I Guess the Definition of Celibacy Has Broadened…

Normally, I would say your sex life is your personal business and, provided it’s all legal and consensual, who are we to judge?

That rule goes out the window, though, when the spends in question tells everyone else what they can’t do in the bedroom, then turns around and does it himself. (Case in point: Ted Haggard)

That’s what appears to have happened in Springfield, Illinois, where a Catholic priest at St. Aloysius church called 9-1-1 when he got stuck in a pair of handcuffs

“I’m going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency,” Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher who sounds a bit incredulous during the Nov. 28 call.

“You’re stuck in a pair of handcuffs?” the dispatcher asks.

“(I was) playing with them and I need help getting out,” Donovan responds.

Donovan told the dispatcher that he was alone in the rectory. It’s not clear exactly how he ended up in handcuffs or why he feared a medical emergency. His voice sounds garbled or muffled on the tape, and sources say that police discovered some sort of gag on the priest when they arrived.

Bonus points to anyone who can guess his Safe Word.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Peaslepuff

    Safe word? I’m thinking a safe phrase: “May the power of Christ compel you!”

  • Vision_From_Afar


  • marilove

    I … can’t … stop … laughing.

  • Bdole

    “rectory” sounds about right.

  • jdm8

    Yeah, likely story you have there, Father.

  • Tainda


  • dorcheat

    Bdole, that would be “E” – rectory. Gotta love the Catlicks, they are so good for some laughs!

  • DKeane123

    The safe word probably wasn’t “second coming”.

  • http://twitter.com/ylaenna M. Elaine

    A man who preaches against premarital sex and bearing false witness engages in both then avails of the 911 emergency service paid for by tax dollars from which he and his ilk are exempt. What a waste of freaking humanity.

  • RobertoTheChi

    Ahahaha! This is priceless! What a bunch of hypocrites these men in robes are..

  • Cecelia Baines

    I am sitting in the cafe near the airport, surfing the Internet and I find this gem. Now I al giggling like an idiot and I may have just soiled myself. Nice. In public, laughing by myself and sitting in pee…..Oh those whacky Catholics, they never cease to entertain.

    I think Tarantino needs to pen his next movie based in the Vatican….

  • atsirkdeer
  • Cecelia Baines

    Mary was only a virgin if you don’t count anal. The priest is just trying to pay homage to the blessed mother of pucker.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Bonus points to anyone who can guess his Safe Word….. “transubstantiation.” That is the problem with Catholics priest, they tend to pick safe words that are far too long. For instance, Pope Innocent the IV lost his life as a result of choosing for a safe word, “Confíteor Deo omnipoténti, beátæ Maríæ semper Vírgini, beáto Michaéli Archángelo, beáto Ioanni Baptístæ, sanctis Apóstolis Petro et Paulo, ómnibus Sanctis, et vobis, fratres, quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo et ópere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Vírginem, beátum Michaélem Archángelum, beátum Ioánnem Baptístam, sanctos Apóstolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes Sanctos, et vos, fratres, oráre pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum.”

  • sam

    I picture him standing behind a kneeling alter boy, and as he crosses himself with handcuffed hands, he speaks with the ball-gag muffling his voice, “In the name of the father, the son, and into-the-hole-he-goes…”

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    that’s the problem with ball gags. “Mf ff pppfrr ff urrstt mmffppuu” just isn’t as clear.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    “Revenge of the Altar Boi” does have a nice ring to it, as far as porn movies go.

    i hope the rentboi who left him like this got away with a generous helping of gold plated altar pieces and some donation bucket cash. he deserves it.

  • Gus Snarp

    OK, that’s funny and all, but I have to say that I find it troubling that recordings of 911 calls become public. This case is no different from any other, really, a person needed help and called 911 and suddenly the tapes are public. There are no accusations of a crime, no arrest mentioned, but everyone gets to hear the 911 tape? Would it be OK if it were a high school teacher on the tape, and it was in their home? They too might face the loss of their job over such a tape becoming public. I realize the people are different, and the legitimacy of criticizing them for their sexual behavior is different, but that has nothing to do with whether 911 tapes should be released to the public in general. Anyone calling 911 ought to have their privacy protected, so that lives are not lost because someone is afraid of the ramifications of those tapes being made public.

  • baal

    This thought also crossed my mind. Was this a solo bondage trip or did fail to tip or whatnot.

  • CelticWhisper

    Your foot pepper must first what?

  • Carmelita Spats

    I can’t stop laughing! According to recent developments, police arrived on the scene and found hamsters, clogs, Reynold’s Wrap, a bottle of Creme de Menthe and an exhausted iguana in a tiny sombrero…When asked what the hell he was doing, the priest (shirt tucked way way into high-waisted denim shorts and black tube socks in white tennis shoes) claimed to be possessed by Gary Puckett’s voice singing over and over and over inside his head, in eternal loop, “Young boy, get out of my mind/My love for you is way out of line!”…For those of you who don’t read “Boing-Boing”, the Cuffed-Priest-In-Rectory is the hottest trend alongside Brazilian Butt Lifts and Six Pack Tummy Tucks and “Gummy Bear” breast implants (named for the new silicon material that resembles the beloved candy in heft and general squishiness and, one likes to think, overall addictiveness)…Your local diocese rents them out for Valentine’s Day.

  • rob

    Are you kidding? “rectory” even SOUNDS dirty! lol

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    I agree. I mean, yes, it’s amusing, but there’s no evidence this man did anything illegal, and now his 911 tape is splashed all over the Internet for public ridicule? I don’t like what Catholic priests stand for, but it’s disconcerting that anyone would have their privacy violated in this way.

