24 MR. GOFFE: The time is 1:13 PM. We are
25 back on the record.
1 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: Mr. Bennett, before we
2 begin, I'd just like to make a record that Mr. Pasternack
3 is not present for this portion of the deposition.
4 However, his clients' interests are being represented, as
5 I understand it, by Mr. Neil Blake, Mr. Pasternack's law
6 associate, who is here at present to represent all of the
7 Pasternack-Blake clients during the course of this
8 continuation of our deposition.
9 MR. BENNETT: And also, I'd just like to
10 mention that I am interrupting Mr. Pasternack's
11 to take -- or deposition to take the testimony of
12 Archbishop Sanchez in cases in which I represent,
13 with Mr. Tinkler and Mr. Reese, various Plaintiffs.
14 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: I understand.
15 MR. KONRAD: And I'd like to say, about the
16 timing of the deposition, this is the third day of
17 examination by Plaintiffs. I represent Servants of the
18 Paraclete, a Defendant, and I would like a full day, so
19 think it's only fair that I take the examination tomorrow
20 if it is only going to be a four-day examination.
21 MR. BENNETT: Well, we can talk about that
22 later, but I don't see how it can be a four-day
24 MR. BLAKE: Since we're all going around
25 the table, on behalf of the Plaintiffs not represented by
1 Mr. Tinkler and Mr. Bennett, we're not in any way
2 our rights nor our interests in resuming the deposition as
3 to the Archbishop after Mr. Tinkler and Mr. Bennett
4 concluded their examination.
5 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: The deposition will
6 continue at 9:00 o'clock Saturday morning. It will end at
7 5:00 o'clock Saturday morning.
8 MR. TINKLER: It will adjourn at 5:00
10 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: We will not be there
11 after 5:00 o'clock on Saturday, so make the most of the
12 time you've got, let's begin.
14 BY MR. BENNETT:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Archbishop Sanchez.
16 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Bennett.
17 Q. My name is Merit Bennett; and as you know, I
18 represent several other Plaintiffs in various lawsuits
19 that have been filed against you individually and the
20 Archidocese of Santa Fe.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I have one preliminary question. You have taken
23 an oath to tell the truth in this deposition?
24 A. Yes, sir.
25 Q. And that is a civil oath required by the courts
1 of the state of New Mexico?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. Is there any difference between that type of
4 oath and a canonical oath?
5 A. There is no canonical oath, as such. It is a
6 sacred oath that a person takes before God to tell the
7 truth, and I would interpret the civil oath to be the same
8 as the sacred oath.
9 Q. So the oath you've taken in these proceedings is
10 to tell the truth under both civil and canonical law?
11 A. Yes, sir, absolutely.
12 Q. You have testified earlier that you felt that
13 children who had been abused, sexually abused by
14 should feel free to disclose that abuse to their parents;
15 is that a fair statement?
16 A. Yes. In the discussion previously with Mr.
17 Pasternack, as one of the examples, I told him that
18 children who may have been abused -- and God forbid
19 that happens to them, but it happens -- I would hope
20 they would share that information with their family
21 members. Oftentimes it's direct parents. Other times, it
22 may be grandparents or other relatives with whom they
24 Q. Now, you have admitted to having committed
25 certain sexual indiscretions while you served as
2 A. Yes.
24 Q. When you were a child -- and by "child," I mean
25 under the age of 18 years of age -- had you ever had
1 sexual contact with anyone older than you?
2 A. No, sir, not that I can recall.
3 Q. In your deposition testimony, you have referred
4 to certain women that Mr. Pasternack referred to as Ms.
5 through K, and there are a couple of unanswered
6 concerning them.
7 MR. BENNETT: Do you have that list? Could
8 you hand that to the Archbishop, please?
9 MR. KONRAD: Could you read that question
10 [The record was read by the reporter.]
12 THE WITNESS: May I open this?
13 MR. BENNETT: Yes, please.
14 Q. (By Mr. Bennett) Archbishop, with respect to
15 Ms. A, I believe you had indicated that you had had
16 contact with Ms. A?
17 A. Yes, I indicated that there had been an embrace.
18 Q. And what I wanted to ask you is, at the time
19 that that embrace took place, how old was Ms. A?
20 A. I don't recall. I never asked her her age.
21 Q. What would be your best estimate?
22 A. Probably around -- I would say about 20.
23 Q. And how old were you at the time?
24 A. I must have been around 36, 37.
25 Q. With respect to Ms. B, when the first incident
1 of sexual contact occurred with Ms. B, how old was Ms.
2 to the best of your knowledge?
3 A. Probably 23.
4 Q. And how old were you at that time?
5 A. I would have been about 48.
6 Q. And subsequent to that, was there sexual contact
7 between you two?
8 A. You mean later?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. It occurred within -- any sexual contact that
11 occurred between us occurred within a year's period.
12 Q. With respect to Ms. D, you indicated that there
13 had been embraces; is that correct?
14 A. Not of a sexual nature.
15 Q. What about -- Ms. E was a sexual contact; is
16 that correct?
17 A. It was an embrace with her, also, yes.
18 Q. And a kiss, I believe?
19 A. Yes, excuse me.
20 Q. And at the time that that sexual contact took
21 place, how old was Ms. E, to the best of your
22 MR. KONRAD: I'm going to object to the
23 question. I don't know that an embrace and a kiss is
24 sexual contact.
25 MR. TINKLER: I believe he defined it as
2 MS. KENNEDY: Well, the testimony, if you
3 want to know was that someone could consider it sexual
4 contact between friends. He did not feel it was sexual.
