sex relationships to be eucharistic ministers, to be lectors, to engage in the ministries of the Church although they are living in a same-sex relationship.
Michael: Opposed to the Church.
Bob: In total opposition to the Church. Yet, ironically, if some of the brother priests who want to come forward with the truth were to come forward with the truth of what is being done and what is happening in the archdiocese of New York, they risk even being stripped of their faculties for speaking of these so-called secrets that are supposed to be kept, this silence that is supposed to be honored among the clergy, and they would be stripped of their faculties in all likelihood, and they would not even be able to be a lector! They remain a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek, but they would not even be able to give out Holy Communion. They would not even be able to function as an altar server, if you will. How is that just?
Michael: This is one of the curious things that we hear from priests all over the country, and all over the world as well, but particularly here in New York, that there isn't an unwillingness to discipline when something is done wrong, it's that those who are disciplined are cherry-picked. As a priest, if you're orthodox, you believe, you teach the hard truths, then you are picked on, marginalized, given the lousy parishes in the sense that they are small and they struggle with money all the time and all of that. But if you are one of these other priests living a double life, you're getting the plum assignments. A whole network is built that protects this sort of secret, double-life infrastructure, gay mafia that runs the archdiocese.
Bob: Yes. That is absolutely true. I think that so many brother priests would want to come forward and tell that truth. I think they would experience freedom. They would be able to really serve God in their righteous priesthood that we need so much. But the problem is, it's a culture of secrecy where white-collar crime is rewarded with posh assignments so that this white-collar crime can continue, and those who want to tell the truth and be good priests and serve the people of God would actually wind up being punished with poor assignments, with being ousted.
Michael: Sometimes no assignment.
Bob: And sometimes no assignment.
Michael: Sort of just left in No Man's Land.
Bob: But then again, where does that accountability lie? That's the solution to this, or at least part of the solution to it. There needs to be accountability, and that accountability must begin with the top rank and work its way down. You can't just start at the bottom and work your way up. It must begin at the top and work its way down. I believe that probably most brother priests and most others who have any connection or any understanding of the infrastructure and the intricate workings of any archdiocese, in fact of Mother Church itself, of the political entities and the sociological entity that it is, would agree. They would say that they must start at the top. And anything short of even, I daresay, amending canon law is possibly something that has to be done.
Michael: We're that bad now.
Bob: I believe so, yeah. It's gotten that bad. The corruption in Mother Church has gotten so bad. And the archdiocese of New York is just the tip of the iceberg. You have scandals that just keep popping up all over. Some of these cardinals are living extravagant lives, living in posh mansions.
Michael: Like Cdl. [Donald] Wuerl.
Bob: Yeah, in Washington, D.C. Yet we have the Holy Father who shows up in the United States and gets into a Fiat.
Michael: A Fiat! Our apologies to Fiat.
Bob: It's a great car. Almost made me want to go out and buy one. But I can't afford it on my salary. But the reality is that yes, I think that accountability begins at the top, and nothing short of, I daresay, amending canon law. One of the things that many of these priests who are living these lives, in particular committing financial crimes, is that they are protected by canon law, you know, as priests, as pastors. Even to make some sort of an allegation, as I said, the laity in the archdiocese are doing its job, but they cannot act without permission.
Michael: Well, to be certain, canon law isn't designed to do that.
Bob: Absolutely not.
Michael: They have found a loophole or a cover, and they live under that cover.
Bob: And they live under that cover. Even a pastor, in this case with Peter Miqueli, yeah, that is part of his arrogance and his confidence that he can do anything that he wanted to do at any parish he was assigned, not only because of his protector, Gregory Mustaciuolo, Weber, his other friends on the priest personnel board like Sorgie, and even his relationship that he had with Cdl. O'Brien, he was acting with impunity, both at his previous assignment before he arrived in the Bronx, he acted with impunity even in Manhattan. He was there for many, many years, and he had pretty much that entire community held hostage, a very small community that tried their best within their means to report what was happening there with him.
Michael: They were reporting it to Fr. Miqueli's allies.
Bob: But they were reporting it to his allies. And so nothing was done. And so they lost faith in the structure of the Church and in the role that the archdiocese has to protect parishioners and to protect the Church itself. And then when this man finally moves out and is transferred to another parish and he moved to his next assignment, which happened to be in the Bronx, he just continued this same lifestyle. And when parishioners there, like the ones on Roosevelt Island, turned to the archdiocese, that has an obligation and a duty and an official responsibility to act, they reported the things that they needed to report, there is no denying that both these groups followed the protocol that is in place to prevent these very things from happening, which is how you go about reporting it. You go to the archdiocese, you start at one level, you take it to the next level, and you follow to the next level, and you follow the protocol, pretty much similar to a chain of command. And they did all of that, multiple times, and continue to do so to no avail. Now the thing is, it's been handed over to the district attorney's office, who are investigating the criminal allegations.
