Meet the priest who was Oscar Wilde’s lover and partly the basis for ‘Dorian Gray’

The writer Max Frisch once wrote that an author does nothing worse than betray himself. In that, a work of fiction reveals more of a writer’s thoughts, tastes, and secrets than any work of biography.

This, of course, may not always be the case, but for many it is true. Like Oscar Wilde, whose novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) revealed more about his tastes and thoughts and secret lifestyle than he ever ‘fessed-up to in public—as he once admitted in a letter to the artist Albert Sterner in 1891:

You’ll find much of me in it, and, as it is cast in objective form, much that is not me.

The parts that were thought to be Wilde—the story’s homoerotic subtext—led the press to damn the book as morally corrupt, perverse, and unfit for publication.

As for the parts that were not Wilde, they revealed some of the people who in part inspired his story, in particular, a poet called John Gray (1866-1934), who was one of the Wilde’s lovers. Gray later loathed his association with the book and eventually denounced his relationship with Wilde and was ordained as a priest.
Wilde thing: A portrait of Oscar in his favorite fur coat.
The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of a distinguished young man, Gray, whose portrait is painted by the artist Basil Hallward. On seeing the finished picture, Gray is overwhelmed by its (or rather his own) beauty and makes a pact with the Devil that he shall stay forever young with the painting grow old in his place. In modern parlance, consider it Faust for the selfie generation. Gray then abandons himself to every sin and imaginable depravity—the usual debauches of sex, drugs, and murder, etc.—in order to “cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.” As to be expected, this has catastrophic results for Gray and those unfortunate enough to be around him.

Wilde disingenuously claimed he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray “in a few days” as the result of “a wager.” In fact, he had long considered writing such a Faustian tale and began work on it in the summer of 1889. The story went through various drafts before it was submitted for publication in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Even then, Wilde contacted his publisher offering to lengthen the story (from thirteen to eventually twenty chapters) so it could be published as a novel which he believed would cause “a sensation.”

It certainly did that as the press turned on Wilde and his latest work with unparalleled vehemence. The critics were outraged by the lightly disguised homosexual subtext, in particular, Wilde’s reference to his secret gay lifestyle:

...there are certain temperaments that marriage makes more complex…They are forced to have more than one life.

The St. James’s Gazette described the tale as “ordure,” “dull and nasty,” “prosy rigmaroles about the beauty of the Body and the corruption of the Soul.” And went on to denounce it as a dangerous and corrupt story, the result of “malodorous putrefaction” which was only suitable for being “chucked on the fire.”

One critic from the Daily Chronicle described the novel as:

...a tale spawned from the leprous literature of the French Decadents—a poisonous book, the atmosphere of which is heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction…

While the Scots Observer asked: “Why go grubbing in the muckheaps?” and damned the book as only suitable “for the Criminal Investigation Department…outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys.”

The last remark related to the “Cleveland Street Affair” of early-1890, in which young telegraph boys were alleged to be working as prostitutes at a brothel on Cleveland Street. It was claimed the government had covered-up this notorious scandal as the brothel was known to be frequented by those from the highest ranks of politicians and royalty.

Little wonder that when Gray was publicly identified by the Star newspaper as “the original Dorian of the same name” he threatened to sue for libel. Gray asked Wilde to write a letter to the press denying any such association. Wilde did so, claiming in the Daily Telegraph that he hardly knew Gray, which was contrary to what was known in private. The Star agreed to pay Gray an out of court settlement—but the association was now publicly known.
John Gray: ‘The curves of your lips rewrite history.’
More on the life of John Gray, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
01:16 pm
Catholic priests vs The Boy Scouts of America: A fight THESE GUYS really want to pick?

BSA Pride flag
Just when I think that the Roman Catholic Church can’t possibly alienate any more people than it already has, another egomaniacal priest starts running his mouth.

