“Bishop Wright and the Ginder Affair”

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The following large excerpt has been copied with the kind permission of the author from the Rite of Sodomy (Randy Engel, New Engel Publishing, Export, PA, 2006)  In the 1982 American directory (The Official Catholic Directory) both Father Richard Ginder and Father Martin Wain are shown as serving at the Hundred Acre Monastery in New Boston.  Wain, now Monsignor Wain, was an American priest ordained (1981) for the Diocese of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.  In the 1982-83 Ontario directory Wain is shown as Vice-Chancellor of the Peterborough Diocese. In 1990 Wain entered a guilty plea to charges related to the long-term sex abuse of a young Peterborough boy, Ontario.  Media reports indicate the abuse began in 1984 however I have reason to believe it began much earlier.

(Scroll to bottom, past “Footnotes:  for article “5 Pittsburgh Priests Went to Prison”) 

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Bishop Wright and The Ginder Affair

The Church does not hate gays. The Church hates sodomy. We are trying to change that opposition, to show that it is a mistaken hostility, that sodomy is licit, at least for gays …if homosexuals are sincerely persuaded that gay sodomy is permissible, then they have no need to build their own private little chapel within theMotherChurch, to form an esoteric sect within the Christian commonwealth. Separatism, segregation, is not the answer. The answer is assimilation…Gays can be just as good Catholics as the rest and still have their sex. Don’t let them quit the Church …we need their help in forming a consensus. We need them on the team.383

 Rev. Richard Ginder

Binding with Briars

 

Father Richard Ginder was a native Pittsburgher. He was a Basselin Fellow and held a Masters degree in philosophy and a Licentiate in theology from the Catholic University of America. He was ordained a priest of the Pittsburgh Diocese in 1940 at the age of 26 by Bishop Hugh Boyle. Ginder taught for three years at St. Charles  College  in Catonsville  Md., and Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md.Later he became Censor of books for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.384

From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, Fr. Ginder was a widely read priest-columnist. His byline appeared in such prominent Catholic publica­tions as Our Sunday Visitor where he wrote the controversial syndicated column “Right or Wrong.” He also founded The Priest, a journal for Catholic clergy which he edited for 24 years and The Catholic Choirmaster which he edited for 13 years. He was also an accomplished organist and composer of sacred music.

According to Ginder, he discovered his “sexual identity” in 1949, nine years after his ordination.385 He regretted that over the next 25 years, he was never permitted to express himself on the subject of homosexuality in either OSV or The Priest.386 He did, however, give himself permission to act out his homosexual impulses with adolescent boys and young men.

His double life as a priest-pederast was discovered in 1969. After an intensive investigation, the local police raided his home in the Squirrel Hill section of  Pittsburgh  and found photographs of teenage boys performing homosexual acts with the priest and possibly other priests from the diocese. The police also found diaries written by Ginder that described his (and, again, possibly other clerics and laymen) homosexual activities with young men. The Diocese interceded for Ginder and he was released from jail and put on ten years probation.

Significantly, 1969 was the same year that  Rome  kicked Bishop Wright “upstairs” and brought him (and Father Wuerl) to  Rome.

In 1975, a little more than halfway through his probationary period, Ginder published his semi-autobiographical book Binding With Briars—Sex and Sin in the Catholic Church.

The book is a defense of homosexuality and autoeroticism, although Ginder touched upon other areas of morality. Interestingly, Ginder upheld the inalienable right to life of the unborn child under all circumstances, a position that is anathema to “gay liberation” which he said he also supported. 387

In the foreword to his book, Ginder said he was a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and that he celebrated Mass every day. He said he believed in the tenets of the Nicene Creed as defined dogma, and that he loved his priesthood and his Church, but on the subject of moral theology he took a sharp detour in terms of allegiance. 388