5 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: It was not for sexual
6 purposes was the Archbishop's statement.
7 Q. (By Mr. Bennett) Go ahead and answer,
9 A. To the best of my knowledge and recollection,
10 Ms. E would have been, I suppose, around the same
11 believe, 21, in college, in college. In fact, I recall
12 she was in college.
13 Q. And how old were you at the time?
14 A. About 44.
15 Q. Was there any sexual contact between you and
16 Ms. F?
17 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: It's asked and answered.
18 A. Not sexual contact, as such.
19 Q. There was more than one kiss, I believe you
20 referred to?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. At the time that the kissing occurred, how old
23 was Ms. F?
24 A. I would say approximately 24.
25 Q. And you were --
1 A. About 55, I think it was.
2 Q. And the sexual contact with Ms. G, this took
3 place over a period of time, that's my understanding; is
4 that correct?
5 A. No. The friendship was a long friendship, but
6 the sexual contact was not.
7 Q. Over what period of time did the sexual contact
9 MS. KENNEDY: Object, asked and answered.
10 Q. In terms of time span.
11 A. Within -- all within a year's period.
12 Q. And during that time, how old was Ms. G, to the
13 best of your knowledge?
14 A. About 28, 29.
15 Q. And you were --
16 A. About 55, I guess.
17 Q. And with Ms. I, when did that contact with Ms. I
18 occur, in terms of her age; how old was she?
19 A. She was about 19 or 20.
20 Q. And you were --
21 A. 41.
22 Q. And Ms. J, how old was Ms. J when that contact
24 A. Just about the same age.
25 Q. 19 or 20?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you were --
3 A. Same age, about 41.
4 Q. And with Ms. K, was that contact over a period
5 of time?
6 A. Within a year's time.
7 Q. And how old would Ms. K have been?
8 A. At that time, I suppose about 20, 21.
9 Q. And you?
10 A. About 41, 42.
11 Q. Thank you. You can return that to the reporter.
12 How old are you now, Archbishop?
13 A. I'm 59.
14 Q. Archbishop Sanchez, why did you decide to become
15 a priest?
16 A. I decided to become a priest because I was
17 impressed with the priests who had served in my home
18 community. They were dedicated men. They seemed to
19 always be ready to help others. They were at their
21 In my own home environment, religion and the practice
22 of our religion was very essential. I felt very close to
23 the Lord, as well as to my Church. And after -- as I was
24 approaching the end of my high school career, I was
25 to reflect on it with a parish priest, and he
1 that I would try the seminary and to see whether or not I
2 really had a vocation to the priesthood or not. It's a
3 proving ground, as it were, gives you a chance to test
4 whether you're going to be submitting to the routine of
5 the school, the training and the spiritual development.
6 Q. And who was that priest?
7 A. That was Monsignor Majeski, John J. Majeski.
8 Q. Was your decision to enter the seminary based,
9 in part, upon the example that Monsignor Majeski had
10 for you as a priest?
11 A. Himself and others before him. I had known
12 other priests before Monsignor Majeski was part of our
13 parish, and they had certainly influenced me.
14 Q. And when you -- had you made up your mind to
15 become a priest prior to entering the seminary?
16 A. You don't really make up your mind to become a
17 priest because the training and the formation program
18 on for a large number of years. In my case, it was for
19 years. And your decision is to give yourself an
20 opportunity to test out your vocation, whether or not
21 is calling you to a life as a priest or not.
22 Many of the men during the course of their training
23 will choose to leave the seminary. They decide that
24 is not what they would like to make a life of. They feel
25 that perhaps they're called to another vocation, and
1 several leave the seminary at any point of their
3 Q. When did you decide that you wanted to remain
4 and become a priest?
5 A. Each year I would have to renew that commitment
6 toward the priesthood. And the ultimate commitment
7 before my ordination to the subdeaconate, because with
8 that ordination comes the obligation of celibacy, as well
9 as a daily -- certain daily prayers that you're obliged to
10 pray as a deacon and then later as a priest.
11 Q. And when would that have been?
12 A. That occurred, sir, in 1959.
13 Q. Was that in Rome?
14 A. I was at the North American College in Rome,
16 Q. And at the time you made that decision and
17 commitment in 1959, did you feel that you could keep
18 promise of chastity and celibacy?
19 A. I did, sir. The Church and its structure at the
20 time was very strong. I had been in the seminarian
21 formation for a number of years, as I have indicated,
22 I had no reason to believe that I would not be able to
23 a good priest. I also knew that coming back to America
24 would pose many challenges, because the temple of
25 simply was not the temple of Europe that I had lived in
1 for six years.
2 Q. So you would have been about 25 years old at the
4 A. I was ordained when I was 25, yes.
5 Q. Did you feel that you were old enough to make a
6 mature decision as to whether or not to commit to the
7 of chastity and celibacy?
8 MR. KONRAD: Object to the form of the
9 question. I don't think there is a vow of chastity.
10 A. It's a speculative question, whether I thought I
11 was old enough or not. I don't know if there's any
12 particular point in your life when you feel absolutely
13 certain. I felt an awe regarding the priesthood. I felt
14 I would never really be worthy of this sacred office, but
15 I felt that this is what I had been called for and for
16 which I had trained for; and according to my own
17 director and those who advised me, they felt that I, in
18 fact, was mature enough to make that decision and
19 ahead with ordination.
