Father Feeney

By DAVE O'BRIAN  |  October 9, 2009

All cows, no bulls on the commune, the photographer observed.  Do you bring a bull in now and then?  “No,” he responded.  “It’s all done by artificial insemination.”  I didn’t check the church’s position on that, but when the rules say vows of celibacy, well, apparently even the cows are included.

Rare Soul
It’s hard to know really what to make of the reconciliation moves by Cardinal Medeiros and, through his urgings, Pope Paul.  Church officials are silent on the subject but, obviously, the original doctrinal dispute has not been resolved.  One thing that does seem to have changed is the strident demagoguery of Father Feeney—especially since we non-Catholic newsmen were allowed on the commune, for whatever reason, for the first time.  The old Father Feeney might have seen that as grounds to send everyone on the farm on the next handcart to hell.

But it’s difficult, without seeing or talking to the man, to know what his mood may be these days.  And as a reporter wrote as far back as 1934, before any of the controversies but with an uncanny bit of insight into the man: “Father Leonard Feeney, Boston Jesuit Priest, whose latest book, Fish on Friday, has just been published, is one of those rare souls to whom odd things are always happening.”

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