Ginder attacked moral theology, “at least as it existed from Trent to Vatican II,” as a “stingy, pettifogging science,” that is “act-centered” rather than person-centered.389 Salvation lies in the “fundamental option” not in “individual acts,” he insisted.390

Not surprisingly, Ginder thought chastity and celibacy were highly over rated. “The big three” he said, are the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity391

On the principle subject at hand, homosexuality, Ginder hailed “Gay Liberation” as being “the cutting edge of sexual liberation.”392 He said he favored both. He labeled pedophilia, that is, sex with children as “sick,” and distinguished ‘the child molester” from the “normal homosexual,” presumably a man like himself who engages in sex with adolescent boys or peers.393 

Homosexuality, Ginder said is inborn, therefore when a man engages in sodomy, he is doing what is “natural” for him.394 “… an act of sex is to be judged natural or unnatural not from the quality of the act but from the nature of the agent,” Ginder said.”395

Ginder admitted that “gay” sex was characterized, by promiscuity and violence. Of the former, he said that since “relatively few gays are provided with a congenial mate on a permanent basis, promiscuity is the usual thing.” 396 On the issue of violence, he explained, “every animal, including man feels let down” after sex. For homosexuals this letdown “is translated into disgust and guilt,” and the result is often “mayhem and murder,” he said.397

In 1976, one year after the publication of Binding With Briars, Bishop Vincent M. Leonard, Wright’s successor, stripped Ginder of his, priestly faculties. In 1978, Ginder was arrested and convicted of sodomizing two 16-year-old boys and sentenced up to four years in prison. He died in 1984 at the age of 70 in a car accident. 398  Ginder’s criminal record was kept under tight wraps by the Diocese of Pittsburgh until diocesan officials were forced to open church records in the wake of clerical pederast scandals that have rocked the nation.

 

Footnotes

383 Ginder, 147.

384 Ibid., viii.

385 Ibid., vii.

386 Ibid.

387 Ibid., 211-212.

388 mid., vii., 226.

389 Ibid., 30-31.

390 Ibid., 33,49.

391 Ibid., 47.

392 Ibid., viii.

393 Ibid., 133.

394 Ibid., 25.

395 Ibid., 138.

396 Ibid., 143.

397 Ibid., 19.

398 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “5  Pittsburgh priests went to prison,” 28 February 2004.

 

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5 Pittsburgh Priests Went to Prison

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

28 February 2004

Seven priests from the Pittsburgh Catholic diocese have been arrested for child sex abuse. Five went to prison, accounting for 5 percent of the 100 who did so nationwide. The seven:

* Rev. Richard Ginder: Former editor of prominent Catholic publications, including “Our Sunday Visitor,” and official diocesan censor. Placed on 10 years’ probation in 1969 after police searched his Squirrel Hill home and found photographs of teenage boys performing homosexual acts and diaries documenting his own acts. Stripped of priestly duties in 1976 after publishing a book criticizing church positions on sexual morality. In 1978, convicted of sodomizing two 16-year-old boys. Sentenced to up to four years in prison. Died at age 70 in a 1984 car accident.

* Rev. Robert Wolk: Former pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Bethel Park and one-time assistant chancellor of the diocese. Accused in 1988 along with fellow priests Richard Zula and Francis Pucci of sexually assaulting two altar boys. Sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

* Rev. Richard Zula: Pleaded guilty in 1989 molestation of a 15-year-old altar boy at Seven Springs. Sentenced to up to five years in prison. Had been pastor at SS. Mary & Ann Church in Marianna, Washington County.

* Rev. Francis Pucci: Left his post at Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, Pa., in 1987, a year before state police named him and two other priests as suspects in the sexual assault of two former altar boys. Charges were dropped because statute of limitations had passed. Forced into early retirement and banned from public ministry. Died in 2002.

* Rev. Anthony Cipolla: Arrested in 1978 for allegedly molesting a 9-year-old boy. Charges dropped when the boy’s mother withdrew the complaint. Banned from public ministry after a 1988 lawsuit and forcibly laicized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. Maintains his innocence.

