The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Childproof 19: Msgr. Louis W. McCorkle and Clergy Sexual Abuse at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary




Page 19

 

Editorial Update:  22 August 2013.


Dear Bishop Gaydos:
 
Career benchmarks are worthy of recognition.  In academia, scholarly achievement is celebrated with a festschrift: a collection of essays
by colleagues and friends noting the intellectual accomplishments and expertise of the honoree.  Outstanding actors and actresses are recognized by their peers with the Oscar, the Emmy, and the Tony.  Authors receive Pulitzers and Nobels.  Artists are exhibited in museum retrospectives.

Roman Catholic priests tend toward modesty, avoiding the limelight.  Bishops, nonetheless, like to single out church careerists for special mention from time to time by giving them the title of monsignor.  The title is anachronistic, a throw-back to the days of monarchy: a title is granted by the Pope, usually at the request of a bishop. The recipient gets to wear a cassock with red or purple piping on the sleeves and button holes depending on the degree of his rank of which there are three classifications.


Msgr. Louis W. McCorkle (second row, left) with Bishop
Joseph M. Marling and Msgr. Charles H. Patterson (second,
from right) with the first students enrolled at St. Thomas
Aquinas Seminary in 1957.  Source:  The Anchor, 1982,
p.106

Some clergymen receive the honorific for outstanding service to the church.  Others receive the title due to pure longevity or length of service:  like a gold watch. Most are promoted for their business acumen, political acumen, or their ability to keep secrets both off
the golf course and outside of the confessional.

Msgr. Louis W. McCorkle can be included in this latter group.  Despite the longevity of his service to the church and his success as a painter and sculptor, we believe he is a menace, forsaking those victimized at St. Thomas by Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell and his colleagues.

Louis McCorkle:  Moss on a Tombstone
At the age of 88, McCorkle has been a priest for 58 years (ordained
in 1953).  His career has been devoted to the church in Hannibal, namely St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.  He is known to most of us as “Uncle Lou.” Some alumni have attempted to canonize the man by calling him the “Father Founder” of the defunct college prep school. McCorkle’s refusal to come forward even at this stage of life has accreted a parasitic complexity as moss on a tombstone.  Only now
are we able to scrape away the rot to see the truth for what it is.



Founding Father:  Msg. Louis W. McCorkle is considered the founding father of
St. Thomas Aquinas Preparatory Seminary.  McCorkle also served as a faculty
member throughout the entire history of the college prep school.  An influential
and powerful member of the faculty, he failed to curb the abuse of students or
acknowledge the harm inflicted by those entrusted with the care and education
of children.  Today his career is remembered by the bookends of tragedy known
as the sexual predator culture nurtured by the first rector — Msgr. Charles H.
Patterson (left) — and flanked by Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell (second from
right) and his successor, the Rev. Manus P. Daly (right).
 
McCorkle was present at the inception of St. Thomas.  He was a faculty member 1957–1968 and 1970–2002, teaching music and art (with brief appointments as spiritual director).  In 1969, he was assigned briefly to Sacred Heart in Vandalia:  I was sophomore at
the time when a classmate and I helped him move:  a day of loading and unloading his U-haul trailer.


But the foundation of his career success as a priest is based on the fact that he continues to harbor the secrets he shares with Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell and other predatory priests who shared faculty positions with him during his 43 years as a teacher at St. Thomas.


Msgr. Louis Wellington McCorkle (clockwise, upper left):
1963, 1973, 1966, 1979, 1981, 1982.

It is reasonable to believe that his silence in these matters led
Bishop John R. Gaydos to recommend McCorkle and other faculty members closely allied with O’Connell for promotion.
  O’Connell, in turn, advanced the careers of young seminarians whom he sensed shared his sensibilities.

The Benefits of Silence
St. Thomas alumni who benefited from O’Connell’s influence include: Msgr. Gregory Higley (Class of 1972), vicar general; Msgr. Marion Makarewicz (Class of 1979), STAS rector; the Rev. James Patrick McNally (Class of 1972) STAS dean of students and vocation director; and the Rev. Brian Driscoll (Class of 1986), vocation director; and Msgr. David Donald Cox, who taught science at St. Thomas and
served as the boarding school’s spiritual director for more than

20 years (1984-2002).


