San Francisco Weekly, a newspaper that probably does not like the Catholic Church much, nevertheless has an expose of Bishop Patrick Ziemann, the bishop of Santa Rosa, California, who was forced to resign in 1999 after it was learned he was forcing a priest to have sex with him. Later, we found out that Ziemann had nearly bankrupted the diocese, draining even parish accounts of money. The newspaper reports that Ziemann has close ties to both Cardinal Roger Mahony of LA and Archbishop William Levada of SF. (When Ziemann resigned in disgrace, Levada extolled Ziemann’s virtues, even as his sins were coming to light. And when law enforcement wanted to investigate the financial irregularities, Levada, who then had control of the Santa Rosa diocese, wouldn’t cooperate and that had to be dropped.)
Now, Ziemann lives in relative ease in Tucson at a monastery, getting around on the “artsy” party circuit, and even discussing a potential return to episcopal leadership, if you can believe that.
Some have raised the question of whether Ziemann actually has information to “blackmail” his brother bishops so that he can avoid punishment and perhaps even receive special treatment. I think that considering the kid glove treatment of pervert priests, that such treatment for a disgraced bishop would not be unheard of.