Monday, October 21, 2013

Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald and the Path Not Taken

The story of Boston’s Father Gerald Fitzgerald (1894-1969), who founded the Servants of the Paraclete congregation, has been told before. For example, it appears in the National Catholic Reporter of March 30, 2009; in the Dallas Morning News a day later; and was reported by news services like the Associated Press. But most readers outside (and indeed within) the U.S.A. might well be unaware of it, as, for that matter, the writer of these words was until recent months.

To summarize: in the 1950s, Fr. Fitzgerald constituted a rare voice—often, it would seem, a lone voice—on the subject of sexual immorality, and above all pederasty, in the priesthood. This was at a time when such Molochs as Freudianism and the Kinsey Report still exercised such tyrannical rule over the American public culture, that their despotism was conceded (and applauded) by old-fashioned buttoned-up liberals like Lionel Trilling, quite as much as new-fashioned monsters like Allen Ginsberg. Against this despotism, even such classic admonitions as Fulton Sheen’s Peace of Soul proved almost useless.  (more...)

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