Msgr. Louis Wellington McCorkle lives in retirement at Conception
Abbey near Kansas City, Mo.  Msgr. McCorkle, who was a faculty
member at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary for more than 40 years,
celebrated his 90th birthday 28 May 2911 in the company of the
Benedictine monks who live at the monastery.  The secrets that
Msgr. McCorkle continues to conceal about Bishop Anthony J.
O’Connell and other faculty members must be a burden and the
price he is willing to pay to live in security in old age.  But Msgr.
McCorkle should know that the many of the victims of O’Connell
and his confederates have no such comfort and have been forced
into homelessness and lives of desperation as a result of the harm
they suffered as students at the Hannibal boarding school.
 
In 2006, you, Bishop Gaydos, strengthened the reward structure
of this old boy racket, granting Higley, Makerawicz, and Cox the privilege of adding the purple piping of a monsignor to their cassocks when you promoted them in 2006:  an illicit bargain in exchange for their duplicity in the O’Connell scandal.

Msgr. Cox transferred to the diocese from Columbus, Ohio, in the
mid-70’s as a college student with O’Connell’s encouragement and support.  In July 2010, Msgr. Cox was promoted to a high-profile assignment as pastor of Immaculate Conception in Jefferson City:
a step up from St. Patrick’s in Rolla some might say.  Also in 2010,
Msgr. Cox, a long-time O’Connell protégé, was granted a sabbatical
to study at The Institute for Continuing Theological Education, an organization affiliated with the Pontifical North American College
in Rome.


Msgr. Marion Makarewicz is a St. Thomas alumnus, Class of 1979 (clockwise,
top, left): 
Freshman, 1976; Sophomore, 1977; Junior, 1978; Senior 1979.

Makarewicz was class president his Freshman year.  Source:  The Anchor.
 
Msgr. Marion Makarewicz, a St. Thomas alumnus and former rector of the seminary, shares these secrets, too. 

Marion Makarewicz graduated from St. Thomas in the spring of 1979: that autumn O’Connell began molesting “Kent,” a member of the new freshman class.  “Kent” is the son of permanent deacon, who was ordained by Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe.  Two years prior, in 1977, O’Connell targeted Marion’s classmate, Christopher Dixon. Christopher grew up in Hannibal; and like Marion, was ordained became a teacher at his alma mater. In 1995, Christopher told the secret about O’Connell and was punished. Marion, like McCorkle, has been rewarded for his silence.  Although I do not like to quote anonymous sources, it is worthwhile to note a response about this matter posted 8 March 2009 on a previous blog:

“This is an important article!  Glad to hear someone else has come forward.  Thank you for writing this!!! Thank you for this site . . .  Msgr. Marion’ graduated in 1979 and knows WAY more than he is telling . . .   I just wish others would. It would HELP EVERYBODY.  People who are silent about this are as guilty as OC, Manus, and
the rest!”

Msgr. Jacques Wenting
1971
Msgr.  Wenting Spoke Truth to Power
Msgr. Jacques Wenting, who taught French
and Latin at St. Thomas for four decades,
is a member of this rogue’s gallery.  But
unlike his contemporary and colleague,
Wenting did confide in other priests about
the betrayal of his students by O’Connell
and other faculty members.

McCorkle is widely recognized for his distinctive floral paintings.  Late in his
career he branched out into sculpting.
In 1988, when O’Connell was named
bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., McCorkle
produced a bust of the self-admitted pedophile, who was a St. Thomas faculty member for 25-years and rector of the Hannibal boarding school for much of that time.


Msgr. McCorkle is closely associated with O’Connell.  Their shared history at the high school and afterward cannot be understated.  McCorkle vacationed in Florida as O’Connell’s guest when he was promoted a second time as bishop of Palm Beach (ironically, O’Connell succeeded J. Keith Symons, another self-admitted pedophile priest who molested at least five boys).

Msgr. McCorkle committed the image
of Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell
to oil-on-canvas in 1976.
A Cozy Relationship Exposed
The O’Connell-McCorkle
symbiosis is as well documented
as this octogenarian has headed
off to the cloisters of Conception Abbey in retirement (McCorkle sculpted a bust of O’Connell
that was displayed at the
Knoxville chancery during O’Connell’s 10-year assignment
in Tennessee, until victims’ advocates successful lobbied
his successor to remove the
offending image).