  • Hypnerotomachia

    I see where you’re coming from. My opinion? If he’s part of a group violating others’ privacy, his own might come into question from time to time.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    Be that as it may, I still don’t think it’s right for his 911 tape to be released to the public.

    And from what I can tell, he’s just an ordinary priest from Illinois, not the Pope, and not a highly public figure who would expect to be followed around by reporters or paparazzi. We don’t even know if he agrees with the RCC on all its dogma, let alone preaches it from the pulpit.

    The RCC is a vile organization, without question, but there are liberal priests out there, or at least priests who try to focus on leading their churches instead of bashing gay people or trying to take away abortion rights. If this guy has made a bunch of public statements attacking other people, then I think pointing out his hypocrisy is in order. But if not, I think it’s a tad mean-spirited to go after him for what appears to have been a private, perhaps even solitary, sexual encounter.

  • Stev84

    Doesn’t seem like a ballgag if he was still able to talk on the phone. Maybe a bridle-like gag.

  • C Peterson

    911 tapes are public records. There is no presumption of privacy, and while personal information is occasionally redacted, they are almost always obtainable via FOIF requests. Very few public records are private.

    Police responses are similarly public. If you were got yourself into this same situation, and the police responded (even with no 911 call), the details of the response would be public- many local newspapers print details of every police response.

    You can certainly make a case for such things being private, but the reality is they are not.

  • coyotenose

    While I get your argument, a solution is difficult. As a personal example, my sis’s crazy ex and his crazy new wife have harassed and even physically attacked my family. They’ve made false charges against five members of my family, including the ex’s own teenage son and elderly mother, all in attempts to hurt my sister for imaginary reasons. I obtained transcripts of their 911 calls and discovered that that their stories to 911 don’t even come close to matching their stories under oath. They very obviously changed stories after conferring, and I’m going to use that documentation when I sue them for damages. I further discovered that they’ve been arrested for various things that all add up to causing public confrontations to get revenge; they count on their targets not understanding the system, waiting until they’re sure no charges were filed immediately and the witnesses are dispersed before filing their own charges each time. It’s going to damn them in front of a judge. But I wouldn’t know that if I didn’t have easy access to such information. I think it’s better to have everything be public than to set obstacles in the way that really only hurt people who can’t afford to hire professionals to do their research.

  • not-a-yank

    I say out the freak… In any case, this is a guy who expects his flock to confess to him about all their “sins” so he knows more than enough about other people’s business to warrant a bit of his own being made public.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    What’s the purpose of that? Just so everyone can point and laugh? Maybe this guy is the worst example of a priest on the planet. But maybe he’s not. Either way, it seems wrong to me to out and publicly shame him for something that’s neither illegal nor immoral. If he’d been caught with a kid, or if he’d been making statements to the press about the evils of sex, then I can understand going after him. But right now it doesn’t seem warranted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    This is not going to be very comforting, but . . . the good news is that he’s not being singled out. 911 call recordings are public records.

    That has an upside, though. 911 calls are often important evidence in public; people use the recordings of their 911 calls to prove that they were denied help they needed, for instance.

    But, yeah, if you call 911, give the information you’re asked for plus whatever you think is necessary for LE/EMS/Fire/Rescue personnel to help you. If you volunteer anything embarrassing/hilarious/incriminating, it could become very public if anyone gets interested enough.

  • Pseudonym

    In public, laughing by myself and sitting in pee…

    Sounds like you’re more than qualified to be a priest!

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    Not very comforting! I knew they were public, but I wasn’t aware they were that public. And who gave the tape to the media? I’ve called 911 several times, and none of those calls were ever posted on the Internet. I’m sure no one goes through all the tapes to try to find incriminating ones. It sounds like it was the work of someone who wanted a laugh, maybe someone involved in the response? Which seems like it would be a rather unethical thing for a police officer, paramedic, or dispatcher to do.

  • pagansister

    When the flock is away, the priest will play! I’m sure he is in a religious retreat to be treated for self abuse! Or a lesson on how NOT to lock yourself in a pair of handcuffs. As to the gag? Maybe to muffle the screams of pleasure he was giving himself? What a priceless story!

  • Artor

    Why did Jeebus die on the cross? Because he forgot his safeword!

  • cnuulhu

    Safe word? He didn’t need a safe word–God would release him if things got out of hand, right?

  • rfranz

    Uhhh? The alter boy did it?

  • Gus Snarp

    OK, a late reply to everyone on this. I’m well aware that 911 calls are public record and readily available. I also have little sympathy for a Catholic priest. I argue that as a general case 911 calls should not be publicly available.

    I understand that all sorts of records, arrests, police reports, etc. are public with an original intent to protect the public, and that they can still be useful that way. Some of those, such as arrest records and court proceedings prior to conviction, are far more troublesome than this – they have deeper consequences, but the reasons for making the fully public are much more serious.

    All the reasons I’ve seen or can think of for 911 calls being public could be just as well served by making them available with a subpoena or warrant, but not just free to anyone. That may be legally difficult or complex, I don’t know, but I think we can do better than this.

  • Robin

    Playing with handcuffs makes one a freak?

    Assume the worst: he was indulging in some kinky play alone. Does that make him a freak?

    If anything, I think Mr Straighty Straight Vanilla is the freak…

  • Robin

    Did he try praying before calling 911?

    Doesn’t the Bible tell us that if you pray earnestly that your prayers will be answered? I didn’t listen to the audio, but the transcript sounds like he was asking to be freed pretty earnestly…