Father George David Byers, S.S.L., S.T.D. is a hermit—no, literally!—who has a blog but no assigned parish and hence no parishioners of his own to bully. He still took the time to write a post on his now-private Wordpress blog, Holy Souls Hermitage about how he will not give communion to any male Catholic in a Boy Scout uniform now that the Boy Scouts of America have voted to allow gay boys to join as members but still ban homosexual adults as Scout leaders. Enough of his post was quoted before the blog was set to private that the highlights are available:

A Boy Scout has to swear, on one’s honor, before God and everyone, to uphold the revised Boy Scout Law of celebrating homosexuality. The BSA has made itself declared public enemies of the Church. So, no, I would not administer Holy Communion to any Boy Scout coming up in uniform. They are now just as bad as the Rainbow Sash crowd and all other militant homosexualists. They would have to renounce their membership first and not wear their uniforms.

Since Father Dumbass can’t be bothered to use The Google, here is the full text of the Boy Scout pledge:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Byers is also ignoring the U.S. Catholic Church’s top liaison to the BSA, Edward P. Martin, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, who already told Catholic Scout leaders and troop sponsors in a May 29th letter that the new policy “is not in conflict with Catholic teaching.” If Martin’s intention was to reassure Catholics that it was okay to support the Scouts, it was a serious failure. 

Parishes are cutting ties with the Boy Scouts left and right—even their own long-standing parish troops—and telling them to find another home and sponsorship.  A priest, Rev. Brian Grady, at a suburban Chicago parish said this in a letter to the BSA:

As a former Boy Scout, I know how uncomfortable it would have been to have to be in close proximity with boys that would perhaps be looking at me as more than just a friend.

Dave, a Chicago area lawyer and blogger at Dave’s Corner Tavern, wrote in response:

The worst aspect, of course is this: How does a guy employed the Catholic Church, an institution that’s notorious for priests who’ve sexually abused minors, including (but not limited to) boys, and even more notorious for covering up the sexual abuse of minors, and for shuffling abusive priests around from parish to parish, THEREBY EXPOSING EVEN GREATER NUMBERS OF MINORS TO ABUSIVE PRIESTS…how the hell does a guy affiliated with that organization have the brass ones to say that the Boy Scouts, merely by refusing to discriminate against gay members, expose children to danger.

Catholics United collected 5,500 signatures for a petition asking Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to formally condemn a Seattle area priest, Fr. Derek Lappe, for disbanding his parish’s Boy Scout troop. Lappe said in an official statement that it would be wrong for him to “be involved with a group that has decided to ratify or approve the self-identification of a 10-18 year old boy as ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual.’”

Catholics United’s executive director James Salt said:

Imagine you’re a gay kid, or the parent of a gay child, who worships at Fr. Lappe’s parish. What message is this priest trying to send to you? Fr. Lappe is saying your child is fundamentally ‘disordered,’ and that this ‘disorder’ is so profound and dangerous he must cancel the Scouting program because of it. With leadership like this, it’s no wonder young people are fleeing the Church.

Below, Journey Free’s Steps to Recovery From Religion:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright
10:27 am
Cross-dressing, porn-selling priest guilty of heading up Connecticut meth ring

Father Kevin Wallin aka “Monsignor Meth’”

A cross-dressing, gay priest buys an adult bookstore and uses it as a front to sell meth? You couldn’t make it up!

And before you ask, no, it’s not an April Fool’s joke. From Irish Central:

Monsignor Kevin Wallin, a Connecticut priest now being nicknamed Monsignor Meth, is expected to plead guilty next week to participating in a conspiracy to distribute crystal methamphetamine in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Post reports that court papers filed on Tuesday show that 61 year old Monsignor Wallin is expected to enter a guilty plea, which will have him facing a mandatory 10 years in federal prison.

The Associated Press reports that Connecticut authorities said the Wallin had meth mailed to him from co-conspirators in California, and made more than $300,000 in drugs sales out of his Waterbury apartment in the second half of last year.

Wallin had also purchased a bookstore - one that sold primarily pornography and sex toys - which he used as a front to launder money.


Wallin served as the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011 citing health and personal problems. Prior to that, he served six years as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Danbury until 2002.

