Sunday, November 10, 2002

Where is Bishop McCarthy?

Where is Bishop McCarthy?

For five months, this question has echoed across the Archdiocese of New York, referring not only to Bishop James McCarthy's whereabouts, but his very place within the life of the Roman Catholic Church.

Since McCarthy resigned on June 11 as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese and as a Shrub Oak pastor, having admitted to affairs with several women, the former top aide to Cardinal John O'Connor has essentially disappeared from official Catholic life. .....

....According to many people close to him, McCarthy, 60, is spending his days trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He is living in a family-owned house in Hopewell Junction, having refused a directive from the Vatican's representative in America to do penance for an indefinite period at a Catholic institution in the Midwest

He stays in touch with priests and friends who are close to him, pops up at social gatherings now and then and, by all accounts, is trying to appear upbeat. He has been approached by at least one bishop outside of New York about taking a non-parish position and has received several feelers about private-sector jobs.....

.....Egan's steadfast position has been that McCarthy's fate is completely in the hands of the Vatican and its representative in America, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo. Egan has told people who have privately questioned him about McCarthy's sudden fall that he had nothing to do with it....

....According to McCarthy associates and several New York priests, Montalvo told McCarthy during the summer to return to Michigan, where McCarthy had been briefly evaluated after his resignation, for an undefined period of penance. When McCarthy declined, Montalvo suggested that McCarthy no longer live within the boundaries of the archdiocese.

Yet McCarthy remains in Dutchess County. One Westchester priest suggested that McCarthy should have done more penance for his sins, regardless of whether he was treated properly by superiors.

"It doesn't look good for him to just be around," the priest said.

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