In the incident report released today, an off-duty Cleveland Metroparks ranger said McGonegal offered the ranger $50 to help him “get off,” then exposed himself and masturbated, all while sitting inside his late-model Jeep SUV.
The report said McGonegal had three sex devices in his Jeep when he was arrested around 12:45 p.m. …
The report said inside the Jeep was a bottle that contained an intoxicant. During questioning after his arrest, the priest said he bought the product at a sex shop and smells the contents to get “a buzz.”
Later Friday, McGonegal told workers at the jail that he is HIV-positive, the report said.
Father was ordained in 1971. I had thought that was a little early to have been a scuminarian (scuminarians believe that if a reliquary is a place to deposit relics, then a seminary must be a place to deposit your semen), but maybe not. The post-Vatican II rot entered early and deep. But in a sense, that’s irrelevant. All of this would be grave matter for any of us laymen. It’s only worse for priests by virtue of their office. And don’t give me that crap about “If we only let them marry…”, as if married men never solicit sex, or as if men could marry other men.
Look, I know, innocent until proven guilty and all, but read the article; is there any way at all that this could be a frameup or a mistake? Even the physical evidence is a matter for scandal. I wasn’t sure I should even comment on this; it’s not like I’ve lived a life of chastity. But when you’ve had multiple Plain Dealer articles and broadcast reports, it’s not exactly a secret. People should know there’s at least one Catholic heartsick about this.
Now we have to wonder about his church. St. Ignatius of Antioch was one of the churches that Bp. Lennon had on the chopping block before the Vatican overrode him. I have to wonder whether he knew the score and decided to kill two birds with one stone (I think St. Peters was a similar situation, with a pastor who is now excommunicated). It’s a gorgeous building. But is it faithful? One has to ask. Sex is the mother of heresy, and a priest who is confused about the Church’s teaching on sexuality might be confused about other teachings. A glimpse of their website is inconclusive. I looked at a couple of their bulletins, and Father’s remarks therein seemed pretty orthodox and even catechetical. They do have a “mission statement” with all the improper buzz words:
We are a Catholic Church in the City of Cleveland, dedicated to worship, educational excellence, and social justice. We promote ecumenism and embrace cultural diversity. We strive for family growth, neighborhood involvement, and community development. We uphold the dignity of the human person and are determined to meet the demands of the new millennium with hope for the future.
Now, I think Catholic Church mission statements are stupid. Any parish has only one mission: to get souls into Heaven. Any other goal is ancillary to that, and if it doesn’t contribute to that, it needs to go.
One can tell quite a bit from the music, but I couldn’t tell anything about the music from the site, except that you don’t have to read music to join the choir. I think that technically applies to my own parish as well (but people who can’t tend to deselect themselves; we really don’t do music that can be learned by rote.), so it’s not really a tell. Indeed, the whole website seems a bit like a coverup, a lot of “here’s what we do; come to the parish picnic!” and not a lot of “here’s what we believe.” Granted, there’s a book for that; a Catholic church shouldn’t have to put it on their website (though, interestingly, the Catechism is notable by its absence from their “links” page.) But we all know there are Catholics and catholikes, members of the Church of Jesus Christ and members of the Church of Nice. One can’t assume.
So, what next? Father is 68, old enough to draw Social Security. I think that retirement is appropriate, and possibly the most merciful thing for all concerned. Pray for the parish of St. Ignatius, and especially for Fr. McGonegal.