Abuse. Conspiracy. Hush money. Bribes. Power players. Politics. Global agendas. The threat of violence. These are some of the themes that James Grein, the alleged longtime abuse victim of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, discussed with Dr. Taylor Marshall in a new podcast interview. Grein, who claims to have been abused by McCarrick for 18 years, beginning at age eleven, explained the close family connection he had with McCarrick – a connection that began even before he was born.
“He had been part of the family,” says Grein, “since 1950. Probably ’48, when he met my uncle – my mother’s younger brother – at Fordham University. And they did everything together. And my grandfather adopted him, basically, because he had no father. And so he became the very fabric of the family.”
Grein says his grandfather took a liking to McCarrick immediately and offered to help pay his way through school.
He then revealed something interesting: “My grandfather was from Sankt Gallen, Switzerland.” Grein says McCarrick first traveled to Sankt Gallen to meet his grandfather’s friends. “Sankt Gallen is not a very large city. And my grandfather knew everybody. And so he introduced McCarrick to everybody. And in fact, he went there on a regular basis – on a yearly basis – probably for 20 years.”
Grein says McCarrick went to visit a language school in Sankt Gallen in 1951 and came back a different man – someone who wanted to be no longer a parish priest, but a power player within the hierarchy of the Church. When McCarrick came back, says Grein, his grandfather – a wealthy and influential man – introduced him to powerful members of the American episcopacy like Cardinals Spellman and Cooke.
Marshall brought up the Sankt Gallen “Mafia” – the group that conspired against Pope Benedict and sought to replace him with Jorge Bergoglio.
“This is really key … that it begins in Sankt Gallen,” says Marshall. “This [conspiracy] really goes into the ’90s. But before that, there’s this connection with McCarrick and Sankt Gallen. Do you see that there’s an organic connection between McCarrick’s work in the ’50s and then later on with the conspiracy, they say, to remove Benedict XVI?”
“Yes,” responds Grein. “I’ve known this, and I’ve felt this for a long time.”
“This is where it all starts.”
Although he does not substantiate or elaborate on the claim, Grein says he believes that Pope Benedict was forced out of office.
“I now believe he was a predatory man for all his life.”
Grein makes clear that McCarrick had a “pretty good ego” and “needed to be in power … needed to be the number-one person in the room” at any given time.
And his means to obtaining power was not just his facility for building relationships through charisma and strategy, but his focus on fundraising.
“It’s all surrounded by that wonderful little word called money,” Grein says.
Grein discusses McCarrick’s facility for getting large donations from wealthy families like the hotel magnates the Hilton family. The fundraising was often done, alleges Grein, under a pretense (emphasis added):
He [McCarrick] was traveling on the guise that ‘I’m raising money for the poor.’ And that, he was, he needed money for the poor. Well…I won’t say that. I don’t think they gave a lot of money to the poor. I think they gave a lot of money to themselves. And they used the guise of, uh, of the poor always. It’s always how we’re going into South America, we’re going into Africa, and how these small, uh, communities need money because they have nothing…it’s an amazing game that he played. So he played everybody in the room to give him money, and he played his superiors by giving them the money so that they would leave him alone, and he was there in the middle, and he got to do anything he wanted to do, and what he wanted to do was prey on young people so that he could enjoy, have his own ideas and his own little world where he was the king of the world and he could just prey on and take anyone that he wanted to. And that nobody could possibly, possibly grow better than he. And as it progresses, he’s introduced to some of the most powerful people in the world, and some of the most powerful people in the world believe him. They don’t know what’s behind the mask. And those of us who knew what was behind the mask – the Viganòs, the James Greins, and the other people in the world – were too afraid to come out because he would kill us. Literally.
The implicit threat of violence, reiterated by Grein – who says in the interview that he now has a security detail – underscores the reason Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò went into hiding in fear of his life following his own revelations of the extensive ecclesial cover-up of the McCarrick abuse, going all the way to the pope.
Grein discusses how McCarrick would use blackmail, threats, and coercion to force him to stay with him and to keep quiet about the abuse. He would also tell Grein that he should go to confession “only to him.”
“In essence, I lost faith in the Church,” says Grein, “and gained only faith in him.”
Grein relates a story in which he threatened McCarrick in turn:
The last time I saw him in 2012, at my mother’s funeral … I told him if he didn’t come and say my mother’s funeral Mass, I was gonna open my mouth. Well, he was under sanctions, now that I know that. But he came, and he said to me at the end of the luncheon, “Don’t you know how powerful I am? I am the most powerful man in the United States. Nobody can touch me, and if you say anything at all, you’re going to go down. You’re going to be the bad guy. It is impossible for me to go down.”
Grein says that because of threats like this, he was hugely relieved when another story of McCarrick’s abuse broke in New York in the summer of 2018. It detailed accusations against McCarrick by another boy, who was also a minor at the time the abuse was alleged to have taken place decades ago.
“I hit my knees immediately and thanked God. And it took me two days to get off my knees to go talk to somebody. And finally I was able to tell my brothers and sisters, who I tried once before, and they, they didn’t want to believe me. They didn’t want to hear it. I don’t blame them. And that I was finally going to be free. It was my turn. It was my turn. That’s just how huge it is.”
“It’s amazing,” says Grein, “that, uh, you hide all this stuff, because if you tell somebody else, who else is gonna do this to me? You know, uh, you hear all about the trafficking now, thank goodness I didn’t tell anybody, because I could have been trafficked everywhere. [Like] those poor kids that were in Pennsylvania. And it’s all over Syracuse, New York now, too.”
Grein also claimed that he was not the only one subject to McCarrick’s abuse. He was aware of others. “There were four of us” who would always go to a fishing camp with McCarrick, he says.
