Thursday, November 07, 2013

A saintly guy...

The famous photo I remember.

Tom Dooley

In grade school the nuns always praised him, the self-sacrificing Dr. Thomas Dooley.  "He went to daily Mass."  In fact there was talk that Dooley could be a saint.  He died at in 1961 at the age of 34 and investigations into the possibilities of sainthood commenced some time later.  It was the investigation into his personal life which revealed his association with the CIA - not as a spy, but as a sort of benevolent informant.  I'm not sure, but these investigations may also have revealed rumors that Dooley participated in homosexual activities.  Evidently the cause was dropped, although I wonder if there was any type of positio gathered and documented?

Dooley died a faithful and devout Catholic.  He had a missionary spirit and is regarded a fine humanitarian, having received many honors before and after death.  A very brief biography can be found here

I post about him since gay people seem to want a saint who was gay.  Dooley possibly experienced same sex attraction, but obviously managed to integrate it into his life.  If homosexual activity is verifiable, I would see this as a sign of moral struggle, that he probably mastered with grace and the sacraments.  Not knowing the facts, it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider that perhaps the CIA invented the homosexual activity as an option to discredit Dooley, should circumstances have called for some sort of disavowal.  Nevertheless, Dooley generously sacrificed his life in service to others - a sign of heroic virtue, while foundations he either began or inspired, continue his work today.

I would like to look more closely at his life and reputation for sanctity.  If anyone knows what happened with the initial investigation for canonization, let me know.  Oddly enough, I met the priest responsible for the cause several times in the 1980's and '90's, never knowing about his work on the Dooley cause.  His name was Rev. Maynard Kegler.  I just found out Fr. Kegler died a year ago, on November 3, 2012.   Talk about the communion of saints, huh?

Dr. Dooley appeared on What's My Line shortly before his death,


  1. Well, with those dreamy eyes and cleft chin he certainly looks the part of a saint--at least at a casting call anyway. God bless Tom Dooley.

  2. Interesting, I had never heard of this guy before but he helped form the Peace Corps???

    Anyway, he has a couple bios out there, one you can get on Amazon but its out of stock. That one says that yes, he was indeed gay and no, he did not live a chaste life, (it was written in the late 80s I think so its not part of the recent gay movement) but a quite active one, reportedly saying that the Church was "just wrong," on that teaching. Supposedly the CIA blackmailed him into helping them "promote," American' involvement in Southeast Asia.

    Couple of things to take from this (if indeed it is true, Randy Shiltz (sp?) said he was gay but lived chastely) Shame that he had to live his life in secret and not only hide the fact but instead of living a life, took to the life of anonymous sex (not too often back then could ANYONE be out in a stable relationship, much less the poster boy for American Catholics.) That the Church's weird thing with sex has to neuter anyone before they can consider his good deeds, (even if he was a flaming homo bouncing from bed to bed he helped a lot of people.) and that this is still an issue for some people in the Church, like time hasn't moved from the late 50's early 60's.

    All in all he sounds like a complicated human trying to reconcile all the areas of his life. I hope he has found his peace for all the good he has done...(and no, I could care less about a gay saint..though odds are there are more then a few of em!)

  3. Any interested in Dr. Dooley there is video on "You Tube," which has him as guest on believe it or not,"What's My Line?" My first thought, I would think it was great to have a saint who actually mouthed the words, "Thank you, Miss Francis!"

    He was a cute, slight guy, and yes, obviously gay (you should see the sarcastically bitchy looks he gives the celebs when they asked stupid questions.) He had a great smile and an Irish twinkle in his eyes and he looked like he would be a great person to have a few beers and laughs with, which whatever he was or was not doing, I think makes him my kind of saint (or, and all that help he did for people!)

    Sad part of that video the announcer says that he is New York as he has skin cancer on his chest, a foreshadowing of his death too soon. Dooley typically makes a joke out of it and he gets money to support his work.

    Oh, and I think Arlene Francis was HOT for him but she was barking up the wrong tree!

  4. Mack you crack me up - glad you like him.

    BTW - Neil Patrick Harris is on PBS tonight with Company. (I know, you hate him.)

  5. Terry,

    I don't HATE anyone...though I am throughly annoyed by NPH..who I am surprised hasn't proposed a musical stage version of Tom Dooley's life, (it looks like Dooley had an ironic sense of humor, when he was on WML, he looked like "What the HELL am I doing here..but I love it!" ) with him in the starting role..his partner as the love sick CIA agent who longs to be with him, and his kids as Vietnamese orphans. : )


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