20 So with their advice and my own feeling and trust in
21 God -- I suppose it's much like a young couple who
22 promises to get married. They're very excited about
23 love for one another on their marriage day, but they
24 that the road for marriage is long, and it's fraught with
25 all kinds of dangers and temptations. They hope that
1 will remain as husband and wife for the rest of their
2 life. And I know on the day of their marriage, they feel
3 that they will, even though they know it could be very
5 Q. And you were prepared to make that commitment at
6 that time?
7 A. To the best of my knowledge, I was prepared.
8 Q. How did you come to be incardinated in Rome?
9 A. I wasn't incardinated in Rome. I was sent there
10 as a seminarian to study. There is a seminary called
11 North American College. It is a residence for young
12 seminarians from our country who are given the
13 to study at one of the major universities in Rome,
14 preparing themselves for the priesthood.
15 There were approximately 300 students from the United
16 States there at that time. The majority of us attended
17 school at the Gregorian University in Rome. That's
18 situated in downtown Rome. It was operated by the
19 Fathers and had been so operated since the 1600s.
20 Q. How did you come to be sent there or to go
22 A. I was asked to go there by the Archbishop of
23 Santa Fe at that time. His name was Archbishop Edwin
24 Vincent Byrne. He, in conference, I presume, with the
25 rector and the staff from the Immaculate Heart of Mary
1 seminary in Santa Fe had decided where each of the
2 seminarians would continue their theological studies;
3 in my case, they indicated that they would like me to
4 continue my studies at the North American College in
5 Q. Was that an honor?
6 A. Yes, it was. It was an honor and, at the same
7 time, a difficult task, because you would be away from
8 your family and your own home for a six-year period.
9 honor was because you would have an opportunity to
10 with other men from throughout the world. At the
11 Gregorian University there were representatives from
12 80 different countries in attendance in classes there.
13 Being in Rome itself was certainly an honor to be able
14 see the various ceremonies and events that would take
15 place in that historic city.
16 Q. Was anyone else from the Archidocese of Santa Fe
17 sent to Rome to conduct seminarian studies?
18 A. Yes, there were other seminarians and priests
19 who had been ordained for this Archidocese. To the
20 of my recollection, Monsignor George Rieffer, who is
21 deceased, was ordained in Rome in the 1930s.
22 Q. Let me interrupt so I'm clear. During the time
23 that you were there, was anyone else sent from the
24 Archidocese of Santa Fe?
25 A. Yes. I had been there for a three-year period,
1 three or four years, when another seminarian was sent
2 the Archidocese of Santa Fe. His name was Gene
3 G-u-e-r-i-n. He was also ordained for the Archidocese of
4 Santa Fe.
5 When I arrived in Rome, my first year, there was
6 another seminarian for the Archidocese of Santa Fe who
7 in his last year, and that was Monsignor Francis
8 He died in Santa Fe some 15 years or so after his
10 Q. Did an assignment or a seminary assignment in
11 Rome indicate that you may in the future be a
12 advance in the hierarchy of the Church?
13 A. No. It was not like West Point where they would
14 expect them to be the military officers. That was not it.
15 It was an opportunity for young men to, in a sense, be
16 exposed to the practices of the Vatican and the
17 at St. Peter's, to become acquainted with the history
18 the tradition of our Catholic Church, which was so
19 in the Eternal City.
20 It is true that many of the students who were
21 ordained there eventually were made bishops, but there
22 no guarantee.
23 Let me give you an example. In my class, there were
24 51 of us who were ordained together. Of that 51, three
25 have been made bishops. So the other 48 have been
1 in various capacities in their different diocese but have
2 not been made bishops.
3 Q. Nevertheless, was that a path to becoming a
5 A. Any seminary is a path. A selection of a bishop
6 does not depend upon the seminary where he studies. It
7 depends upon the individual.
8 Q. When did you return to the Archidocese of
9 Santa Fe?
10 A. After my ordination in Rome, which was in
11 December 1959, I completed, then, my studies which
12 in July or late June of 1960, and I returned to the
13 Archidocese in early July.
14 Q. And what was your first assignment at that time?
15 A. My first assignment was as the assistant pastor
16 at Our Lady of the Anunciation parish in Albuquerque. I
17 was asked, also, at that time to be on the staff of
18 teachers at St. Pius X High School.
19 Q. And who asked you to do that?
20 A. The Archbishop of Santa Fe. He gave me that
22 Q. Was that Archbishop Byrne at the time?
23 A. Archbishop Byrne, yes.
24 Q. And what was your -- what had been your
25 relationship with Archbishop Byrne? Had you known
1 any other context outside of the priesthood?
2 A. No, none. I had -- I would see him when I was a
3 seminarian at the Immaculate Heart of Mary seminary. I
4 would see him like all of us did. We were asked to be
5 altar servers for several of the ceremonies at the
6 Cathedral in Santa Fe. Then when I was assigned to
7 I didn't see him for six years. So when I came back, my
8 assignment was already completed. I did not meet with
9 prior to the assignment.
10 Q. Did you have any duties, outside of parish
11 duties or teaching duties, connected with the chancery
13 A. No, not at that time.
14 Q. Did you at any time after that?
15 A. Yes. After I had taught at St. Pius and
16 assisted at Anunciation parish for one year, I was then
17 asked by the Archbishop to go to Catholic University in
18 Washington, D.C., to do studies in canon law. I
19 the university, then, in the school year of '61-'62. It
20 was to be a two-year program, but after the first year, it
21 was completed. And it was a successful school year,
22 incidentally. Apparently his own need for priests in the
23 Archidocese was such that he asked me to remain in
24 Archidocese and to assume a position, again, at the
25 St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque.
1 Q. And were you teaching again?
2 A. So I went back again to teaching. The principal
3 of the school at that time asked if I would also take
4 classes, because of certification that is necessary in the
5 state of New Mexico. I had not taken classes
6 for teaching when I was in Rome, and so I then took
7 classes at the University of New Mexico during the
8 Q. Did you have any other duties within the
9 Archidocese, other than participating as a student and
11 A. Not duties. I would volunteer to assist a
12 priest who might need help on weekends, because I
13 free to help them either Saturday night, on occasions,
14 well as Sunday morning, since I was not at that time
15 assigned to a parish. So I helped a priest, the pastor at
16 Holy Ghost parish, whenever he would ask my
17 and also the chaplain at the military base.