Less is known about his relationship with Msgr. Charles H. Patterson, the first rector.  Patterson, known as “Turquoise Tess” for his penchant for Southwestern jewelry, is a silent witness in the clergy sexual abuse crisis.  Like McCorkle, Patterson is an accessory, sheltering pedophile priests.

But as one St. Thomas graduated has surmised:  “The problem with McCorkle is that he’s the biggest fag of them all a total woman which is why he says nothing.”

The Very Rev. Richard Kaiser
St. Thomas Rector
1964-1970
McCorkle and the Underwear Speech
McCorkle, in fact, may be best remembered for supporting the freshman orientation regimen of the Very Rev. Richard Kaiser, who was O’Connell’s immediate predecessor as rector
(1964–1970).  Kaiser, the third rector
of St. Thomas, is remembered today
as the first person to learn about
O’Connell’s predatory nature, when
Stephen Spalding’s mother brought
the matter to his attention.

Each September during freshman
orientation Father Kaiser offered
his notorious “No Underwear”
speech to the incoming students.  The presentation usually occurred their second night at St. Thomas after night prayers in chapel and
just before bedtime. From the chapel sanctuary, Kaiser advised the freshman class to remove the underwear before going to bed:  tight clothing, he said, was not healthy. Underpants do not allow “your manhood to breath.”  Pajamas were sufficient sleeping attire, nurturing your masculine vigor while you slept.

McCorkle supported Kaiser’s “No Underwear” mandate without question.  He also put his own stamp on this indoctrination which
he followed up the evening after night prayers.


Msgr. Louis McCorkle is a subtle but key player in the regime
established by Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell, who was rector of
St. Thomas in 1970-1989.  In 2002, McCorkle posed for this
photograph on the north side of the seminary.

McCorkle offered an intense observation about homosexual traits
and tendencies, underscoring his innate ability to ferret out those
so inclined.  In retrospect, the theatricality of his presentation is comical, considering his artistic bent and effeminate persona.  At that time of life, though, most of us could not grasp the context of his invective. We were just kids fresh out of grammar school already missing our moms and dads. For most of us, the harangue about our underpants and homosexuals after 9 p.m. night prayers was beyond our comprehension.

Kaiser’s Leadership Allowed O’Connell to Molest Students at Will
The effect and intent of the “no underwear” policy is now obvious. O’Connell used the policy to his advantage.  Energized by Kaiser’s leadership, O’Connell was able to target students for special attention with late-night counseling sessions under the guise of spiritual direction.


Msgr. Louis McCorkle made a name for himself briefly in the 1970s
as a painter of floral still life.  But as time progressed his work
slouched toward the derivative and mediocre.  The 1972 oil-on-
canvas of the Vase with Flowering Purple Spider Asters (below,
left) and the 1980 “Portrait of  Craig Luetkemeyer (top, left)
are representative of McCorkle’s repertoire.  Landscapes, such
as the northeastern view of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary (top,
right) and the Field of Iris (below, right) speak for themselves.

Every faculty member knew that O’Connell was alone with students in his room for 2- to 4-hour periods per meeting.  Every faculty member knew that O’Connell invited certain students to his room after lights out for these marathon counseling sessions.  Every faculty member knew that these students did not return to their dormitories often as late as 2:00 a.m. and sometimes even as late as 4:00 a.m.

The sophomore dormitory was on the second floor adjacent to faculty suites. When O’Connell was spiritual director, his rooms were next to the dormitory.  The connecting doorway to his part of the building provided easy access to both freshmen and sophomores.  Likewise,
as dean of students, his suite was a few foot-steps outside the junior/senior dormitory. He conducted bed checks three times
each night, generally, and often whispered to students in the dark before taking them back to his rooms for extended conversations.

Pedophile Mindset and Facilitating Criminal Behavior
O’Connell with the support of men like Kaiser and McCorkle facilitated this mind-set toward the students and nurtured this attitude in alumni who returned in succeeding generations as
St. Thomas administrators and faculty.


