Bishop James T. McHugh – The Forgotten Man in the McCarrick Equation

June 7, 2021  

By: Randy Engel

[Editor’s Note: Today we begin publication of a five-part series of articles on the legacy of Bishop James T. McHugh, written by renowned investigative journalist Randy Engel. The first three parts were originally written and published in the Catholic Inquisitor prior to the Vatican’s issuance of the long-awaited McCarrick Report. 

Though the McCarrick Report does mention at least one event concerning Bishop McHugh’s firsthand knowledge of McCarrick’s homo-deviant activities, which he chose to keep secret, Randy Engel’s exposé, as expected, delves into much greater detail, revealing the anti-life legacy of a cleric who managed to bring death to millions of our nation’s unborn children.] 

Part I: Bishop James T. McHugh, Cardinal McCarrick, Clerical Sodomy & Their Impact on the Prolife Movement  


As Catholics await the long-overdue Vatican Final Report on the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal from Rome, there is one significant figure who has managed to escape public scrutiny – that of Bishop James T. McHugh, one of McCarrick’s earliest sexual protégés and the primary architect of AmChurch’s disastrous “prolife” policies and strategies for more than 30 years.  

This omission needs to be rectified now, before the McCarrick Report is released by the Holy See, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, because the blood of hundreds of thousands of unborn children in our nation who have been murdered in their mother’s womb, or destroyed in the spic and span hell of IVF clinics, or killed by abortifacient devices or chemicals, DEMANDS a historical accounting of the role played by homosexual prelates in the furtherance of legalized abortion. 

Secondly, because most of our early prolife heroes like Notre Dame Professor Charles Rice; Father Paul Marx, Founder of Human Life International; March for Life Founder Nellie Gray; Child and Family editor Dr. Herbert Ratner; U.S. Coalition for Life UN/NGO representative Marge Garvey; Long Island Coalition for Life grassroots leaders John Mawn and John Short, and countless other great Catholic souls have long since gone to their reward. There are not many of us left to tell the story of how the hidden hand of clerical sodomy in AmChurch operated as a Trojan horse for many years in the nascent prolife camp. And how, with the cooperation of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference, this homosexual clique continued to snatch defeat after defeat from the jaws of almost certain prolife victories in these early years. 

Thirdly, because it is more than likely that when the McCarrick Report is made public, there will not be any reference to the anti-life role that McCarrick and McHugh – and other homosexual members of the American hierarchy – played in the blindsiding and undermining of the early Prolife Movement.  

Obviously, it would be grossly inaccurate and unfair to suggest that McHugh, and his primary protector, McCarrick, were the first generation of American Catholic homosexual prelates to be involved in political maneuvering that was harmful to Catholic morals, politics, and pro-life strategies. That dubious honor would most likely go to the late Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York and to Spellman’s successor Terence Cardinal Cooke, former personal secretary to Spellman, and the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities for ten years.[1]   

McCarrick, who had served as homosexual Cardinal Cooke’s private secretary was a third-generation homosexual in the Spellman line, which made McHugh a fourth generation homosexual bishop. So, while McHugh alone could not be blamed for the long litany of losses suffered by the emerging Prolife Movement prior to and immediately after Roe vs Wade on January 22, 1973, his role was nevertheless pivotal, and in the end, definitive.  

The McHugh Chronicles[2] Documents McHugh’s Anti-Life Record

This writer is certain that not every Catholic layman or cleric or bishop will appreciate my public airing of this tragic saga of the hierarchial enemies of Life within AmChurch. 

I say certain because when my book, The McHugh Chronicles was released in 1997, it met with considerable opposition – not from rank and file prolifers, but from paid “prolife” careerists connected to the NCCB/USCC. 

In fact, opposition to the Chronicles continues even until today, 23 years later, the latest critic being none other than the recently retired Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. who called the promotion of the Chronicles “a sin.”[3] I trust the reader will decide for himself whether the archbishop’s criticism is valid or not.  

