Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Priest Who Resisted Homosexuality in the Priesthood and Died for It


Msgr. Wells
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I imagine I’ve pulled a hundred or so fives, tens, and twenties from my pocketover the years to hand to ice cream scoopers at Kilwins, Storm Brothers, or Annapolis Ice Cream Factory. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better place for a summer cone than on the docks of historic downtown Annapolis. The Wells family routine is unchanging: search out a bench on Dock Street to watch boats (many large, streamlined, and dazzling) parade up and down “Ego Alley,” the narrow waterway that spills into Spa Creek and out into the Chesapeake Bay. 

This past Saturday night, my wife and I walked past Ego Alley as a parade of Pride Month-regaled ships split the waters. Abba’s “Dancing Queen” thundered from one of the larger boats as shirtless men in tight-fitting rainbow shorts swayed, danced, and waved at tourists and young families below. Large rainbow flags flapped, sudden peals of explosive laughter came and went, and a man in a gown danced provocatively. 

I looked to the benches where Wells kids once sat, and I saw small children tentatively returning waves to the mostly-naked men. From one bench, a small girl smiled, not unlike a nervous kindergartner at her first picture-taking. Seemingly hypnotized by the loud spectacle, children craned their necks to get a better look at the splashy gay pageantry. All around was whirling movement and crackling activity, like the summertime sparklers kids twirl in night skies. 

The sadness I haven’t been able to shake is of the many families who remained on the benches, who sat still, absorbing it all. They sat beside the new American child, the child offered a front-row seat by mom and dad to a reengineered America that easily joins with celebrations commemorating grave sin. 

This piece is not meant to bore you. It is here; yadda yadda. The LGBTQ movement is now as American as baseball (Pride Nights at ballparks, emblems on uniform sleeves), hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet (the Volt has “come out” as an electric car).

We no longer blink at marine recruitment ads carrying multi-colored bullets and drag queens reading to four-year-olds at the library down the street. Transgender athletes play varsity sports games against our daughters. Itis here, and outside the finger of God, it is not leaving.

There is a single place that remains though—the Roman Catholic Church—where active homosexuality has never played well. It’s caused millions of Catholics to quit the Church. It’s seared consciences and placed hundreds of millions of dollars—that could have gone to the poor—into the hands of attorneys and the sexually scarred. Banner headlines from 1A major daily stories include words like “Grinder App,” “Rapist Cardinal,” “Child Porn,” and even “Murder.”

Yes, homosexually-active priests can even bring about murder. No, homosexuality and Catholicism have never meshed. 

So, for Pride Month, 2022! I’d like to shovel up the memory of my uncle, Msgr. Thomas Wells, who, 22 years ago today—June 8, 2000—was murdered in his Maryland rectory, collateral damage of a culture of active priestly homosexuality. If we are to truly celebrate diversity this month, let’s lift the lid of Msgr. Wells’ tomb and come fully out of the closet. Let’s scrape away the gay thin layer of multicolor to get to some smoldering shades of black. 

Deputy state attorney Kay Winfree called my uncle’s murder as gruesome a crime scene as she’d ever seen. The body of one of the most beloved and devoted priests in the history of the Archdiocese of Washington was marked by deep stab wounds around his head and neck, accompanied by many dozens of slashes to various other parts of his body, like stigmata from Hell. 

The blood-stained boots of Robert Paul Lucas, an alcohol- and cocaine-fueled homeless tree trimmer, led to the capture of my uncle’s murderer. But Lucas’ imprisonment is only part of the story. Though the killing was of Satan, the circumstances surrounding it hold as much demonic weight. Homosexually active, credibly-accused priests resided in the rectory for many years prior to my uncle’s arrival at Mother Seton parish in Germantown, Maryland. 

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