The Rev. James Patrick McNally is a St. Thomas alumnus, Class of
1972.  He enrolled in 1969 as a Sophomore. He was ordained in 1980
by Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe.  Photographs by Bishop Anthony J.
O’Connell chronicle his history with the diocese in part (clockwise,
left):  Ordination, 1980; Senior, 1972; Junior, 1971; Anchor Editor,
1972; Sophomore, 1970.  O’Connell also appointed McNally to the
seminary faculty, serving together with another predator, the Rev.
Gary Wayne Pool, and Msgr. David Donald Cox, who protected
both priests. 
(Source: The Anchor)

The Rev. James P. McNally, who graduated from St. Thomas in
1972 with Vicar General Msgr. Higley, gave the “No Underwear” speech during his tenure as dean of students.  McNally, an O’Connell protégé and a disgraced pedophile priest, was allied by his friend Msgr. Cox with McCorkle still on board supporting the St. Thomas regime. McNally and Cox were college students together at the Josephinum, and continued together as theologians at Kenrick. 
Cox has protected McNally and O’Connell. Cox also protected another predatory faculty member: the Rev. Gary Pool, a 1974 St. Thomas graduate who studied for the priesthood with Cox and McNally at the Josephinum and Kenrick.

McCorkle, Kaiser, and succeeding generations of predatory priests at St. Thomas were able to preserve the seminary’s secrets in two ways: 

This detail from one of
Msgr. McCorkle’s
oil paintings typifies his
imitative style:  in this
case Georgia O’Keefe.
Grooming Students for the Priesthood
The most successful effort was their
ability to sensor the students’ mail. 
You have to wonder how many
students wrote to their parents and
told them about their abuse, but
their parents received the information. 
How many students were forced to

suffer silently because they thought
their parents did not care?

The second method of controlling
the secret was realized through Kaiser’s
grooming technique, which followed
the “No Underwear” speech.  A few
days before our first weekend home
visit in October, Kaiser reminded

the students of new status in life.  Kaiser, who was an orator and elocution specialist, told the students in a sermon how to behave toward their parents when they returned for the first time:

“Remember, you are little gods.  We know you are little gods.  You know you are little gods.  But your parents do not know you are little gods.  When you return home to visit, do not let them know what you have become.  They will not understand.  How you behave at home and how you behave here at our beloved St. Thomas are two different things.  You must remember this.  Do not forget who you are, what you are, or where your loyalties lie.”

The Rev. Michael Quinn
organized two fêtes in 2009
to honor McCorkle prior to
his retirement to Conception
Abbey near Kansas City, Mo.
Today, we know the lay of land and
the extent of these loyalties as far
as St. Thomas is concerned.  Msgr.
McCorkle was honored in October
2009 at a reception sponsored by
Holy Family Church in Hannibal. 
The event was organized by the
pastor, the Rev. Michael Quinn. 
Quinn is a St. Thomas graduate
(1958-1964) and among the first
alumni to be ordained.  The priest
gave the monsignor a plaque to honor
the cleric as he retired to Conception Abbey near Kansas City.  Quinn, then, restaged
the event two months later
as if to emphasize McCorkle’s stature.

This ongoing homage to a man who protects O’Connell and other faculty members who preyed upon young boys at St. Thomas is a scandal in and of itself.  But now that McCorkle is retired, he should have the courage and charity to speak out about the sorrow and subterfuge inflicted on so many students, their families, and Catholics alike throughout his career at the high school on Levering Avenue.

Silence and the Art of Betrayal

Msgr. McCorkle betrayed his trust.  He is condemned by his silence even at this stage of his life as Death approaches.  His active support for O’Connell and so many others who have been identified as child molesters (such as the Rev. Manus Daly, O’Connell’s immediate successor) will be his legacy.

Rev. Michael Quinn
St. Thomas Class of 1962
Ordained: 1970
Quinn would better serve the former
St. Thomas students and the memory of
the institution by standing up for the
victims who survived the institution rather than pander to those who managed it.  It
is a shame that Quinn does not choose to honor those students who told the truth about O’Connell (or those brought into
the system to molest the innocent and
the vulnerable).