While still serving as a priest, many noted his “off-kilter” behavior in early 2011. One church worker said that Wallin had grown “disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the Church.” The same worker, along with others, said the priest had long had sex with men and was a cross dresser.

On January 3, federal agents arrested Wallin, and on January 15 a grand jury indicted him and four other people on drug charges. All are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing meth and 50 grams of actual meth, a crime that carries 10 years to life in prison upon conviction. Wallin plans to plead guilty to that charge.

This would be funny if it weren’t also creepy and sad. As if the Catholic church needed any more scandal!


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
05:47 pm
Priest abuse settlements have emptied coffers, so LA’s Catholic church ponders $200m fundraiser
01:19 pm

If there is a Hell, Roger Mahoney will spend all of eternity roasting in it

The Los Angeles archdiocese is broke and still paying off a $175-million loan it received to pay victims of child molester priests in a civil settlement agreement six years ago. But they’ve got a plan.

Unfucking believable.

Via The Los Angeles Times:

In the midst of renewed public outrage over its handling of the priest molestation cases, the Los Angeles Archdiocese is considering a $200-million fund-raising campaign. The archdiocese has hired a New York company, Guidance in Giving, to study the feasibility of a capital campaign that would shore up the church’s finances.

The archdiocese is $80 million in debt, according to a recent church financial report. In 2007, the archdiocese agreed to a record $600-million settlement with with over 500 alleged victims of priest abuse. The consultants conducting the six-month study are interviewing every pastor in the archdiocese, as well as lay leaders.

A spokesman for the church said initial feedback has been “very positive.” The funds used would “be put into various endowments earmarked to support the pastoral priorities of the archdiocese, as well as for the general repair and upkeep of our parish churches and schools,” spokesman Tod Tamberg said in a statement. The campaign would be the archdiocese’s first in 60 years.

I’m sure it will be a resounding success! Why of course an organization that has recently agreed to an over half a billion dollar payoff to 508 victims of predatory priests should feel “very positive” about the prospects of raising that much money!

How many people would think, “Oh those guy are all right. They’re just tryin’ to put their kiddie fiddling days behind ‘em. Where’s my checkbook, I want to show my support”?

It’s delusional.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese posted 12,000 pages of priest personnel files online that revealed many instances of high Church officials covering up for the priest abusers.

H/T Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger
01:19 pm
Catholic Church endorses murder as Pope blesses Uganda’s ‘Kill The Gays’ Minister

Via Joe My God:

Ugandan Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who last month promised the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act as a “Christmas gift to Christians,” yesterday appeared in Vatican City to receive the motherfucking blessing of the Pope. From the website of the Uganda Parliament:

Kadaga who led a delegation of Ugandan legislators to the Vatican expressed delight at meeting the Pope and visiting St Peter’s Basilicca. “I think this is a moment that cannot be repeated. We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St.Peter’s Basilica but now we are here physically. I think it is something that I will remember all my life. Its a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity,” she said minutes after meeting the Pope. The Speaker dedicated to all Ugandans readings from the book of St. Mark which the Pope quoted in several languages during the Vatican mass.

And there you have it. A blessing from the Pope upon the woman who wants you executed. It can’t get any plainer than that, can it?


The pope has “blessed” a woman who actively wants me dead. A woman who is seeking to make her murder of me, and others like me, justifiable by law, and a legally sanctioned action. Fuck you, Pope Benedict. You’re a real stand-up guy.

Strongly worded, yes, but why the hell shouldn’t it be? If someone is asking for YOUR death and one of the most powerful institutions in the world endorsed them, wouldn’t YOU be just a little bit pissed?

Of course, there will be Catholics and Christians who read the headline to this blog post and will find ways to absolve the Catholic Church, the Vatican and the Pope of any complicity in the oppression and murder of hundreds of thousands of people. Well I have three words for you. And guess what? They don’t even come from the Bible. They don’t need to.


That you could find a way in your mind to justify this act of endorsing murder and oppression says more about the stranglehold the Catholic Church has on your mind, and its primary function as a death cult used for social control, than it ever could about notions of “love” and “acceptance,” of so-called “Christian” values.