“Did you get the impression that there were other priests, bishops, anyone in the hierarchy that was aware that he had this double life?” Marshall asked.
“Every one of his secretaries had to know.” Grein says. “In Metuchen, in Newark, even when he was with Cooke in New York. Had to know. And I know that there are some prominent politicians who know also. ‘Cause I was introduced to them as somebody of interest. I know that Cardinal Wuerl knows. And, uh, that’s…that was just, uh, the day that I met Wuerl at the Hilton in Washington, D.C. right after he was made the archbishop of Washington, D.C. was a very hard day for me to take. I’m gonna stay right there because it’s in my case that’s…needs to be quieted right now.”
The Money, the Knowledge, and Viganò
Pivoting to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s accusations, Marshall asked Grein: “Viganò says that Francis knew. Benedict knew. The apostolic nuncios knew. That Meyers in Newark knew. Metuchen knew. He names a lot of names. Were you surprised by that, or did you know that they all knew?”
“I knew that they all knew,” answers Grein. “I knew that John Paul II knew.”
“How does that make you feel about John Paul II and Benedict? That they knew?” asks Marshall.
“I’ll take John Paul II first. John Paul II changed his needs. He needed money. He needed his, uh, his papacy to be raised up. He had a lot of projects that he wanted to do. And the only way he was getting any kind of money donated to the Church was through McCarrick. And he didn’t want to shut that off. And so he…while he knew he needed McCarrick as his tool to get as much money into the papacy as possible…”
“How much money are we talking here?”
“Five hundred million, maybe? Two hundred ten, we know for a fact. Two hundred ten, we know for a fact, but I know there was much more coming from the Hiltons, from the, uh…and from the left-wing agenda in the United States. And so that, uh, it was a, it was a faucet. And, uh, John Paul did not want to turn off that faucet. Because he needed that money to, uh, in all of the aura of feeding the poor, it was no longer really feeding the poor, it was making him, uh, his legacy much stronger, and where he can be, uh, he can expand into more countries.”
“Benedict didn’t like that. Wanted to tie up all the loose ends. Because he saw through what John Paul was doing, and he needed to say, ‘Well, this has got to stop. We are part of a church. We are not part of a money-gaining…we’re not looking for power here through money.’ So Benedict really wanted to tie things together. And he got the best guy to do it. Viganò. He tied up all the loose moneys that were in the United States, across the world, he got ’em all together.”
“Vatican bank?” Marshall interjects.
“Vatican bank, you got it. And he pulled it all together. And a lot of the 45 million, or the 55 million that was pulled out of the United States and brought to the Vatican bank…there’s always, I talked to A.G.s [attorneys general] about that, I’ve wanted to talk to some stronger men in the United States, um, about a RICO investigation on that, because it’s definitely laundering. But that’s another story.”
Grein says later on that while John Paul II was part of the agenda for the Sankt Gallen group, he didn’t change things fast enough for them.
The Impact of McCarrick on the Larger Church
Grein claims that Cardinal Cupich of Chicago is now becoming “the new McCarrick” in terms of his connection to Rome and influence within the American clergy. “There’s no doubt, because Francis needs an ally in America, and McCarrick is too dirty.”
Grein admits that he remains frustrated with how much of the corruption is still going on. “Every morning I come downstairs and I read, you know, OnePeterFive or Complicit Clergy,” he says, “and I read this stuff, and I just, sometimes I have to just go for a long run because I’m so angry. Why are these people doing these things, they’re still doing it? But finally they’re being exposed.”
“If we go back and look at the influence of Sankt Gallen being the the epicenter of the antichrist. And how they have finally forced people into doing things that they don’t really want to do. Things are happening faster today out of Sankt Gallen because they are becoming impatient. They’ve been waiting a hundred years for their turn to step forward. It’s not happening as fast as they want it. So Benedict was cleaning up, and they said, ‘No, no, we can’t clean up, because if you clean up, we’re toast. Sorry. We’re done. And so we need to have somebody who can come in and help us. And so that we can carry out everything that we need to do.’ And if you go back and listen to what McCarrick said, about, he was approached by some very significant people that he knew, and that needed him to bring up Francis, and let’s politicize this.”
In this, Grein was referencing a talk given by McCarrick at Villanova University in 2013, shortly after Bergoglio was elected to the papacy. In it, McCarrick says that before the conclave, “nobody thought there was a chance for Bergoglio.” Then he related how he was visited by a “very interesting and influential Italian gentleman” not long before the conclave was to take place. This man had a proposition: he wanted McCarrick to use his influence to “talk up” Bergoglio. “If we had five years,” the mystery man is said to have speculated to McCarrick, “the Lord working through Bergoglio in five years could make the Church over again.”
McCarrick claims to have gone on to do just that, telling his fellow cardinals that they should “elect someone from Latin America who could identify with the poor.”
On the question of that “prominent Italian gentlemen,” Grein does not claim specific knowledge, but he has a theory: “I don’t think it was Italian. I think it’s Swiss. He just covered it so that they couldn’t connect the dots. Or, if it was an Italian gentleman, then it was definitely a politician. But he says, oh, an influential man. Did he know him? He may have passed a note: ‘If you don’t do this, you’re out.’ These people are very, very powerful.”
On the endgame for Sankt Gallen, Grein talks about the opening of borders and the socializing of everything, and he speculates that “the idea is that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, and if they can get the United States to do that, then they can come forward and take over the entire world with the communistic agenda and be in power. That’s what I believe that they have had in mind for themselves, and that’s what they want to go forward with. But they haven’t been able to do it because, what Bella Dodd said, is that, because of the patriotism, and because of the belief in Jesus Christ. And we need today to rise up and have ourselves believe in Jesus Christ more than we ever have in our lives. And we need to rise up right now.”
See the full interview here:
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.