It is this propensity for wickedness, that
leads us to
paraphrase Hilary Mantel’s summation of the English Reformation
in Wolf Hall (2009 Man Booker Prize),
a historical novel documenting the rapid
rise to power of Thomas Cromwell, as
we wrest justice for ourselves
: 

Silence is never really silence, is it?  It is as loud as treason; it is quibbling as far as quibbles will serve; it is demurs and cavils, suave ambiguities.  It is fear of plain words, or the assertion that plain words pervert themselves; your dictionary against our dictionary.  You can have a silence full of words.  A lute retains, in its bowl, the notes it has played.  The viol, in its strings, holds a concord.  A shriveled petal con hold its scent, a prayer can rattle with curses; an empty house, when the owners have gone out, can still be loud with ghosts.


Further Reading:
Bishop Finn Testifies before Grand Jury in Kansas City, Mo.
Abuse Victims Ask Court to Prosecute the Vatican
Abuse Victims File Complaint against Pope with Criminal Court in the Hague
Vatican Smirks at Victims of Pedophile Priests
U.S. Supreme Court Allows Sex-Abuse Case to Proceed against the Vatican
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua: The Catholic Church's Secret Sex-Crime Files
News Brief:  A History of Church-Related Sex Crimes in the United States
Pedophile Priests: Rupture with Vatican Sets Stage an Irish Reformation
‘Endemic’ Rape and Abuse of Irish Children in Catholic Care, Inquiry Finds
Report: Irish Church and Police Covered Up Child Sex Abuse
WikiLeaks: Vatican Pressured Irish Government to Grant Immunity to Church Officials

  
Next Time:  A Collage of Abuse














Saturday, September 3, 2011

Childproof 18: Manus Daly and Absolute Trust



Page 18


Editorial Update:  14 June 2014


Dear Bishop Gaydos:

  Rev. Manus P. Daly
1982

The Rev. Manus P. Daly occupies a peculiar
space in the clergy abuse scandal timeline
and the harm sexual predators inflicted on children, young people, and vulnerable adult
s.
 
I say this because of my personal relationship
with the man. 


The moment I learned the specifics of the
scandal that engulfed St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary is etched in memory.  The phone
call.  The New York Times pop-up on my
computer monitor with photographs of
Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell and Daly.  The
first full disclosure
of the secrets, subterfuge,
and cover-up of affliction that has affected
so many lives, exposed for all to see. 

Daly was never perceived as a rogue priest or pederast by the students in his care.  He was a rough-and-tumble creature, earthy, playful, direct:  the St. Thomas version of Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts’ gamekeeper of Harry Potter fame.

Daly (dean of students, 1970-1989; rector, 1989-1997) was a
confidante to many and a spiritual director to a few:
a guiding
force to be sure.  He mended fences in broken friendships and
dysfunctional families.  He demanded rigorous academic standards.
He instilled the concept of self-respect.  He taught the value of
inner-strength and personal stamina to waylay difficult times.



O’Connell legitimized Daly’s behavior by photographing the priest’s
compromising behavior with students. A decade later after Daly’s arrival
at St. Thomas as dean of students, O’Connell’s handiwork continued to
be published in the high school seminary yearbook. Daly succeeded
O’Connell as rector in 1989 when the later was named bishop of
Knoxville, Tenn.  Source: The Anchor, 1970-1982.


Daly’s adult critics, on the other hand, considered the man boorish and a brute.  As we have learned, they were appalled by his fraternization and physical interaction with students.  They deplored the way he manhandled young boys, noting that he relished the rough treatment and body contact he orchestrated as public wrestling matches with particular individuals and that extended far beyond of the boundaries of Kabuki rough-housing.

O’Connell sanctioned Daly’s behavior.  O’Connell also photographed Daly in these compromising situations for publication in the St. Thomas yearbook, The Anchor.  Legitimizing Daly’s loutish behavior, O’Connell, as rector, lulled students and parents so that they accepted hooliganism as a mere Irish frolic.

 
Daly’s critics deplored the way he manhandled St. Thomas students.
Again, O’Connell’s St. Thomas yearbook photographs illustrate the public
scuffles that Daly orchestrated.  Source:  The Anchor, 1972, 1982.

 
What is puzzling about the Daly matter is that you, Bishop Gaydos, and Bishop McAuliffe, crafted a safe haven for this man, even after one of his St. Thomas victims reported the abuse as an adult.  The two of you deliberately misled students, parents, and church members by rewarding Daly with a cushy job and perfect hide-away at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Marceline, Mo. 