18 Q. Which military base?
19 A. It was Sandia, Sandia Base.
20 Q. And after that, where were you assigned?
21 A. I stayed at St. Pius X High School as a staff
22 member until 1968, at which time the then Archbishop,
23 James Peter Davis, asked me to accept a new
24 and that was to be as pastor of two combined parishes
25 northeastern New Mexico located in Roy and
1 Joseph's parish in Mosquero and Holy Family parish in
2 Q. Did you have any duties within the Archidocese
3 outside of that parish assignment?
4 A. The only additional obligation that I recall was
5 the Archbishop asked if I would belong to a committee
6 was trying to prepare some guidelines for pastoral
7 councils, parish councils, which were becoming a new
8 entity at that time.
9 Prior to the 1960s, there was no such thing as parish
10 councils for our Roman Catholic Church, but with the
11 Second Vatican Council that was taking place, that
12 permitted. And so the Archbishop wanted to have some
13 guidelines and asked me to belong to a committee to
14 achieve that goal. That was the only additional duty
15 I had.
16 Q. When did you complete that parish assignment in
17 Roy and Mosquero?
18 A. It was in 1971.
19 Q. And then where were you reassigned?
20 A. I was asked by the Archbishop, then, to leave
21 Roy and Mosquero, to surrender that parish, so as to
22 assume a new parish assignment in Albuquerque at San
23 Felipe parish in Old Town, Albuquerque.
24 Q. And your assignment was to be the pastor of that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you have any duties within the Archidocese
3 outside of that assignment?
4 A. I believe I was elected to two things: One was
5 to represent -- to belong to the priest council. It was
6 called the -- I don't recall the formal name, but the
7 priests of the Archidocese were able to have a council
8 priests which would meet perhaps every two months for
9 sake of discussing our pastoral ministry and making
10 recommendations to the Archbishop for the well-being
11 the Archidocese.
12 I recall, as a member of that body, I was also chosen
13 by them to represent them, myself and one other priest,
14 represent them at a national convention of priest
15 that took place.
16 Q. Was that a new group at that time?
17 A. It was. That was again an outgrowth, one of the
18 fruit of the Second Vatican Council that had completed
19 work in late 1960s.
20 Q. And what was the purpose of a priest council?
21 A. The purpose was to look at two areas of priestly
22 interest: One was called priestly life, and the second
23 priestly ministry. The issues of priestly life concerned
24 such basics as our salary, was this adequate for us? At
25 that time, we were receiving $50 a month salary, and it
1 was pretty tough to even make any car payments for
2 ourselves. So issues like that had to be addressed.
3 There was no retirement program for priests at that
4 time, and the priest council addressed itself to an issue
5 such as that, issues for priestly life.
6 For priestly ministry, they would address such issues
7 as language preparation for seminarians, preparing to
8 serve, that they would be prepared bilingually, how to
9 best prepare themselves for liturgical celebrations,
10 different types of enrichment programs for the laiety,
11 such as Cursillo, which is a program of assistance for
12 members to become involved in. So it involved itself in
13 both the priestly life and priestly ministry concepts.
14 Q. How many priests were on that council when you
15 served in those years, approximately?
16 A. I don't recall. I would say approximately
17 perhaps 15.
18 Q. And were they elected by the priests in the
19 Archidocese to serve?
20 A. Yes. They had a formula -- I don't recall
21 exactly, but it was like each -- it divided the priests
22 into age groups, like 10-years groups. So there was four
23 or five different groupings, and each age group could
24 elect, I think, two members from their age group to
25 represent the age group, and then the entire body of
1 priests would elect another six members or so to
3 Q. Did the entire body of priests meet to do that,
4 or was that done by mail?
5 A. It was done by ballot, yes. They mailed ballots
6 to them.
7 Q. Was that the only organization at that time that
8 represented the priests and gave the priests a voice in
9 the Archidocese with the Archbishop?
10 A. Yes, that was the organization for that purpose.
11 Q. As a part of that organization, were issues,
12 other issues concerning problems that might arise in
13 parishes that were common or unique to more than one
14 priest, were those also discussed and brought to the
15 Archbishop's attention?
16 A. You mean such as personnel problems, things of
17 this nature?
18 Q. Any type of personnel problems. By "personnel,"
19 I assume you mean priest staff?
20 A. That was my question to you, what you meant by
22 Q. Personnel problems, either with the parishes,
23 complaints from the parishes about the way priests
24 performing their duties.
25 A. No, those -- that would -- I don't recall them
1 discussing that in that particular forum. I think that
2 particular forum was more for evaluation of what I call
3 diocesan programs and then planning for diocesan
4 or planning for the seminary or seminarians' vocations
5 so forth, retirement.
6 Any type of discussion about Father X doing his duty
7 here, doing his duty there, might come up in what we
8 called deanery meetings. This was an occasional
9 of priests from a particular areA.