Michael: Let me ask you, Bob. You work in the archdiocese. What do you want to see specifically happen here? Do you want to see the people who run the archdiocese to be publicly outed about all of their activities here and lose their jobs and be replaced?
Bob: I think that that goes hand in hand with justice. That's accountability. Certainly the chancellor, Gregory Mustaciuolo, needs to be removed. Without a doubt. That's something that shocks me why it hasn't happened yet. I just can't understand how the cardinal can continue to have this man as his vicar general, knowing that before anything gets to the cardinal, it has to get through this man. And this man had to act in the best interest of Mother Church and the best interest of the cardinal, if you will. And he failed to do that. He had his reasons for failing to do that. He had his motives for failing to do that. But he failed to do that nonetheless. Motives aside, he failed to do the primary job that he was appointed to do.
Michael: Let me ask you: The cardinal hasn't gotten rid of him. There is no indication that the cardinal is going to get rid of Monsignor Mustaciuolo?
Bob: Not as of yet.
Michael: As of yet, none. Not a whisper, not a word, nothing. Not even chatting. Nothing. So if the cardinal doesn't get rid of him, does the cardinal need to be gotten rid of?
Bob: It's a good question, fair question. And I would have to answer truthfully and say yes. If the cardinal fails to act again, then what is the reason behind that?
Michael: What is the reason behind that?
Bob: You know, what is the reason behind that is a very, very good question. His failure to act will only make him more culpable.
Michael: At one point you have to move beyond the natural court proceedings and move into the realm of the supernatural here. And we have to ask the question, do these men have concern for their souls? You cannot leave individuals like this in place for years who threaten people's souls because they aren't giving them correct catechesis. Lord knows what they are saying in confessions (if they're hearing confessions), that aren't saying good homilies. And this is the whole reason there is a parish structure, to preserve the Faith, so it keeps getting passed on. And that isn't happening. Fine, there's legal cases and civil suits and all that, but where's the fear of God here — that you must follow Him, you must serve Him?
Bob: Absolutely. And unfortunately knowing the men that are involved, being around them in very privileged meetings ... and seeing them, there is no remorse. And so I think that these men have been living these double lives and committing these crimes that they don't know anything else.
Michael: That's horrifying.
Bob: Yeah, it is. They're not beyond redemption. You know, we are a redemptive Church, and we are in a year of mercy, and we have to offer mercy. I myself need mercy. We all need mercy. But these men have been so corrupt for such an extended period of time over decades, not only in the present leadership structure of the Church, but even just when they were ordinary priests. They were living double lives already. In all likelihood, they entered the priesthood for all the wrong reasons. I mean, you have a man like Gregory Mustaciuolo, who is an economist, an attorney, has a law degree, worked for the city of New York, but in all likelihood saw a very dim financial future for himself in that particular field and all of a sudden decided that he wanted to become a priest. Why? Did he see a brighter light than in a business, as an economist? Did he see a brighter light with the right people and making the right connections and getting together the right group of men? It's a mafia. It really is in the sense of the word. It really is a group of men who have been conspiring for many, many years to steal money, to corrupt Mother Church from the inside, to destroy evidence, to be sacrilegious in every sense of the word. How does a man like that stand at an altar and offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? How does a man like that stand in a sanctuary, in front of the sanctuary, and offer Holy Eucharist to the people of God? How does a man like that stand at a pulpit and read the Gospel or preach a homily to the people of God?
Michael: How is a man like that allowed to keep his post?
Bob: And that question is a fair, fair question. Because that it happens is not the shock. It happens in all parts — I mean, people are human beings. Humanity is a broken condition that we live in. But the reality is that the people who are supposed to be put into place and who are, who are supposed to be acting to prevent all that. And yet it is those very people who are acting to enable all of that.
Michael: How do you think, once this interview is out there and people are watching it (obviously people in New York would pay great attention to it), but how do you think it will resonate outside of New York?
Bob: I pray that it gives them courage. And I say that because we very much need that in our society today. I pray that what I have said, which is true, that they take it and they realize that it is only by telling the truth that we will experience change. It will come slow, but they need to tell the truth. And I tell that to everyone. Please tell the truth. You know, there is going to be a consequence to that, but as long as it's the truth, we should be able to live with those consequences.