Look at this picture, where a smiling Pope Benedict is happily holding the hand of a woman who actively wants me, and people like me, dead, as he blesses her. Go ahead, tell me that he did the right thing, that his blessing of this bigot is somehow NOT the endorsement of a head of state who seeks to make the murder of other people legal. GO ON.
I’m waiting.

Oh, and while you’re there, here’s something that DOES come from the Bible, four words that come (supposedly) from the mouth OF GOD HIMSELF and trump anything that’s written in Levictus: 


Funny how Pope Benedict managed to ignore that little commandment while blessing Rebecca Kadaga. I guess we know where his priorities lie now, and it’s not with following scripture.

And isn’t it funny how two references to homosexuality in the Bible (if even that many, as is widely and strongly debated) somehow trumps untold references to love and forgiveness, to not casting stones, to not judging people lest ye be judged, to live and let live, to love they neighbor, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah?

If it’s not acceptable for Christians to “pick and choose” which bits of the Bible they adhere to, how come it is OK for the anti-gay bigots to ignore what is basically THE WHOLE DAMN POINT of that book in favor of a couple of contested quotes? I mean, seriously?!

Because, as I stated above, the Catholic Church is NOT about love. If it truly were, why isn’t there an uprising within the church of Catholics actively rejecting oppression in ALL its forms, just as Christ himself told us to do?

For my sins, I was raised a Catholic in Ireland, so I know how these things work. Following orders that are handed down to you IS more important than acting with genuine Christ-based values. The Catholic Church is NOT about rejecting hate, it is about corralling people’s hatred and aiming it at subjects that the church endorses. That simple fact is how a person can claim that passing an act legalizing murder and oppression is “a Christmas gift to Christians.”

Thankfully, I have left the Catholic Church behind, because, frankly, I don’t need them to have a personal relationship with any deity. That is strictly between me and my God. If ze wants to judge me, ze can, and I’m sure ze’ll do it to my face, and not through an intermediary in an ecclesiastic frock riding around in a clown car.

Besides, being stuck in an abusive relationship with someone who wants you dead is worse for your mental, and physical, health than sucking a thousand dicks or licking a thousand clits ever could be.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
02:19 pm
Archbishop: Priestly Celibacy Leads to Sexual Abuse
05:21 pm


The Archbishop of Vienna has linked priestly celibacy to the rampant sexual abuse which plagues the Catholic Church. You think? As some weirdo or another said… “A god ignored is a demon born.”

In an article for Thema Kirche, his diocesan magazine, Christoph Schonborn became the most senior figure in the Catholic hierarchy to make the connection between the two and called for an “unflinching examination” of the possible reasons for paedophilia.

He wrote: “These include the issue of priest training, as well as the question of what happened in the so-called sexual revolution.

“It also includes the issue of priest celibacy and the issue of personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the church and of society as a whole.”

Schonborn is not the first person to suggest a link between celibacy and paedophilia – the theologian Hans Kung has made the same assertion.

(Archbishop: Priestly Celibacy Leads to Sexual Abuse)

(Related: Chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says Devil is in the Vatican)

Posted by Jason Louv
05:21 pm
Fry and Hitchens Slam the Church
03:04 pm


Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry absolutely scathingly slammed the sins of the Church at the Intelligence?Ǭ? talks. See resources below.

Here’s a good discussion thread about the talk.

And here’s the whole conference, via Richard Dawkins.

(Previously on Dangerous Minds: Canonizing Sinead O’Connor, Catholic Church Covered up Child Sexual Abuse for 30 Years.)


Posted by Jason Louv
03:04 pm
Catholic Church Covered up Child Sexual Abuse for 30 Years
03:27 pm


An Irish Church investigation has come to absolutely damning findings that the Church actively covered up institutionalized sexual abuse for thirty years. Via the Irish Times:

The Commission of Investigation into Dublin?

Posted by Jason Louv
03:27 pm