My encounter with Cardinal Joseph Tobin last week was too brief for extensive questioning. I wish that I had had time to ask him why Francesco Castiglione, the Italian actor whom he admitted lived at his rectory until I reported it, would go “back” to Italy if his presence in New Jersey was explained by his language classes at Seton Hall. The Seton Hall semester was far from over at the time in early October my report triggered his departure from the rectory. Yet Tobin said that he believed he went “back” to Italy.
Tobin’s answer is suspicious for another reason: the photos dotting Castiglione’s Facebook page make it clear that he is not in Italy but on the East Coast. In one recent photo, he is splashing around the beaches of Florida. Why was Tobin playing dumb about his whereabouts? And why did Tobin’s spokesman Jim Goodness feel the need to dodge my questions earlier about Castiglione’s presence at the rectory if his staying there was all above board? “I will not entertain that question,” he had said defensively.
At the USCCB conference in Baltimore, Tobin had to do a lot of tap dancing, a performance not without its amusements. His biggest whopper was his insistence that the bishops were determined to uncover the entire story of McCarrick’s corruption. He informed his colleagues that he has retained the services of private detectives to aid in exposing the whole nefarious tale. (Perhaps while the detectives are at it, they could investigate Tobin too.)
Naturally, Tobin’s peers were too timid or compromised to call him on this odd outsourcing, which, given that it is coming from a McCarrick crony and beneficiary of his string-pulling, can only be interpreted as a bluff and stalling tactic. After all, why would Tobin and the other liberal bishops need to hire private detectives when McCarrick sits in a Catholic friary in Kansas? What is stopping Tobin from calling up his friend and getting the story straight from him? Or a delegation of bishops visiting him in Kansas for an interrogation?
The bishops could have forced McCarrick to come clean months ago by threatening to cut him off unless he made a full confession of his corruption. The reason his old peers are pussyfooting around him is that they fear exposure of his story. It would embarrass too many of them.
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