He lives in an Episcopal retirement home now, but Dr. Albert T. Mollegen's mind can still fix on church questions like a steel trap. The other day the old priest, who taught at VTS for nearly 40 years and authored a wide stream of books and articles, sat in a solarium on the ninth floor of Goodwin House in Alexandria and shared his views on women's ordination and homosexuality among clergy.
As he talked, Mississippi-reared Mollegan raked a bony hand trhough ash white hair and clicked his teeth. At one point he interrupted himself to recount - with a cackle - how Rep. Mendel Rivers of South Carolina once labeled him a Communist for trying to desegregate several Alexandria parochial schools.
"When did I start supporting women's ordination? Gee, I don't know . . . in the '20s, maybe. Now you and I both know the Hebrew and Greco-Roman cultures were patriarchies. But there is such a thing as progress in history. Everything is historically conditioned. I think it's irrelevant what some people are saying, that Christ didn't choose women to be apostles. He didn't choose blacks or gentiles either, did he? I think people just don't like change."
On homosexuality: "I have recommended known homozexuals to bishops for ordination on the basis of their vocation. And we'd deal with their lapses in the sacrament of penance. I have known many great priests who were homosexuals - I knew because of the confessional. And their lapses were usually only occasional. They'd go to a big city and with the anonymity it afforded . . . Some that I have known were bishops."