* Rev. Richard Dorsch: Charged in 1994 with molesting a 13-year-old boy at North Park. Sentenced to up to 23 months in jail. Resigned from the priesthood in 1996.

* Rev. Edward Huff: Accused in 1992-93 by several families from Swissvale andBessemer,LawrenceCounty, of molesting their sons. Sentenced to up to five years in jail. Resigned from priesthood.

6 Responses to “Bishop Wright and the Ginder Affair”

  1. paul goldston says:

    WHAT GETS ME ALL THESE PRIEST SHOULD VE BEEN DEFROCKED BECAUSE RUINING THE YOUNG BOYS LIVES . THERE WAS AND STILL IS A PRIEST IN WASHINGTON DC WHO WAS ON THE WANTED LIST FOR MOLESTING YOUNG BOYS , I BELIEVE HE DIED FROM VD FROM A HOOKER I SUPPOSED , WELL GOOD RIDDENS , I KNOW WE SUPPOSED TO FORGIVE OUR TRANSGRESSORS . I BELIEVE IF SEX IS IN ABUNDANCE LET THOSE PRIEST WHO ARE GAY START THEIR ON SECT AND NOT TARNISHED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH , AS FOR MYSELF I LEFT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH REASON I WON’T ANSWER TO . BUT THE PRIEST WHO ARE GAY LOOK TAKE SOME ADVICE IF YOU HAVE TO HAVE SEX HAVE IT IN A MOVIE HOUSE OR BATHHOUSE , THOSE GAYS ARE CONENTING ADULTS AND THERE’LL BE NO BACKLASH .

  2. John Hobson says:

    You write:

    Interestingly, Ginder upheld the inalienable right to life of the unborn child under all circumstances, a position that is anathema to “gay liberation” which he said he also supported.

    Are there pro-life gays? Of course there are, and you are flat out lying when you say that it is a position “anathema” to gays.

  3. Diana Goodavage says:

    I agree absolutely with John Hobson. Many gay and lesbian people support the pro-life cause.

    “Father” Ginder did not just confine his activities to the male gender. He and some of his friends had a profitable kid porn business. Both genders were included.

    I’m not sure why this article mentions Bishop Donald Wuerl, or Bishop John Wright. They had no connection with “Father” Ginder’s crimes, did they? Or, are you trying to implicate them by association?

    • Sylvia says:

      There are numerous references to Wright and many to Wuerl throughout the book. I don’t know a specific about a Ginder connection with Bishop Wright but according to Randy Engle Wright’s pederastic predilections were an “open secret” in the Archdiocese of Boston for years. No one had ever come forward publicly, however, Randy interviewed a man (Mr. William Burnett) who was sexually abused frequently by Wright. Burnett was molested by Wright at the cottage of and in the company of and with assistance of the boy’s uncle Father Raymond Page

      Wright left Boston Pittsburgh PA. He served as bishop in Pittsburgh from 1959-1969.

      Wuerl was ordained for the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh, PA. Not long after his 1966 ordination Wuerl became private secretary to Bishop Wright In 1969, Pope Paul V! appointed Wright as Prefect for the Clergy of the Clergy. Wuerl “remained by the Cardinal’s side until Wright’s death in 1979 and in fact, because of Wright’s crippling arthritis and need for assistance was given the privilege of accompanying the Cardinal inside the conclave which elected Pope John Paul II.”

  4. Diana Goodavage says:

    Where are your sources? Please give me a citation. What book are you referring to?

    The Rite of Sodomy?

    It’s really not clear exactly what you’re alleging about Wuerl and Wright.

    I already know about Ginder. He was one of my perpetrators.

  5. Diana Goodavage says:

    Well, if you don’t know about a Ginder connection to Bishop Wright, then why is this article entitled, “Bishop Wright and the Ginder Affair?”

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