In yesterday’s Manchester Union-Leader we have an account from a priest-friend of the now infamous Fr. Roland Cote of the Manchester, NH, diocese. To recap, Fr. Cote allegedly had a 5-year affair with a young man who may or may not have been legally underage at the beginning and which involved payment for sex and drug and alcohol use. When Cote was assigned to a parish last year, there was an uproar from the parish. The reaction from Bishop John McCormack and Cote was that no law was broken and no child abuse policy was violated so everything should be hunky-dory.
So what we have here is a friend of Cote, a Fr. Gorski, saying that he was shocked—shocked!—when he heard of these allegations and never would have considered his friend to be capable of such a thing. Of course, my faith in Fr. Gorski objectivity was shaken by this recounting of a conversation he had with the auxiliary bishop about Cote.
“What I told the bishop was: I was not concerned” about the relationship between Cote and the younger man “because the person was older and no crime was committed. I was not concerned about any activity with minors. I was shocked when there was some question about the age of the person.
“The Roland Cote I know would not have had anything to do with anyone who was a minor,” Gorski said.
Now what I would have expected a priest—or any faithful Catholic for that matter—to say would be: “I was concerned because he was alleged to have engaged in fornication and homosexual activity and the violation of his vows. The Roland Cote I know would not have sex with anyone. Period.” Why is it that every member of the clergy interviewed about the Cote affair seems to gloss over the fact that Cote violated his vow of celibacy, is evidently an active homosexual, and doesn’t seem at all apologetic for it? They seem blase and accepting of the whole thing. Doesn’t that seem strange to anyone else?