Friday, February 15, 2008

Yuck, I knew and worked with this guy

Magaldi Confirms he is HIV Positive

Fr. Phil Magaldi is back in the news. For two years I was Youth Minister at the same parish. He had some run ins with the law before he came from Rhode Island down to TX, and he spoke of them from time to time. From his mouth, it was all a misunderstanding and a failure on his part to keep proper books, or actually, to keep any record of any parish finances. But nothing was ever said about the whole Claus von Bulow thing. Creepy. Anyway, he also came under fire from a guy back in the NE who was trying to sue him for sexual abuse. He vehemently denied that there was anything to it and that the accuser was just a ne'er-do-well looking for money. In the end, the case was dropped. (Fr. Phil was extremely excited about that outcome, "thrown out!" he would say.) Apparently the ne'er-do-well really was a ne'er-do-well, although recent info released about Fr. Phil seems to indicate that the accuser may have had merit, and of course that might be the reason that the accuser had so many issues. I think the poor guy passed away.
I never heard about all nasty stuff Fr. Phil's been accused of while I was there. I only saw him as an only child who had been the "chosen one" in his family all his life. He never had any one to dress him down in life, to keep him honest, so to speak. His mother adored him. Most people he met adored him as an extremely gregarious priest and a fine homilist. He never seemed to have an internal filter on what he did or said. I don't think he ever allowed for the concept that he might do something wrong or hold an incorrect opinion. He wasn't overbearing in my dealings with him, though, just not cautious. I was asked to leave in September of 2000 and I have a vague recollection of the specifics of him leaving in '99. I seem to recall him passing it off as retiring to take care of his elderly mother. He went downhill pretty fast physically after she passed away. The last few years, I'd see him at Mass, sitting in the back, in plain clothes, mumbling to himself. He was so very obviously out of it. Some folks from the church were shuttling him back and forth, he was someone in need of care.

Honestly, I'm glad I knew him. He was always half of the example of why I wanted to have a big family. I would contrast him with a friend who was the 5th of 12 and it was so obvious who was well-adjusted and who was spoiled. Not that having one kid means they grow up and do nasty things, that's not my point. He just seemed to be the extreme in that direction. I pray that he finds forgiveness for his crimes, and that any victims find some kind of closure and healing.

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