I once believed that God called me to be a Catholic priest.
Perhaps He did, but I do not know if that was just wishful thinking. When I was a boy, my parish was blessed with some genuinely great priests, men of integrity and strength. Father Raymond was the best of them all, an old-school Irish priest who set the prime example of what one should be. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up.
When I reached the age to enter seminary at 18, I went with the full expectation of being surrounded by fellow young men who all had the same goal that I had: to be great priests serving God and His faithful people that make up the Roman Catholic Church.
What I found instead was a nightmare. Yes, there were good guys, but many of the other seminarians were really – and I mean REALLY – messed up. Some were aggresively gay and would “hit on you”, while others were obsessively pious to the point where each one would have cut off his personal member to avoid offending the Virgin Mary. A few were just outright insane.
The men who ran the seminary were no better. One had to be kept away from us seminarians due to a hushed-up incident in which it was said he was “not well” (no mention of his victim). An assistant rector, who had an odd obsession with sexually-suggestive song lyrics, would himself eventually be criminally charged over an “inappropriate relationship” with one of my fellow seminarians, and it would come out that he had also been involved in a “mutually consenting adult relationship” with another! To this day I have no idea who any of my fellow seminarians were involved in this, but it could have been any number of them.
Eventually I would leave the seminary in disgust, only to have my mother cry and say how her “little boy” had let her down by not becoming one of “God’s Holy Priests”. I would go back to another seminary because of this, and things became much, much worse.
Thankfully though, God and my Grandmother (my mother’s mother) intervened. After I fell completely apart and went through an experience of being homeless and addicted, God saw it fit to heal me through some wonderful Anglican Christians. While healing, I met and married my wife. My mother resisted again, but this time grandma put mom in her place, telling her that I had met a wonderful girl who was the best thing that had ever happened to me, and so mom needed to “back off”! Mom would eventually come around and welcome my wife into the family with open and genuine arms.
I will write much more about these experiences here in my blog, as well as how I perceive things in American society, the Catholic Church (of which I am still happily a member, and now a Benedictine Oblate), and the world that surrounds me.
Welcome to my blog.