Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It was mortifying

Cilice, via Daily Mail.
From the Washington Post, via Doug at Balloon Juice:
After all three Masses on the weekend of Jan. 19-20, parishioners of St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Springfield, Ill., were handed a statement written by Bishop Thomas Paprocki. The bishop explained that St. Aloysius’ pastor, the Rev. Thomas Donovan, “is suffering from a psychological condition that manifests itself in self-bondage as a response to stress.”

The statement was a response to a 911 call in November by Donovan from the parish rectory. In it, the priest tells dispatchers he had placed himself in handcuffs and asks police to help free him. After the recording of Donovan’s 911 call rocketed across the Internet, Paprocki was in a unique situation. His priest had not done anything illegal, and yet he’d been found doing something most people would consider bizarre. In Paprocki’s 1,038-word response to parishioners, he took the unusual step of delving deep into Donovan’s psychological problem. With the priest’s consent, the statement includes a description of what Donovan’s own clinical therapist had diagnosed as “non-sexual self-bondage.”
Well, that explains everything.
Donovan’s hands were cuffed behind his back with the keyhole facing up, so he couldn’t unlock himself, according to the police report. He was wearing an orange jumpsuit and “a leather bondage-type mask with a bar in his mouth.” The officers uncuffed Donovan, and asked if he needed medical attention. The priest said he was fine, he was alone, and that he “does this from time to time.”
It was a non-sexual leather bondage-type mask. The kind you wear for your non-sexual bondage stuff. Like, with your buddies from work. When there's nothing good on TV.
What, exactly, “this” was must have been the topic of conversation when Donovan was summoned to Paprocki’s office 11 days later. During that meeting, the bishop learned that Donovan was “mortified” by what happened, but insisted he’d been alone “the whole time of this incident,” and “denied that there was any sexual component to this,” according to Paprocki’s statement.
OK, that's clear, then. There is not any sexual component to this, or "this".
The bishop said that after a review of Donovan’s “work and lifestyle patterns,” the diocese had found he “severely-compromised patterns of self-care with respect to diet, exercise, sleep, work hours, and unreasonable expectations of himself as a pastor.” Such patterns, the bishop continued, can lead a person to self-medicate. Sometimes that comes in the form of alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography. In Donovan’s case, according to an unnamed therapist the bishop cited, stress reduction came in the form of self-bondage.
Oh, snap! Back up there a minute! Did you say "mortified"? As in "mortification of the flesh"? But that's totally normal, right? It's not sexual if it's theological. It's like the hair shirt and discipline, only hip. I mean, it's the 21st century, you can't expect a chap to go out to the desert and sit on a pillar. If he was mortified, that only means it was working, for goodness' sake!
Thaipusam, Georgetown, Penang, from RealMagick.

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