The McHugh Chronicles – Who Betrayed the Prolife Movement? charged the USCC’s Family Life Director Msgr. James T. McHugh, with:

  • Promoting sex initiation programs, aka sex education, in parochial schools – programs which are anti-child, anti-education, anti-family, anti-civilized and anti-human, and pro-contraception, pro-abortion and pro-homosexual.
  • Creating a false and controlled anti-abortion movement in the Church while sabotaging legitimate efforts within the grassroots Prolife Movement to stop the slaughter of innocent preborn children.
  • Undermining the Catholic Church’s magisterial teachings on contraception, divorce, abortion by curette, chemical or device, non-therapeutic prenatal diagnosis, eugenics, and in vitro fertilization and serving as a damage control agent for the Eugenic Establishment (including the National Foundation/March of Dimes) in the United States and as an agent provocateur for the Population Control Establishment on the international scene.[4]

The only charge against McHugh that I withheld at the time was the charge that he was a closeted homosexual cleric. By 1997, when the Chronicles were published, I was already in my tenth year of research on The Rite of Sodomy. I had a long running list of homosexual prelates on file, including Spellman, Cooke, McCarrick and Bernardin. However, as regards McHugh, although I was aware that McCarrick had gotten him his bishopric, I was not prepared to make the charge of homosexuality against McHugh outside of the context of the extensive NCCB/USCC homosexual network – a charge that I did document nine years later in The Rite of Sodomy.[5]

Nevertheless, in the Preface to the McHugh Chronicles, I did note the following: 

… Throughout his clerical career, McHugh has demonstrated an uncanny ability not only to survive one pro-life debacle after another, but to move quickly up the ecclesiastical ladder from monsignor and papal chamberlain (1972), to Auxiliary Bishop of Newark (1988), to Bishop of Camden (1989).[6]

In comparison to some of his contemporaries from the USCC Family Life Office years, including the deceased apostate priest, Father Walter Imbiorski, and the late Father George Hagmaier, C.S.P. who committed suicide, McHugh has continued to lead an extraordinarily charmed life. 

It is common knowledge that since his earliest years at the Bishops’ Secretariat in Washington, DC, McHugh has enjoyed the patronage and protection of a number of high-ranking American prelates including the late Terence Cardinal Cooke, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Newark, where McHugh served briefly as an auxiliary bishop; and most importantly, the powerful, and now deceased,  Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Archdiocese of Chicago, who was a key player on the elitist New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921 to advance the cause of a one-world government (dictatorship).[7]

Pre-Conciliar Bishops Supported Traditional Catholic Morality

It is difficult, I think, for many faithful Catholics today to understand how far our post-Conciliar bishops (with rare exceptions) had fallen in terms of candor, courage and moral fortitude by the time the NCCB/USCC bureaucracy was formed in 1965-1966 under the dual-leadership of Cardinal John  Dearden of Detroit  and the young  homosexual Bishop Joseph Bernardin. 

One measure would be to compare the statements on Catholic morality made by AmChurch’s predecessors including the National Catholic Welfare Council, with the formal statements and collective positions made by the NCCB/USCC following the Second Vatican Council.   

Here are a selection of formal pastoral letters and statements made in the name of the American hierarchy on key moral issues dating back to 1829: 

Yes! the characteristics of the child, as St. John Chrysostom well observes, are the characteristic of the saint…God has made you the guardians of those children to lead them to His service on earth, that they might become saints in Heaven. “What will it avail them to gain the whole world if they lose their souls?”… Woe to him that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were tied around his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea? 

[Pastoral Letter to the Laity, 17 October 1829] 

We deplore the enormous scandal of some who, having already contracted marriage, enter into new engagements during the lifetime of their lawful consorts. 

[On Divorce, Pastoral Letter, 1843] 

…The selfishness which leads to race suicide with or without the Pretext of bettering the species, is, in God’s sight, “a detestable thing.” It is the crime of individuals for which, eventually, the nation must suffer. The harm which it does cannot be repaired by social service, nor offset by pretending economic or domestic advantage. On the contrary, there is joy in the hope of offspring, for “the inheritance of the Lord are children; and His reward, the fruit of the womb.” The bond of love is strengthened, fresh stimulus is given to thrift and industrious effort, and the very sacrifices which are called for become sources of blessing.

[On Onanism, Birth Control and Eugenics, Pastoral Letter, 1919][8]

The destruction or serious impairment of home life has brought about a selfish, and inhuman propaganda of birth prevention…. May our Catholic families courageously and with firm trust in God reject the modern paganism, and seek the priceless riches of large, happy, and blessed families!  

[Undermining the Home: Pastoral Letter, 25 April 1933] 

We voice a grave warning against the propaganda of so-called planned parenthood, which violates the moral law, robs the family of its nobility and high social purpose, and weakens the physical and moral fiber of the nation.

[Neopagan Views of Marriage, 11 November 1943]

Fathers and mothers have a natural competence to instruct their children with regard to sex. False modesty should not deter them from doing their duty in this regard… We protest in the strongest possible terms against the introduction of sex instruction into the schools to be of benefit. Such instruction must be far broader than the imparting of information, and must be given individually… It [sex] can be fully and properly appreciated only within a religious and moral context. If treated otherwise, the child will see it apart from the controlling purpose of his life, which is service to God.  