10 The geographic area of the Archidocese is divided
11 into eight parts, and each part is called a deanery. And
12 those priests will meet from time to time to discuss
13 anything either that has come down from the
14 of mutual interest among themselves or simply to meet
15 mutual support. A lot of times it's just for social
16 gathering to support themselves.
17 Q. Would the Archbishop use the parish council to
18 disseminate information to the priests at large?
19 A. You mean the priest council?
20 Q. Excuse me, the priest council?
21 A. It was possible he could use that, since they
22 represented the priests, but I would say most of the
23 the Archbishop would have used a direct
24 letter to them. He could ask the priest council to
25 discuss an issue or to plan a certain program. But I
1 think that to make certain that all priests would receive
2 the communication, he would do that by letter.
3 Q. What about the deanery council; would he use
4 those to disseminate information, or again, if he wanted
5 to get information to all priests, he would usually do
6 that by letter?
7 A. By letter, right, yes.
8 Q. Were there any other forums for discussion of
9 issues that may arise either in the parishes or in the
10 particular conduct by any specific priests? Was there
11 other forum in which those issues might arise in those
13 A. Well, as far as laiety is concerned, many of the
14 parishes did have parish councils. I don't know if they
15 would have brought personal problems to the parish
16 council. It was possible. But I think most of the time
17 the parish council really served as an administrative
18 advisory group, not so much for personal needs as for
19 administration of the parish.
20 There was another body that might have received, I
21 think, what you're talking about, and that would have
22 the Archdiocesan personnel board. This board was
23 established by the Archbishop to assist him in
24 priests to different parishes, to make recommendations
25 him as to who might best serve as a pastor of this
1 or associate at that parish.
2 Q. And was that the procedure, as far as you knew
3 it, in the late '60s, early '70s, the personnel board
4 would make recommendations to the Archbishop
6 A. The personnel board would meet and make
7 recommendations. We weren't always assured that he
8 follow those recommendations. And only because
9 Davis was, in a sense, his own man, I guess. He would
10 make decisions whether you advised in that direction
11 not. He just felt that he was the Archbishop, and we
12 advisory, so, you know, it wasn't binding upon him. But
13 nonetheless, the board did exist to make
14 Q. Were you on the personnel board during that
15 period of time?
16 A. I served on the personnel board for a year, yes.
17 Q. What year was that?
18 A. I would say -- it could very well have been like
19 1972, I think 1972.
20 Q. And as far as your understanding of the
21 personnel board's procedures in, let's say, the late '60s
22 through 1972, what steps did the personnel board
23 in making a recommendation to the Archbishop
24 placement of a priest?
25 A. The priests on the personnel board by and large
1 were familiar with the parishes of the Archidocese and
2 could all address, then, the -- what I would call the
3 profile of a parish and their needs. They knew how large
4 the parish was. They knew whether it was a bilingual
5 parish or not. They knew if it had a Catholic school
6 attached to it or not. They were familiar with the entire
7 parish structures. And they were also familiar fairly
8 much with the talents of each priest and the experience
9 the priests, and they would make recommendations
10 that knowledge.
11 Oftentimes, if a pastorship was open, it would be
12 informed -- in a sense, advertised to the general body
13 priests. If somebody had a particular interest in that,
14 he would submit his name for consideration. But the
15 priest personnel board ultimately would make a
16 recommendation to the Archbishop that they would
17 so-and-so for this parish. Sometimes they might have
18 names on the recommended list, feeling that either one
19 would be a very fine candidate for it.
20 Q. What type of investigation was undertaken by the
21 personnel board of the priest to determine whether or
22 he was suitable for assignment to a particular parish?
23 A. It wasn't a formal investigation as to himself.
24 They knew his work in a particular parish. It seemed to
25 be very effective work. The parish seemed to be
1 functioning smoothly. As far as the board knew, there
2 were no particular problems that they were -- that the
3 pastor had personally or that any parishioners had
4 against the parish. But they would make that
5 recommendation to the Archbishop.
6 Q. My question is, how would they acquire that
7 information, by word of mouth or talking among
8 Would they pull out the priest personnel file?
9 A. It would be talking among themselves. They do
10 not have access to the priest personnel files. That
11 belonged to the Archbishop.
12 Q. So the personnel board, in making a
13 recommendation to the Archbishop for placement of a
14 priest in the late '60s and early '70s would not have
15 access to that priest's personnel file?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. But the Archbishop would?
18 A. Oh, yes.
19 Q. You said Archbishop Davis was pretty much his
20 own man. Do you know what process he went through
21 determine how priests should be assigned within the
22 various parishes?
23 MS. KENNEDY: Objection, calls for
24 speculation on the part of this witness.
25 Q. I'm asking your knowledge, Archbishop.
1 A. I don't know what process he would go through at
3 Q. Do you know what process was undertaken in your
4 case to make your assignments to parishes?
5 A. I was -- since I had been on the personnel
6 board, and I had served as a priest in the Archidocese,
7 when I became the Archbishop, I assured the priests that
8 would be listening to the recommendations of the
9 board, and in fact followed those recommendations,
10 offhand, off the top of my head, I would say at least 99
11 percent of the time. Their recommendations seemed to
12 very fine, very fair.
13 Q. And when you were Archbishop, did the personnel
14 board have access to the priest-in-question's personnel
16 A. No. Personnel files, as such, were considered
17 confidential. But if they chose, if they wished to
18 interview the priest, they could, or if they wished to
19 contact the parish council of the parish, that was
20 possible, too.
21 Q. But during the time that you were Archbishop,
22 there was no access to the personnel file?