You and McAuliffe allowed Daly to return to St. Thomas as respected elder and honorable educator, even though you were forced into a settlement and six-figure compensation package.  You broadcast you seal of approval in The Voice, masking the hypocrisy in the student-alumni newsletter, while hoping to quell any curiosity as to Daly’s unexpected career move. 

This tragedy is further compounded by the fact that Daly’s victim is not only a STAS alumnus, but he also was ordained and assigned to the faculty to work with Daly. In addition, you have acknowledged that Daly shared the victim with Anthony J. O’Connell and the Rev. John H. Fischer.

O’Connell documented his 1978
appointment of the Rev. John H. Fischer
as seminary choir director In the
St. Thomas yearbook.  O’Connell
allowed
Fischer direct access to his
victim, who was chapel organist.
Throughout O’Connell’s tenure as
St. Thomas rector, 33 percent or more
of the ordained faculty were known to
church authorities as child predators.
Source: The Anchor, 1978, p. 83.
This aspect of the pedophile priest scandal is well-documented.

We know, for example, that the
Rev. Kevin Clohessy and the Rev. Gary Pool shared a victim at a Jefferson City parish, according to court documents and media reports. We also know that the Rev. Carmine Sita (known in the Jefferson City diocese as the Rev. Gerald Howard) shared
some of his victims with
other priests.


In the Daly case, we have read
your expert’s evaluation. Using
a classic defense strategy, you attribute the crime to the family-of-origin concept. In other words,
you blamed the victim’s mother and father, you blamed the victim’s childhood environment,
you blamed the victim’s youth and innocence. And, then, you ostracized the victim.

A bit of the Daly case is documented in the 1978 St. Thomas yearbook on page 83 of The Anchor. The caption for the photograph notes that Fischer, the third member of this predatory pack, was brought on board by O’Connell to direct the STAS choir and liturgical program. Fischer supervised their shared victim, who was chapel organist.


O’Connell offered a wink and a nod to St. Thomas secret with
snapshots like these in the high school yearbook.  The Rev.
Manus P. Daly (right) helped shape the image of St. Thomas
and the character of generations of students. Respected and
admired, his reputation mirrored that of his friend and
colleague, Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell. We now know that
both men are serial predators, who were protected for more
than two decades by Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe and Bishop
John R. Gaydos. 
With O’Connell’s and Daly’s blessing, the
Rev. John H. Fischer (right) taught Gregorian Chant at
St. Thomas (1978-1981).  Each was aware of the other’s
predation, even sharing the same students.  Source:

The Anchor, 1979, p. 12; 1980, p. 21.
 
 
Remarkably, with Fischer on staff in 1978, ordained faculty
comprised child predators, a ratio of 42 percent. Throughout
O’Connell’s tenure as rector of St. Thomas that level remained
at one-third, or 33 percent, of the ordained faculty. O’Connell,
as a key member of the diocese’s Priest Personnel Board, was
able to hijack moral authority and keep like-minded comrades
close by his side.

Daly and the events that destroyed the seminary in Hannibal, Mo., bear the classic hallmarks of systematic predation in an all-male environment.  Unfortunately the prey happened to be children.


Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe celebrated the Rev. Manus Daly's
35th ordination anniversary at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary
seven years after Daly was removed as rector due to sexually
assaulting students. Source: St. Thomas Voice, Summer, 2000.

 
But the facts cannot be denied.  Daly, O’Connell, and others divided
the school into territories that could not be poached.  As a result, my relationship with Daly remained above board.  Other students were not as fortunate.

Daly and Gregory McClurg
The purpose of this disclosure is related to an event that transpired early in our association.  Daly agreed to be my spiritual director shortly after he arrived at St. Thomas as dean of students.

Our spiritual direction and guidance counseling sessions were routine and professional. The weekends spent at his cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks were carefree, a moment of escape from the doldrums of summers at home.


For nearly 25 years, O’Connell’s photography in the St. Thomas yearbook
promoted Daly’s coarse behavior as a mere Irish frolic.  Source: The Anchor,
1973, 1980, 1981, 1982.

 
We met in his office one evening to discuss matters and issues related to seminary education and teenage angst.  Our sessions also functioned as an escape from the rigors of evening study hall before Compline.  Daly’s his quarters were adjacent to the Junior-Senior dormitory.

