Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living


By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 28, 2003

Did your grandparents go down on a felony rap for setting up underage homosexual prostitutes in an out-of-state condo? Mine too. It's a failing that strikes many wonderful retired people in their "golden years," when they become prone to hearing loss, diminished visual acuity, and solicitation to sodomy. So I was glad to learn, when 76-year-old Father Daniel McBride pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution with a 17-year-old boy, that his lawyer spoke to the issue:

"Dan McBride did not use his status as a priest to facilitate this act. He did make a tragic mistake at the end of his wonderful career," said Brian Downey, McBride's attorney. "His vocation is ended. He cannot act as a priest."

I cried. Just one little slip -- a "tragic mistake," in Downey's words -- puts an end to 52 years of felony-free homilizing and wedding receptions! Of course there will be judgmental Catholics who pretend that they never made a mistake, never missed an exit on the interstate or wore mismatched socks or gave a teenager $120 for gay sex, but most of us are more humble and honest with ourselves. As my grandma said when the Jersey City vice squad were cuffing her during her bust for deviant sexual battery, "I just couldn't face another day of Petticoat Junction re-runs!"

Father McBride's pastor, the Rev. Charles Diedrick, was present in court at the time of the sentencing and helped put things in their true perspective:

Diedrick said he felt obligated to lend his support to McBride, who has been his friend for more than 20 years. "I think we need to show support for a man who has an unblemished record," Diedrick said.

And isn't this sensible? Alger Hiss's brilliant career was wrecked on a single conviction -- perjury -- but there was no reason to think he wasn't a dedicated civil servant and patriot otherwise. By the same token only a cynic could imagine that McBride's personal appetites may have been less-than-perfectly compartmentalized and so have affected his defense and exposition of Church teaching in the 50+ years of his ministry. Why, look at Andrew Sullivan on the doctrine of auricular confession!

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