[The Child: Citizen of Two Worlds, 17 November 1950] 

United States Catholics believe that the promotion of artificial birth prevention is a morally, humanly, psychologically, and politically disastrous approach to the population problem …They will not, however, support any public assistance, either at home or abroad, to promote artificial birth prevention, abortion, or sterilization whether through direct aid or by means of international organizations. 

[Explosion or Backfire? 19 November 1959]  

The above quotations cover a span of over 130 years. Thy clearly reflect the high degree of concern that our Catholic bishops collectively expressed for the burning moral issues of the day. This concern was directed not only toward Catholic families, most especially the children entrusted to their care, but also toward the Common Good (the bonun commune).

All in all, from the time of the First Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1829, the American bishops performed exceedingly well in their public defense of Catholic marriage and family life. Immigrant Catholic families, sheltered in their ethnic ghettos, initially were able to resist the worst excesses of American secularism under the protection of their Ordinary and their pastors, together with the support of their ethnic parishes and various Catholic services and charities. 

Cracks in the Dam at the NCWC

By the mid-1960s, however, serious moral cracks were developing in the structure of the American bishops’ bureaucracy at the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) in Washington, D.C. 

For example, the NCWC’s Family Life Bureau invited Planned Parenthood-World Population, to be in attendance at its official functions.  The scuttlebutt was that Family Life officials were interested in obtaining federally financed birth control research grants from the National Institute of Health that would lead to an improvement of the “rhythm” method. 

In anticipation of a reversal of the Roman Catholic Church’s magisterial teaching on the intrinsic evil of contraception,  influential members of the American hierarchy, including Cardinals Francis Spellman of New York, Richard Cushing of Boston, John Cody of Chicago, John Dearden of Detroit and John Krol of Philadelphia made their own private “arrangements” to accommodate state-sponsored birth control programs. These back-door affairs often followed a well-staged and heavily publicized show of opposition to government population control programs for the “benefit” of Catholics in the pews. 

As a group, these five American bishops were heavily influenced in their views on the issue of birth prevention as public policy by John Courtney Murray, S.J., principle architect of Church-State affairs for the NCWC, Cardinal Spellman’s personal peritus at the Second Vatican Council, and Cardinal Cushing’s chief advisor on contraception and “religious freedom.”   

Father Murray had little stomach for anything resembling the Comstock Law which he viciously attacked. Such laws, Murray insisted, made “a public crime out of a private sin,” confused “morality with legality,” and were “unenforceable without a police invasion of the bedroom.”[9] Tragically, it would be his  mythical “police-state” theory on the alleged dangers of anti-birth control legislation (the same legislation kept Planned Parenthood-World Population from opening up birth control clinics), that would lead to the equally mythical “constitutional right to privacy”’ in the Supreme Court birth control case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and later in Roe v. Wade (1973).[10]

In favor of the public promotion and sale of contraceptives, Murray also leaned toward legalizing abortion.[11] In a June 21, 1967, letter written to answer a question posed by a Mrs. James Moran as to “what a baby is,” Murray wrote the following incredible response: “The question that you ask – what is a baby – is certainly a valid one. But I am not one to judge what the answer should be.”[12] This from a priest advising the American bishops on questions of Catholic doctrine and morals!

“Catholic” Universities Join the Malthusian Parade

Additional pressure on the American hierarchy to accept massive government subsidized birth prevention programs was applied by several Church-related institutions of higher learning including the University of Notre Dame, Catholic University of America, and Georgetown University. These Catholic universities had received large financial grants and gifts from the Rockefeller, Ford, and Carnegie Foundations. Entrance into the foundation interlock guaranteed them power, money, and secular status.[13]

NCCB Surrenders to Federal Birth Control Programs 

On November 14, 1966, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a corporate statement titled “On the Government and Birth Control,” [14] in which the drafters of the document defended certain freedoms of families and called upon government to foster good social and economic conditions for family life. They then warned against the dangers of government birth control programs in connection with threats to rights to privacy, to personal and familial freedom, and they called for “a clear and unqualified separation of welfare assistance from birth control considerations.” They noted that, “government activities increasingly seek to persuade and even coerce the underprivileged to practice birth control.” They also reminded government officials that “birth control is not a universal obligation.” In the end they called for vigorous popular action, especially by Catholics, to oppose birth control programs at every level of government. [15]

In 1968, Constitutional lawyer William Bentley Ball, a long-time Catholic prolifer, explained what happened after the NCCB/USCC issued its statement – NOTHING:

This statement [dangers of government birth control] was an argument, complete in itself, but by virtue of its assertions it plainly opened the door to a national debate. This debate was never forthcoming. The statement was at once taken under fire, with volleys of questions and accusations being directed to the bishops following November 14. The public – and specially the Catholic public – having been called to “oppose vigorously and by every democratic means,” state and federal promotion of birth control  WERE LEFT WITH NOTHING BUT THE DYING ECHO OF THE TRUMPET CALL. Far from being provided with any sort of detailed information on the issues by the statement’s authors who had raised them, or guidelines to the action sought, THE CATHOLIC LAITY OF THE UNITED STATES NEVER HEARD A WORD ABOUT THE WHOLE SUBJECT. [Emphasis added] 

This surprising refusal or neglect to make the bishops’ case before the American public was unfortunate in two ways: while default in the defense of the statement went far to permit discrediting of what the bishops  had said on the government birth control issue, it also unnecessarily  created the impression that having “laid down the law” and hurled a threat in the teeth of public administrators who were programming birth control, nothing more need be said. Eloquent though the statement had been, a case of ipse dixit would attach to it unless an effort were carried out in forums of opinion and broadly in the community to attempt to persuade the public of the reasonableness of the statement’s assertions. Such an attempt would not have added fuel to the flames: good argument usually reduces anger and dilutes bitterness. It is the fiat – unexplained and unknown in terms of what political threats it may conceal – that triggers the fears which trigger wrath.

It should have been realized that some explanatory follow-through was peculiarly demanded in this situation since birth control, as a private practice, is most popular, and since the new governmental activities promoting birth control growingly enjoy a presumption of beneficence in the United States. …

It can at any rate  now [1968] be concluded that the default of the Catholic Church (or of Church staff officials whose duty it was to carry forward policy [USCC]) on the subject of government birth control programming may prove to have been of historic moment BECAUSE THE CATHOLC CHURCH ALONE, AMONG ALL THE BODIES IN THE AMERICAN SOCIETY, PROBABLY POSSESSED THE MEANS TO BRING GOVERNMENT BIRTH CONTROL INTO PUBLIC QUESTION AND TO CAUSE ITS PROPONENTS TO ATTEMPT TO MAKE THEIR CASE FOR IT [Emphasis added]. Without regard to the issue of whether the programs in question are for ill or good, the result of such inquiry and such shifting of the burden of proof, so to speak, might have been a rejection of the program by the public, or a careful circumscription thereof. As matters stand now, it will be seen that what began as a plea by pro-government-birth control forces simply to “make available” (through government help) birth control services “to those who need them but can’t afford to pay for them” may result in something far different  and little dreamt of social consequences.[16]

Among those “little dreamt social consequences” resulting from the inaction of the American bishops (NCCB) and its lobbying arm, the U.S. Catholic Conference, to publicly lead the Catholic battle against federal and state birth control programs were:

  • The promulgation of the U.S. Government’s first multi-billion-dollar Five-Year Plan for Population Control and Family Planning and the opening of the Federal Office of Population Affairs under the direction of abortionist Dr. Louis Hellman, friend and confident of Alan Guttmacher of Planned Barrenhood fame. It was Hellman who promoted the “Stop the Stork” campaign out of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare – a program that included mass sterilization of indigent women.
  • The funding of National Institute of Health “contraceptive research” program promoted by R.T. Ravenholt, head of the Population Control Office of the Agency for International Development (USAID). Ravenholt, who celebrated Our Lord’s birth by hanging abortifacient IUDs on his office Christmas tree and celebrated the Fourth of July by ordering the producing of red, white and blue condoms for foreign distribution, was intent on developing a once-a-month pill that would insure the non-pregnant state of a woman at the end of every cycle.  
  • The establishment of teen birth control and abortion referral services like Teen Scene of Chicago where youngsters as young as twelve could obtain contraceptive devices and pills without their parents’ knowledge or consent. 
  • And finally, by their inaction, the American bishops and their bureaucrats ushered in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that opened the door to surgical abortion at all stages of pregnancy up until birth, and which under the guise of “contraception” permitted the wide-spread distribution of abortifacient devices and pills whose death toll would be incalculable over the next half-century.  

So it was, that within seven years of their “Statement on the Government and Birth Control,” all formal organized opposition by the American bishops and their bureaucracy  to Federal domestic and foreign birth control/population control programs had collapsed – the Abortion Establishment had come to the fore to make the case for child murder for “faulty or omitted contraception,” – and the Prolife Grassroots Movement was born. 