One evening as we discussed the implications of being homesick, missing family and friends, and the like, Daly and I were caught
up in an encounter that has puzzled me for many years.

About 20 minutes into our one-on-one Daly’s voice broke. Sobbing, tears flowing, he laid his head on his desk in pure grief.  I did not know how to react or comfort him at the age of 16.  But to witness the total collapse of this so-called man of God was remarkable even unto this day.


O’Connell cast Daly as a rogue teacher at St. Thomas, using his camera to record
the dean of students’ horseplay masquerade.  The publication of these images
did not cease even though O’Connell was expanding the seminary’s sphere of
influence by attracting the attention of Bishop Joseph A. McNicholas of
Springfield, Ill., and Bishop Bernard F. Law of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

Source: The Anchor1979, p. 4 (left); 1976, p. 13 (center); and 1980, p. 56.

 
 
Daly regained his composure after about five minutes, apologizing
for his breach of  social decorum and professional etiquette.  He volunteered that he had received news earlier in the day of an 18-year-old  boy he knew in Jefferson City:  Gregory McClurg.  Daly told me that the boy had been found dead in a car with his girlfriend, Dorleah K. Gosney, Independenc, Mo. 
The pair died of carbon monoxide poisoning, death by mishap, he said. 

Daly confided that he and the boy had been exceptionally close.  With bitter sorrow, he intimated a father-son relationship with the youth. 

I mumbled a few artless words of comfort and sympathy, a moment of youthful naïveté.  Daly slowly regained his composure, embarrassed by  this breach of professionalism.  He apologized, expressing his gratitude.  Our conversation ended.  I returned to my books and homework in study hall, with no further mention of Gregory McClurg, ever again.

As for the boy who died, we should question the extent of his relationship with this priest. Why did Daly react so dramatically in the presence of a student in his care?  Was the boy’s death accidental or chosen?  Why did Daly seem to blame himself for this tragedy? 

Daly and Msgr. Gregory L. Higley
The circumstances of Daly’s meltdown are suspect today given the extent of the pedophile priest scandal that has infested the Roman Catholic Church.

We offer the following letter, written by a St. Thomas youth who is now Msgr. Gregory L. Higley, your vicar general. He describes a situation involving another whom boy Daly entertained one weekend in 1972. 

According to Msgr. Higley’s the Rev. David G. Buescher (STAS faculty, 1972-1977; English, Drama, Religion) joined Daly and this youngster on their weekend outing.  Higley’s description seems odd, based on what we know about Daly and Buescher today.

 
The Rev. Patrick Shortt continued Daly's rough-housing tradition and
O’Connell captured Shortt in other compromising situations. Shortt, for
example, clearly is inebriated (top, right) at the 1974 Priests Day party
(the image was good enough to republished on page 139 of the 1982
yearbook); and the Rev. Manus Daly seems to have taken advantage of
Shortt in a similar situation in 1971 (bottom, left).  Source: The Anchor,
1971, p. 54; 1974, p. 45; 1980, p. 7; and 1980, p. 12.

 
 

The personal histories of both Daly and Buescher prompt us to ask some questions as we look back at the past:  Why is this boy away from home on a school day?  Why did Buescher cancel his spiritual direction session with Higley at the last minute; and travel with Daly and the boy to St. Louis?
 
And why is Higley visiting Buescher in in his private quarters after midnight?  One would expect a student to be in his own bed, asleep, rather than being alone with a faculty member at that time of day?

Upon reflection, this tale illustrates myth-making and hero worship of a sort. He is not the Irishman who taught us how to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps.  He is not the rogue who offered up a a Gaelic curse or two, which some of us still use today.  It would seem that Manus P. Daly is a man misunerstood; someone who does not understand that his name is his virtue.

He is as Duncan assessed the Thane of Cawdor:

There's no art
To find the mind's construction in the face:
He was a gentleman
On whom I built an absolute trust. 

                 —  Duncan
                    
Macbeth
                     
Act I, Scene 4
  
 
Msgr. Higley's Letter

13 February 1972 My Eighteenth Birthday

Dear Wegos:


  Msgr. Gregory L. Higley
1971
I'm awfully sorry that I've not written you for
a long time.  I've been spending a lot of time
on homework and basketball games.  I want
to just thank you for the birthday card you
sent me a month ago.  Yours was the first I received from anyone.  Thanks a lot.

