Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More on Story of Illinois Priest Found in Handcuffs: Bishop Paprocki Tells Public This Was Case of Self-Bondage (and My Questions)

So, okay: let's assume that Bishop Thomas Paprocki is correct when he says that Fr. Thomas Donovan, who placed a 911 call last month when he couldn't get out of handcuffs, was engaging in "self-bondage." I mentioned this story some weeks back, and as careful readers may have noted, I didn't publicize the name of the priest in question in that posting, though I knew the name from many articles online. As I said in my previous posting and as I repeat now: far be it from me to pass judgment on this priest whom I certainly don't know.

Still, as I also noted, this is a story that had already gone viral by the time I posted about it, and to ignore the story is simply to relinquish commentary about it to any and all kinds of speculation, no matter how vile, that come down the pike when such stories go viral. As I also noted, when a seemingly salacious clerical story like this breaks at the same time that the bishops in Illinois mount yet another nasty attack on the gay community, it's understandable that gay people will want to talk about said seemingly salacious story as a glimpse inside the glass house of the men mounting another attack against us.

So let's assume that Bishop Paprocki is correctly informed and is informing the public correctly about what happened in the case of Fr. Donovan--though I will admit to a great deal of difficulty in buying the notion that self-bondage doesn't have a sexual component. If we do choose to follow this story, then my question now becomes, In what essential way is Fr. Donovan's practice of self-morification any different from this, or this, or this?

The graphic: a picture of a cilice, an instrument of mortification bound around areas of one's body at the encouragement of some traditional schools of Catholic asceticism. Pope John Paul II is said to have used a cilice for self-mortification.

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