[In Part 2, Randy Engel takes a closer look at McHugh’s hand in some of the early pro-life movement’s “unknown obstacles”]

CLICK the above image for more information on The McHugh Chronicles and other titles from Randy Engel.


[1] Randy Engel, The Rite of Sodomy, New Engel Publishing, PA, 2006, pp. 662-675. 

[2] Randy Engel, The McHugh Chronicles, 1997, Export, PA. p. ii. . Available in paperback at www.newengelpublishing.com, and in Kindle format at:  

https://www.amazon.com/McHugh-Chronicles-Randy-Engel-ebook/dp/B0042RV8JO, or by mail from USCL, Box 315, Export, Pa 1632. Cost: $20 includes postage.

[3] On January 21, 2020, author Randy Engel was scheduled to appear on Steve Koob’s radio show, One More Soul broadcast by Radio Maria USA, to discuss The McHugh Chronicles and the history of the Prolife Movement.  Shortly before the program was to air, Steven Bozza, a former employee of Bishop McHugh and current employee of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, contacted Mr. Koob and demanded the program be cancelled. Bozza charged that the Chronicles were “a hit peace” (sic) on McHugh and the USCCB. A copy of the email was cc. to Archbishop Chaput, who immediately responded: “I FULLY AGREE with Steve Bozza. One More Soul has lost any and all support here. This is a sinful action on the part of those responsible for promoting the book.” Mr. Koob rejected the intimidation effort and the hour-long program aired  at noon, one day before the infamous Supreme Court abortion decision of January 22, 1973. 

[4] McHugh Chronicles, ii. 

[5] Engel, The Rite of Sodomy, pp.564-566, 673, 675, 894-895.

[6] On December 7, 1998, McHugh was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Rockville Centre, New York. He died in office only 11 months after he formally took over the Rockville Diocese, one of the richest in the nation, on January 2, 2000. Date of death was December 11, 2000.  

[7] See James Perloff, The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline, Western Islands, Appleton, WI, 1988. 

[8] That many bishops and the Vatican were aware as early as the late 1920s of the dangers of birth control is  evidenced by the following Memorandum written by Professor John M. Cooper of Catholic University in 1927 to the U.S. Apostolic Delegate in Washington, D.C. : … It is generally recognized by the Catholic clergy, and by Catholic and non-Catholic lay students of the problem, that contraceptive practices are very widespread among our Catholics in the United States….perhaps up to 75% or at least 50% among the well-to-do and educated … although the numbers decreased among the foreign-born Catholics and the working class…we are destined almost inevitably to see a great increase in the prevalence of the practice among Catholics in this country within the next generation.

[9] David A. Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray – Time/Life – How the CIA’s Doctrinal Warfare Program Changed the Catholic Church, Fidelity Press, South Bend, In., 2015, pp. 863-869. This book is in a class by itself on the subject of the history of the heresy of Americanism and its key proponent, Jesuit John Courtney Murray. It belongs on every Catholic bookshelf for generations to come. 

[10] Ibid., pp.865-868.

[11] Ibid., p. 868.

[12] Ibid.

[13] See E. Michael Jones, “John D. Rockefeller, 3rd, Theodore M. Hesburgh, and the Contraceptive Revolution: How the Church’s Teaching Almost Got Changed,” Fidelity, November 1993, p. 14.

[14] After the formation of the NCCB/USCC statements representing the American bishops were no longer signed so we don’t know who actually drafted the document.

[15] NCCB, “Statement on the Government and Birth Control,” Pastoral Letters of the United States Catholic Bishops, Hugh J. Nolan, Editor,  Vol. III 1962-1974, Washington, D.C., 1983pp. 69-73.

[16] See William B. Ball, “Population Control – Civic and Constitutional Concerns,” Religion and the Public Order, Donald A. Grannella, Editor, Cornell University Press, No. 4, 1968, pp.5-7. Complete text available at no cost by the U.S. Coalition for Life at http://uscl.info/edoc/doc.php?doc_id=39&action=inline.  

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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1 Response to

  1. Perhaps Archbishop Chaput, like so many of the faithful, including myself, simply could not comprehend the extent of the corruption that has been fueled by those schismatics, who have set themselves against Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, due to their refusal to accept Christ’s teaching on sexual morality which affirms the inherent Dignity of every beloved son or daughter, from the moment of conception to natural death. No doubt, as The Veil is being lifted and the apostates are being exposed, I am sure Archbishop Chaput, like all the Faithful, is heartbroken. May Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart Triumph soon as only The True Pope, in union with The True Bishops, can do The Consecration to Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart, exactly as She requested🙏🏻💕

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