This last weekend has probably been one
of the most dear to me in all four years up here.  Not the only but one of the most.  It started Saturday morning.   You remember [Dusty Anholt] – the guy that came down
to the lake while we were down there
during the summer.  Well anyway, he went
to St. Louis with Fr. Dave [and] Daly Friday
nite to see [Jesus Christ,] Super Star. 

I had made an appointment with Father Dave earlier for Friday nite but he called me up Friday morning and told me he couldn't make that nite because he had plans in St. Louis.  I didn't think much about it. Daly went away that nite also but no one knew where he was going. 

Anyway Saturday morning Tim told me where Father Daly went the nite before and that he brought [Dusty] back to the Seminary to spend the night.  Later we had study hall in place of English and Daly came and got me and said he wanted me to go talk to [Dusty] in the priest lounge and entertain him.  So I went in and gave him a soda and some candy bars and had a lot of fun talking. 


  “Dusty Anholt”
Later Tim and Andy . . . came in and they
talked for a while. Then for lunch Daly took us out to the Pizza Hut.  We had a ball.  [Dusty] came back and played basketball
and pool for
a while with us until 3:00 p.m.  Rev. Daly asked me to go down to Kingdom City with [Dusty] and him to meet his mom.  It was a lot of fun. 

We left at 1:00 p.m. and it turned out that we had to go all the way to Jeff.  We talked a lot
on the way down.  It was a nice trip except that
it was raining a little.  [Dusty] drove part of the way and we got there about 6:00.

[Dusty’s] parents or family wasn’t home so we didn’t stay there very long.  We said goodbye and then went over to the Irish nuns.  We couldn’t get away till 7:00 p.m., so then we headed back to Hannibal.

  Rev. David G. Buescher
posing
à la Georges Querelle.
Source:  The Anchor, 1977
The drive to Mexico was pretty bad and slow because the fog made visibility very poor.  We honestly couldn’t see five feet in front of us till another car came and, thank
God, there wasn’t much traffic.
I drove from Mexico on and made time fly. 

Daly and I had a real good talk
about next year and I enjoyed the drive and the company and the
talk.  Most of the time when I’m
on the rode [sic] that long (four hours), I really get bored and
tired, but that nite I was very
happy going down to Jeff and
coming back.

We got back to Hannibal about 9:00 p.m. and I treated Daly to cup of coffee at Fern’s.  Saturday nite (same nite) when I got back from the trip I went into Buescher’s room till 12:00 [midnight] and had a real good talk.

I really felt good Sunday morning when I woke up.  In the first semester, Daly and I didn’t get along too well together but I hope our relationship is getting better.  Today (Sunday) he gave the Senior Class a steak dinner out at Brans to celebrate our birthday and then when we got back there was a surprise party.  Daly bought us [my twin brother Tim and I] a cake and we had a real good day. 

I sort of feel bad the way I’ve treated
Daly this year and then he goes and does this.  Anyway I guess by now you’re just bored to death do I’ll say just a few more things and cut off.

Our basketball team isn’t too good now.  We bombed out of the Troy Tourney and have two more games and the regionals
to go.  I’m glad it’s all over now.

O’C took three more seniors up to the Josephinum this past weekend so there’re
only ten of us here.

Buescher started practicing for the school play today.  It’s called Hadrian VII and supposed to be real good.  He hasn’t assigned any parts but he asked me to play another woman.  I said no cause I hadn’t signed up for a part this year.  He’s got a bunch of people
in it though.

We had six inches of snow last week, but it’s melting fast.  It already has snowed four times since second semester started.  That’s pretty good so far.

I think I’d better cut off now cause this letter is turning into a book.  Write me back soon, OK?  At least once a week.  I’ll do the same.  Good luck in the school year.

Greg

P.S.  I’ll get your year book to you.  Also I’ll send you one of my pictures.

  Msgr. Gregory L. Higley’s letter, dated 13 February 1972, describing
the Rev. Manus Daly’s relationship with a young boy.


Next Time:  Msgr. Louis Wellington McCorkle