Twelve years ago today...
...I came home from work, like I always did. Instead of finding my wife and son, I found a note.
Life hasn't been the same since.
Naturally, I believed that the Church could help me. So I enrolled in the "separated and divorced ministry" conducted by the excruciatingly-orthodox Diocese of Arlington. It began with a six-week series of group sessions called "Coping." Many of the facilitators weren't even Catholic, and were certainly in no position to discuss the spiritual life in such times. The holidays came. I contemplated suicide. Through the grace of God, and the intervention of a good and holy priest (as opposed to the bungling of another given to self-righteousness), I passed through my "dark night of the soul." I went on to the next six-week series called "Rebuilding." It appeared to the facilitator of my group that my "anger issues" were not resolved, thus I was not ready for that series. So she violated a major tenet of the program, that of confidentiality, to inform the head facilitator that I had to be removed. And so I was "asked nicely" to leave (but not before being praised for my "courage").
I complained to the alleged "family life office" of the Diocese, which sponsored the program. It was not properly supervised by a clinical professional, I told them, and many of the leaders of this "Catholic ministry" were professed non-Catholics. The pin-headed bureaucrat at the other end of the line, the good little soldier that he was, disassociated his institution from any responsibility for what happened.
I was on my own.
Except for a brief period since then (which is another story for another day), I have been a faithful Mass attendee. I even abstain from meat on Friday most of the year -- not just during Lent, okay? I won't claim to have always been a very good Catholic. By some accounts, hell, I shouldn't even be
one. Sometimes I go to confession once every several months, sometimes once a week. I have passed out over a dozen copies of a particular book, Crazy Time by Abigail Trafford
, to aid the recovery of others who share my situation. In each copy, I write "To (enter name here), because I'm on a mission from God."
So how is the Diocese getting along? Quite well, thank you. New parish churches that look like the neighboring Wal-Mart have been built, and more men are being ordained -- twenty-three in a two-year period, in fact.
Meanwhile, reports have circulated that one of our more devout priests ran off with another man's wife, and took the kids with him
. When it was over, the abandoned husband suffered a heart attack. We got a lot of apologies during the Great Jubilee, but none for that little stunt. Is the story true? I don't know. I didn't read about it in the Washington Post, nor can I verify the story otherwise. But I wouldn't put it past anyone. After all, "orthodoxy" is simply another word for talking a good game, right?
But for several thousand Catholics who will be meeting in Boston this weekend, appearances are not only deceiving, they're a crock. Known to most as the Voice of the Faithful
, all of them are justifiably angry, and most of them will be deceived into believing that it's all about power. They barely know the meaning of the word. Little do they know the power of the Evil One to use a priest whose virtue is weakening, to drag countless souls down with him. (One more good reason to pray for them every day.) The forces of good and evil at work, in the heavens and on the earth, are more than they can comprehend. "Where's our piece of the action?"
they will ask themselves.
Most likely in their own back yard. That's where I found mine. Stay tuned...