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A Troubling Incident

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Before you read this, please know that I am not passing judgment on this priest. I am simply concerned about whether we Catholics are doing the right things on the issue of same-sex attraction and this story sends up some red flags that are not enough to warrant any final judgment of wrong-doing, but are enough to raise questions. It has been my constant position that the teaching of the Church that we should not find our identity in our disorders but in Christ is the critical point in addressing the issue of same-sex attraction as well as other things, like Bipolar Disorder, which I have. Many of my fellow faithful Catholics have either ignored this or rejected it outright as “bigotry” on my part. Having said that, please read ALL of this post so that you can understand my concern here, and know that this is being talked about on high-traffic “gay rights” blogs already.

By the way, this is in Bishop Paprocki’s diocese just as Illinois is moving to decide on “gay marriage,” so we have to consider the possibility that someone in the “gay rights” community targeted a priest who was known to have same-sex attraction and left him in this situation so that it would make news and destroy the image of the Catholic Church in the eyes of the public in the “gay marriage” debate.

Illinois Times:

The pastor of St. Aloysius church on Springfield’s north end has been granted a leave of absence after he called 911 from the rectory and told a dispatcher that he needed help getting out of handcuffs.

“I’m going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency,” Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher who sounds a bit incredulous during the Nov. 28 call.

“You’re stuck in a pair of handcuffs?” the dispatcher asks.

“(I was) playing with them and I need help getting out,” Donovan responds.

Donovan told the dispatcher that he was alone in the rectory. It’s not clear exactly how he ended up in handcuffs or why he feared a medical emergency. His voice sounds garbled or muffled on the tape, and sources say that police discovered some sort of gag on the priest when they arrived.

There is audio of the 911 call.

Maybe it was exactly as Fr. Donavan said. Maybe he was alone and simply playing with some handcuffs and got stuck. Or….maybe not. Having read a great deal about the BTK Killer, I’m familiar with the fact that handcuffs and gags can be related to deviant sexual acts. Again, I’m not passing judgment here. I’m only saying that it’s a possibility that someone else was involved and thought it a funny thing to leave him handcuffed and, as a source said, gagged….or maybe came to Fr. Donavan knowing he had same-sex attraction just to set him up this way so that it would make news and damage the Church.

Having read Goodbye, Good Men, I thought the smart thing to do would be to see where Fr. Donavan went to seminary. Father Donavan went to seminary at University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein. I did a quick search of the Catholic blogs and found a mention of Mundelein at Creative Minority Report that disturbed me.

From the comments:

Anonymous said…
To the bigot who asked about the “lavender” problem: for those of you who dont know th term it means HOMOSEXUAL. And the only problem I would see is if there was an active HOMOSEXUAL lifestyle and those seminarians should be removed. The Church teaches us that we are not to discriminate against homosexuals and anonymous bigotted remarks like this one call for a need to seek forgiveness. I assure you there are gay seminarians and gay priests at Mundelein. My prayer is that they are chaste, holy men, who compels others to lead a Christ centerd and focused life. Period.

Imagine my surprise. Folks, those of us who say we must find our identity in Christ are not “bigots.”

Question: Why are our seminaries accepting men with same-sex attraction at all?

Question: Does Fr. Donavan know things he isn’t telling us?

Question: If Fr. Donavan was targeted, who targeted him?

Perhaps Fr. Donavan was not gagged. Perhaps he was only playing with handcuffs and got stuck. Or perhaps not, but what is known publicly now is enough that it is spreading like wildfire through the “gay rights” community. If he was not gagged, it would probably be a good idea for the diocese to say so, and have a police statement to that effect. Fr. Donavan is on leave of absence now. That tells me something happened that wasn’t, perhaps, just an innocent mistake of accidentally getting trapped in handcuffs. Finally, it is to Bishop Paprocki’s credit that Fr. Donavan is on leave of absence, if things were not so innocent.

UPDATE: Stacy McCain writes: Not only is the incident being discussed on gay blogs like Towelroad and Queerty, but it has also made headlines at Huffington Post, Mediaite and The Blaze. So the “matter of privacy” defense isn’t really effective, and gossip will run wild in the absence of a plausible explanation.

UPDATE 2: This is also being discussed at Raw Story, NBC Chicago, Hypervocal, Digital Journal, Live Leak, Salon, Baltimore Sun forum, Regator, Shutterstock, …and many, many other places.

UPDATE 3: Bishop Paprocki’s Statement on Father Donovan.

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