Michael: This isn't a deposition, but let's treat it as one. Is there anything that you have said to us today that is untrue?
Michael: Is there anything that you said that you would wish to amend?
Bob: At the moment, no.
Michael: Is there anything you said that you'd like to say, "I shouldn't have said that?"
Bob: No. No, I'm comfortable in saying that everything I said, I think it's the truth, I know it's the truth in my heart. I don't have any qualms, I have no gripe, I have no regrets. The only regret I have, in truth, is working for the archdiocese of New York.
Michael: Well, if they identify you, you don't have to worry about that!
Bob: That's really the truth. That's really the only regret I have. Unfortunately, some of us have to conform to this internal corruption, not only in the archdiocese of New York but I think in Mother Church as a whole. And nothing short of reform that comes from the Holy See itself, that comes from divine intervention, nothing short of that is probably going to make a real, real, significant difference. But I think that this action that this particular group of parishioners took, this lawsuit that they filed and attaching to that lawsuit the archdiocese itself, the leader of the archdiocese himself, it's the way to go.
Michael: Well, there was no alternative.
Bob: Exactly. They went the route that they were supposed to go to no avail, to no satisfaction whatsoever, so what other recourses do you have left? And I think those who have seen the truth finally will come out, and I'm sure there is going to be a lot more truth. Maybe, I'm hoping and praying that this particular interview may give others the strength to say, "You know, I want to tell the truth, too!"
Michael: What's interesting now is there is going to be a series of depositions had. You know, the subpoenas are going out soon. There's going to be a series of subpoenas handed out, both civilly and criminally. Depositions are going to be taken. I don't get the sense that the people that are going to be deposed (we know some of them) are going to perjure themselves. I think they're going to say exactly what you've said, and they're all going to back each other's stories up. Do you agree with that?
Bob: Are those being deposed on behalf of the archdiocese or — because there are going to be people from the archdiocese being deposed also. Are you referring to the plaintiffs?
Michael: The plaintiffs in the civil suit and the people who are — you know, if you're a mid-level employee in the archdiocese, and you get dragged into a deposition, perjury is a crime punishable by imprisonment.
Michael: I don't think many people are going to be willing to sacrifice prison to keep a corrupt system from which they don't really benefit.
Bob: I don't believe so, either. I think they're going to tell the truth. I think they want to tell the truth, and the only reason they're not telling the truth is for fear of reprisal.
Michael: And to be certain, you know other people that you work with directly, you know people you work with indirectly in other branches or whatever you want to call it of the archdiocese who feel exactly the same way that you do.
Michael: And they don't just feel it, they know it.
Bob: Absolutely. But again, they have a job to do. They're also employees. They also have families to take care of. And Mother Church needs to see that and the only way that that's possible is internal change. There has to be some sort of internal monitoring of Mother Church where there is going to be accountability, where the information is well controlled as to who is being investigated and why, and there has to be a direct link to that accountability, that the result of any kind of inquiry ... is done expeditiously and that the facts are gathered, and that those facts are given to those needed to make the decision, and that that decision is made swiftly. And more often than not, these decisions warrant the removal of someone or more than one, and warrant the toppling of an entire leadership structure if need be. But then we can begin to rebuild. Without that, how do we rebuild with rotten apples still on the branch? They really need to do an internal cleansing, and I'm hoping that some have the courage to come forward and tell the truth. If that's going to happen, I don't know. That would be something interesting to watch.
Michael: One more question. You spent many hours on your knees before you consented to this interview.
Bob: Yeah. Yeah, I prayed. I prayed very much before I consented to this interview. I'm here because of that. I don't believe I'm here for any other reason. I think that for whatever reasons, the Lord has given me the peace to come forward with the truth, tell the truth, and hopefully at some point there will be accountability, and with that will come justice, and with justice mercy, and with mercy reform and genuine change for Mother Church so that we can return to a place of worship where I can be proud of my parish priest, that I can sit on a bench and listen to a priest preach and watch him consecrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist and feel good about that. I think that the people of God are yearning for that. We're aching for that. Speaking for myself, I would rather have quality priests, not quantity. And the bottom line is: Are we going to sacrifice quality for quantity? So that means change.
Michael: Bob, thank you. Anything else you want to say?
Bob: No. Keep doing what you are doing here. I think Church Militant has the courage to put forth the truth, and it's exactly what we need. So onward!