23 A. Not by general access, no. They were
24 considered -- the individual priest's own file was
25 considered confidential and private for that priest, not
1 that it would necessarily have anything of a confidential
2 nature, but it did have his curriculum vitae, where he
3 born, and so forth, and any change of assignment. But it
4 was his file, and that priest could have access to the
5 file whenever he chose to see it. But it was really the
6 file of the Archbishop on behalf of that priest.
7 Q. You don't feel that it would have been
8 reasonable or prudent for the personnel board to have
9 access to that in making recommendations for
10 to the Archbishop?
11 A. Not really. I think that the knowledge of the
12 personnel board, in most instances, was as much as the
13 Archbishop knew, myself, and perhaps more so,
14 were in touch with their brother priests more frequently
15 than I myself.
16 Q. Prior to becoming Archbishop, when you were
17 assigned to particular parishes, do you know what
18 procedures or process was undertaken to determine
19 being fit for assignment?
20 A. No, I don't. Only the Lord knows. I have no
22 Q. No one advised you of what the process was?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Was Archbishop Davis ill in the latter part of
25 his service as Archbishop?
1 A. It appeared to many of us that -- well, he did
2 have a heart condition that would not allow him
3 to -- he could not venture to the high altitudes for a
4 long period of time. So he would spend a great period of
5 time in the Albuquerque area or lower areA. I know that
6 he tried to limit the numbers of times he'd have to go to
7 Santa Fe because of its particular altitude.
8 He also suffered from gout, and what became more and
9 more obvious was that perhaps the beginnings of what is
10 known now as Alzheimer's disease was beginning to
11 him, because his memory was beginning to have
12 And as I look at myself, I'm wondering if that's not an
13 affliction that hits all archbishops.
14 Q. Only when they're sued.
15 A. No, unfortunately it happens on other occasions,
16 as well, many occasions. But he seemed to be having
17 difficulty that way.
18 Q. When did he first appear to be having that
19 difficulty concerning his memory?
20 A. I don't know. I could not give you a definite
21 year, but certainly by his last year in office, I would
22 say that it seemed anyway -- I don't want to say that he
23 was at that time suffering from Alzheimer's, but it
24 to us from some of his decisions and perhaps failures to
25 remember other things, that he was contradicting a
1 decision that he may have forgotten about.
2 Q. Do you recall any specific decisions?
3 A. I just don't remember any specific ones. They
4 weren't major things, but it just seemed that that was
5 happening, and so we just wondered if he wasn't.
6 Ultimately he did go into severe Alzheimer's disease
7 died that way himself.
8 Q. Can you recall approximately the year that you
9 would have first began to recognize, yourself, that that
10 was a problem with Archbishop Davis?
11 A. I suppose 1973. I'd say immediately -- shortly
12 before his retirement.
13 Q. Is when you first noticed it?
14 A. I would say yes.
15 Q. Had you heard that that was a problem with
16 Archbishop Davis prior to 1973?
17 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: I'm going to object to
18 the use of the word "problem," unless you're more
19 as to how it has been a problem. The Archbishop
20 as to some memory loss but didn't indicate that it was
21 major problem.
22 A. I did not hear of other -- it wasn't scuttlebutt
23 or anything like that. When we would have a decision
24 that seemed to be contradictory to what we thought had
25 been made prior, we wondered whether he changed his
1 or whether he simply forgot.
2 Q. Did that first begin to occur in '73, or did
3 that start to happen before?
4 A. I did not have close contact with the
5 Archbishop, in fact, not even much in '73. He simply
6 stayed in his office. And I think I had visited his
7 office only twice in the previous -- in the 10 years of
8 his tenure.
9 Q. When you were admitted to the priesthood, do you
10 know what type of screening or evaluation process was
11 into your background?
12 A. I don't know what the officials may have done,
13 I'm sure that they depended a lot upon the local pastor
14 recommend seminarians, because the local pastor was
15 familiar with the family, with the candidate or
16 candidate, his talents, indications that he would show
17 regarding his desire for a spiritual life, oftentimes if
18 he was attending Mass daily or infrequently, his
19 interests, whatever they were, in music or in sports, or
20 whether he worked in a job here or there. They, I would
21 say, by and large, depended upon the recommendation
22 local pastor for that.
23 Q. Do you know if that was done in your case?
24 A. I would assume it was because my pastor knew me
25 very well, and I would say the seminary officials would
1 have called or contacted him for recommend -- they
2 not allow anyone in the seminary without a
3 from their pastor.
4 Q. After you became a priest, did you become aware
5 of the Archidocese of Santa Fe's procedures for
6 priest applicants?
7 A. I was not associated with the seminary. I was
8 neither a professor at the seminary or an official, and so
9 I really had no occasion to find out what their procedure
11 Q. Have you ever found out?
12 A. When I was the Archbishop in my own years, I was
13 able to ask them, you know, the procedures that are
14 recommended for seminary admission. And somewhere
15 the line -- I don't recall exactly what years, but we
16 began to include, I guess, a testing, a psychological
17 testing of the individual, also required
18 from beyond the pastor. It would include other
19 individuals who had known him or former employers,
20 teachers, so that there was a greater and a broader
21 of knowledge that was brought to the admissions board
22 the seminary.
23 Q. And that process was instituted after you became
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you institute that process?
2 A. Not so much myself. That was the rector of the
3 seminary and the staff. They were familiar with the
4 guidelines for seminary admissions.
