In a recent interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett said he revealed the homosexual culture that was rampant at the Michigan seminary, where he served as academic dean in the 1960s, but was dismissed.
His students included a "large colony of homosexual people" who liked to go to gay bars at night, he told the newspaper. He was also fighting drugs and a hippie subculture. He complained to his archbishop and tried to block the ordination of some students. However, he was deemed "counterproductive" and was sent back to the parish.
The now-archbishop of Seattle observed that many of the clergy sex-abuse cases in the United States involve priests ordained in the 1960s and that 81 percent of minor victims were male.
"One would not want to draw a tie (between homosexuality and child abuse), but I think it does raise the question," he was quoted as saying by the press, adding that some of the homosexual seminarians he knew turned out to be pedophiles.
The issue is close to home for the archbishop, who has been dealing with the largest sexual-abuse scandal in the country for years. A recent study found that 49 of the 1,249 clergy who have served Seattle since 1950 have been accused of sexually abusing minors, which is about the same as the national average.
The archbishop said he was especially “dismayed” when he learned, upon his arrival in Seattle from Helena, Mont., about now-retired priest James McGreal. The priest had served in 10 parishes from 1948 to 1988 and confessed to molesting hundreds of victims.
The archdiocese already had policies in place regarding sexual abuse when he got to there, but Archbishop Brunett has strengthened them by adding background checks for Church employees. He has also flown across the country, offering comfort to almost 40 victims.
Since arriving in Seattle, he has overseen the opening of four schools and four parishes – three other parishes will be opening soon – and he has continued his work in ecumenism. There are currently 179 parishes in the archdiocese.
Under his leadership, the diocese bought and renovated a $7-million, 39-acre retreat center, the archdiocese's first major training center since it owned a seminary. He recently started a $30-million fund-raising campaign for low-income Catholic schools and students and oversaw the launch of a new program for lay ministers at Seattle University.
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