Bernardin's 'Gay-Friendly' Ghost

By Matt C. Abbott [Chicago IL]
March 7, 2004

Some years back, during the Chicago reign of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (from 1982 to his death in 1996) conservative commentator Thomas Roeser, a Catholic, was on a program with Chicago homosexual activist Rick Garcia, a purported Catholic. After the program ended, Garcia told Roeser, in a snide manner, "I have more of an 'in' with Bernardin than you," to which Roeser responded, "I'm sure you do!"

Bernardin, as many faithful Catholics will attest, was one of the most "gay-friendly" bishops in the U.S.; and he wielded much power and influence in the American church. During his reign, liberal dissenters flourished while faithful priests and laymen were either left out in the cold, or were persecuted by Bernardin and his underlings.

In 1993, Bernardin made headlines when he was accused of sexual abuse by the late Stephen Cook, a former seminarian who was openly homosexual. Cook later retracted his allegations, saying he couldn't trust his own memory.

He died of AIDS in 1995.

The secular media, of course, largely praised Bernardin; only "The Wanderer," a national Catholic weekly, and perhaps a few other conservative publications, ran stories that were critical of him. (For more information about the many questions that surround his legacy, visit

I can't help but think Bernardin's "gay-friendly" ghost still haunts not only the Archdiocese of Chicago, but the American church as a whole. Consider: About 4 percent of the clergy have been accused of sexual abuse (and over 80 percent of the victims are male). Liberal dissenters continue to flourish, while the bishops, with some notable exceptions, remain largely silent. Pro-abortion, pro-sodomy "Catholic" politicians abound. And the homosexual network, even within the church, continues to inflict physical and spiritual damage on the faithful.

From noted Catholic author Michael S. Rose, editor of (Feb. 27, 2004):

"Two separate accusations that Bishop Howard Hubbard had homosexual relations, including paying for sex with a 16-year-old minor, have left the leader of the Albany diocese embarrassed and humiliated. At press conferences, in public statements, and on talk radio he has steadfastly refuted both allegations, saying that he has 'never had sexual relations with anyone.'

"But it is the death of Fr. John Minkler that has severely complicated matters for the accused bishop. Fr. Minkler, 57, was found dead in his home on Sunday, February 15. Three days before, the deceased priest was identified in a television news report as the author of a 1995 report addressed to New York's Cardinal John J. O'Connor. Among other things, the letter detailed 'a ring of homosexual Albany priests' including Bishop Howard Hubbard's alleged long-term homosexual relationships with two younger priests.

"Police won't say how Fr. Minkler died, only that the circumstances surrounding his death are not yet clear. The coroner has yet to release his report of the autopsy....

"...Along with Bishop Hubbard's neighboring Diocese of Rochester, under the leadership of Hubbard's longtime friend Bishop Matthew Clark, the Diocese of Albany has long been known as one of the most gay-friendly dioceses in the nation.

"Although Bishop Howard Hubbard is setting out with great gusto to prove himself innocent of any and all allegations of homosexual misconduct, his greater challenge is going to be disassociating himself from suspicion that he has anything whatsoever to do with the mysterious death of Fr. John Minkler, the bishop's longtime detractor."

Then we have the liberal soft-porn novelist Fr. Andrew Greeley, who, in his 1999 non-fiction book "Furthermore! Memories of a Parish Priest," states the following:

"...But even in Chicago, the ring of predators about whom I wrote in the paperback edition of 'Confessions' remains untouched. There is no evidence against them because no one has complained about them and none of their fellow priests have denounced them. Those who have been removed are for the most part lone offenders who lacked the skill to cover their tracks. The ring is much more clever. Perhaps they always will be. But should they slip, should they get caught, the previous scandals will seem trivial....They are a dangerous group. There is reason to believe that they are responsible for at least one murder, and may perhaps have been involved in the murder of the murderer. Am I afraid of them? Not particularly. They know that I have in safekeeping information which would implicate them. I am more of a threat to them dead than alive."

(The murder Greeley is alluding to in the above passage is almost certainly that of Francis E. Pellegrini, who was the organist and choir director at All Saints - St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, located on Chicago's South side. Pellegrini was allegedly in the process of exposing to the archdiocese the activities of the clergy sex/pedophile ring, but was found brutally murdered in his apartment on May 30, 1984. To date, the murder remains officially unsolved.)

Yes, I would say that the homosexual network is alive and "well" here in the U.S. - and worldwide. Queer theology has permeated many of the seminaries and chanceries. And now, homosexual "marriage" is making inroads. Gay is good, you see.Not that the American church can be blamed entirely for the advancement of the homosexual agenda; there are other factors that must be taken into consideration. But it isn't much of a stretch to say that "gay-friendly" bishops, along with "gay-friendly" priests, along with "gay-friendly" theologians, along with "gay-friendly" chancery bureaucrats, along with "gay-friendly" teachers, along with "gay-friendly" politicians, have facilitated this advancement in recent years.

Oh... and let's not forget the "gay-friendly" ghost of Cardinal Bernardin.

(Matt C. Abbott is the former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee and the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-life Action League, respectively. He is also a contributor to,,,, "The Wanderer" Catholic newspaper,,, and He can be reached at


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.