5 I might add that the National Council of Catholic
6 Bishops do have a commission or a committee that
7 seminaries and has recommendations for seminaries for
8 everything from the curriculum to spirituality practices,
9 structures, admissions, this sort of guideline for
11 Q. Do you know under which rector that admissions
12 policy was instituted?
13 A. Well, there were various admissions policies,
14 I'm sure, under every rector, except that they would
15 become more demanding as years went on. I don't
16 if I recall correctly, things began to take on different
17 tones, I think, probably under the rectorship of Father
18 Johnny Lee Chavez.
19 Q. Which would have been what years, approximately?
20 A. Oh, probably the early '80s to mid '80s.
21 Q. So prior to that time, the early to mid '80s,
22 when these procedures were instituted, there was no
23 requirement that a seminarian priest undergo a
24 psychological evaluation?
25 A. Not that I can recall, or at least not that I
1 was aware of. Now, this is our seminary at Santa Fe,
2 which deals with college-level students. When they
3 there, they have four more years of study, and they have
4 to go to what we call a House of Theology. And the
5 of Theology has their own requirements for admission
6 acceptance and procedures. So they would have an
7 additional structure of admission categories that the
8 candidate would have to go through.
9 Q. Did the Archidocese of Santa Fe have its own
10 screening process for priests, after they completed
11 seminary or other theological studies?
12 A. Not really a separate process, screening
13 process, for the priests. We depended upon the
14 where they had been in school for at least four years
15 under the guidance of professional formation staff. They
16 had gone through testing, through their studies, through
17 spirituality, spiritual direction, and they would give you
18 reports on these seminarians, and finally they would
19 recommend a seminarian for ordination to you only if
20 passed their requirements. If there was any doubt about
21 him, they would not recommend him for ordination.
22 Q. If a seminarian was recommended for ordination
23 to you as Archbishop, would you generally accept that
25 A. Yes, I would.
1 Q. Without performing any additional investigation?
2 A. I would have a letter of recommendation from his
3 home pastor or parish. I would have a letter of consent
4 or at least testimony of consent from the parish council
5 of his parish, from his parents, and the personnel board
6 would also have to vote affirmative for his ordination.
7 Q. Did you examine -- in that process, did you
8 examine any of the application records that were
9 by the seminary to include any psychological evaluation
10 testing, if one was conducted, or did you just rely on
11 seminary's recommendation?
12 A. I relied on their interpretations since they had
13 administered their testing. If, in fact, there were any
14 concern in an area about a candidate, that would be
15 brought to my attention. If they would say that, "This
16 person seems to exhibit a high degree of irascibility.
17 gets angry very quickly. He flies off the handle at the
18 drop of a hat, and we're concerned about that quality.
19 recommend that he have counseling until he can learn
20 control that temper." And with that notification, the
21 would then be asked to go into counseling for that
23 Q. Did that particular situation ever occur?
24 A. Yes, it did.
25 Q. When?
1 A. It occurred with one example I can recall off
2 the top of my head, with a priest who had been a
3 seminarian in St. Meinard's in Indiana, and he was held
4 back from ordination to the deaconate because of it, and
5 they requested that he would go through therapy there at
6 their own school, and I agreed with their request. The
7 candidate felt very hurt by it, but he did comply with the
8 request, and so his ordination was delayed for another
10 Q. What year was that?
11 A. I suppose around 1976, '77.
12 Q. What about priests who came to the Archidocese
13 from other Archidocese?
14 A. Priests who would come to us from another
15 Archidocese would have to bring with them or would
16 sent ahead of them letters of recommendation from
17 own bishop, and he would explain to the local bishop,
18 myself or to my predecessor that, "Father X desires to
19 work in the Archidocese of Santa Fe. He's a priest of
20 diocese. We recommend him. If you would like to
21 full information about him, please contact us, and we'll
22 send it."
23 If, in fact, after interviewing the individual, the
24 Archidocese felt that they would have an interest in
25 they would then write to the chancery office of his
1 diocese or of his diocese, asking for a full curriculum
2 vitae on that priest.
3 Q. And that was the procedure in effect when you
4 were Archbishop?
5 A. Yes, for a priest that wanted to come to work in
6 the Archidocese, that would be the procedure I would go
7 through. In fact, I could not allow any priest to even
8 function on a weekend without first clearing that with
9 own bishop or superior in his former diocese. That would
10 normally be done with a phone call.
11 Q. So it was your policy as Archbishop to make a
12 personal contact with the Archbishop of the diocese
13 which the priest came to assure that that priest was
14 qualified to serve in your Archidocese?
15 A. Yes. If the priest has presented himself to us
16 as a total stranger, and he's presented himself to us for
17 the first time, we have no idea who he is. We have to
18 verify, first, that he's a priest; and secondly, what kind
19 and why he's there and what does his bishop have to
20 about it. So that is pro formA. That communication or
21 letters are sent regularly.
22 Q. All right. And I assume that you feel that that
23 is a prudent practice to undertake to assure the
24 well-being of parishioners with whom this priest may
25 in contact?
1 A. Yes, as well as to assure that he is validly
2 ordained a priest and has the right to function as such,
3 so that he's not pretending to be such.
4 Q. Well, not only that concern, but you're also
5 concerned about anything in this priest's past --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- or past behavior that may adversely affect
8 the health of the parishioners in the Archidocese of
9 Santa Fe?
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. When you were at St. Pius High School in
12 Albuquerque, you said that you taught; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. And did you do anything else, other than teach?
15 A. I was also activities director and, for one
16 year, athletic director. Then I was asked to assume the
17 additional responsibility of academic advisor to our
18 seniors so as to get them placed in colleges or in
19 whatever career they may choose to go.
20 Q. Did you have any contact with the chancery?
21 A. No, sir. There was no need to contact the
22 chancery, unless they asked me to come in for some
24 Q. At what point in time did you know that you were
25 on a path to becoming Archbishop or have any
1 that that was a possibility?
2 A. Sir, the most surprised individual in this world
3 was myself when I was told by my predecessor that I
4 selected by the Holy Father to be the next Archbishop of
5 Santa Fe. I had no indication. I was simply a parish
6 priest. I had not been given any special positions or
8 In past years, at that time, it had been the --
9 almost a tradition of the Church that any candidate for
10 the episcopacy had to be a chancellor of the diocese
11 many years, so as to become familiar with
12 I had not been chancellor nor had I been in the
13 except twice in a 10-year period. So I was far removed
14 from that. I was simply involved in parish work, and I
15 was fairly resigned that I would be a pastor for the rest
16 of my life.
17 Q. When did you learn of that appointment?
18 A. I learned of my appointment from the Archbishop
19 in late May of 1974.
20 Q. And when did you take office?
21 A. Well, the appointment formally was made then
22 public on the 4th of June, just about a week later, in
23 1974. There was a break between that and the time that
24 was ordained and assumed office, which took place on
25 25th, 1974.
1 Q. And is that when you moved to the chancery in
3 A. And that's when I moved to the chancery in
4 Albuquerque, yes, sir.
5 Q. Was that the first time that you had begun to
6 understand the administration of the Archidocese?
7 A. I can't really say I began to understand it
8 then, but I was exposed to it then. And it took -- as you
9 might imagine, it would take a few years to really feel
10 comfortable with positions such as that, because it
11 involved such a new area of concern. I had no idea
12 land and titles and all -- what lands were ours and the
13 titles that we had, some going back, you know, several
14 hundred years, and the parishes that existed, the
15 of buildings that were on them, insurance policies. I
16 no idea about financing all of this, and where the
17 financing came from, how we had to struggle to make
18 work. I had no idea about the retirement program for
19 priests and how that was functioning. Our cemeteries,
20 which are also public entities that are governed by
21 law. I had no idea about the hospitals that were in
22 existence and what medical malpractice could be
23 against the hospitals, what insurances were required,
24 they operated. I had no idea about Catholic charities
25 that dealt with the multiple needs of humanity and
1 exposure was there. I had to learn about the number of
2 parishes we had, their programs. The Catholic school
3 program had 27 schools. I suddenly became an
4 administrator of 27 schools. Liaison with colleges, and
5 on and on.
6 It just -- it's an awesome awakening when you
7 suddenly sit down in that position and realize that you
8 are now faced with a responsibility which is much
9 than you had ever been involved in previously, and you
10 to begin to familiarize yourself with all of those
12 Q. And did you undertake to educate yourself
13 concerning those responsibilities?
14 A. I had no other choice but to do so.
15 Q. And so you did that?
16 A. It's called on-the-job training.
17 Q. And as a part of that on-the-job training and
18 educating yourself concerning the affairs of the
19 Archidocese, did you review the personnel files of all
20 your priests?
21 A. No, sir, I did not. It just occurred to me, as
22 I took it over, I took over the responsibility, that each
23 of the priests who had assignments, who were assigned
24 that time, had been given the proper clearance and had
25 been approved by my predecessor, and we began
1 to continue to function where they were at. So I did not
2 go to personnel files to start with any review of one, two
3 three. I did not do that.
4 Q. Did you think at that time to check the
5 personnel files of priests that had been given
6 within the Archidocese within at least a year prior to
7 your taking over because of Archbishop Davis' infirmity?
8 A. No, sir, it did not occur to me. I felt that
9 the Archbishop had a chancellor, was familiar with the
10 Archdiocese, a very capable man; and that whatever
11 necessary for priests to be able to work in the
12 Archidocese had been done properly. And I did not try
13 double-check Archbishop Davis at all.
14 Q. Well, I'm not talking about double-checking.
15 I'm talking about you becoming familiar with the
16 assigned to parishes in your Archidocese to ensure the
17 safety of your parishioners. Did you think to do that at
19 MS. KENNEDY: I object. Could you read
20 back the question?
21 [The record was read by the reporter.]
22 MS. KENNEDY: Well, I'm going to object to
23 the question as vague. And if the question is, did you
24 look through the personnel files, then I object. It's
25 already asked and answered.
1 Q. Go ahead.
2 A. I did not feel I had to go through those
3 personnel files. The majority of the priests who were
4 working in the Archidocese had been there for several
5 years, and so I knew them. There were some admittedly
6 that I did not know, simply because I had not been part
7 their area or association with them. But I assume that
8 the other priests who also served in various capacities
9 were familiar with them and would be able to advise me
10 about them. I did not make that a personal goal. You
11 might say I was -- I had enough on my plate and felt
12 what was already in place had been well proven and
13 continue that way.
14 Q. So you didn't undertake any affirmative action
15 to update yourself on the background of the priests that
16 you didn't know?
17 A. That's right, sir, I did not.
18 Q. At the time you became Archbishop, did you know
19 Jason Sigler?
20 A. I did not know Jason Sigler. I believe I met
21 him, if I met him, probably at the ordination ceremony,
22 because I greeted each priest personally at one point of
23 the ceremony, and I have to assume that he was there
24 that I greeted him, but I had not met him as such.
25 MR. GOFFE: The time is 2:24. We will go
1 off the record to change tapes. This is the end of
2 tape 7.
3 [A recess was taken.]