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I was raised a Catholic. My parents and I went to mass every weekend. To say I was a devout Catholic would be a masterpiece of understatement – I seriously considered entering the priesthood. Of course, this was before it was revealed that half the priesthood were buggering little boys. Back then, the only gossip that went on about our priest was that he tended to tip the bottle now and then. Okay, so he was a raging alcoholic. But it made for a very quick mass.

Father Bob could get you in and out in about 20 minutes. And when you take all the bending, kneeling, sitting and standing that goes into a typical Catholic mass, and squeeze that into a 20 minute time slot, it felt more like an aerobic workout than a mass.


After mass was over, and everyone was toweling themselves off, and driving back to their homes to take a shower, Father Bob would make a beeline for his rectory, and glug, glug, glug. But I don’t think he always drank alone. It was also rumored that he was nailing several wives in the congregation. Especially Alice. She predated the term MILF, but it definitely applied to her. What a body! Damn, now that I’m thinking about it, I really dropped the ball in not following through with my priestly ambition. I could’ve had one hell of a good time!


Surprisingly, my parents were not happy with my choice for a profession. “What’s the matter with you?” my mom asked in disbelief after I gave her the news that I thought would make her the happiest woman on earth. “You can’t make any money as a priest!” Coming from a woman who went to mass almost every day, and said a rosary every night, this was quite a shock. Not only were their concerns of a monetary nature, but I had neglected to consider the family line. You see, I am an only child, so if I had become a priest, that would mean no grandchildren; well, none they could claim, anyways.


But, they needn’t have worried. The one thing that precluded me from following through with it was the realization that sooner or later I would have to get up in front of a congregation, and give a sermon. I had, and still do, a fear of public speaking. Actually, it’s not so much a fear as a white-knuckled, teeth-chattering, sweat glands going into overdrive terror of it. And so ended my chance of getting laid on a regular basis.


But back to Father Bob for a moment. I remember one time when he was going to be putting in extra hours in the confessional, so everyone could get caught up on unburdening themselves to the Lord. This was not something he came up with on his own; it was dictated by the diocese. About halfway through one of the sessions, he came out all pissed off, and addressed all of us who were still waiting to go in. “I’m getting sick and tired of hearing the same old boring sins you all are confessing! What’s wrong with you people?!” Gee father, getting stinking drunk and plowing old Alice isn’t enough for you? You need us to come up with even more juicy stuff so you can get your jollies? Hell, I couldn’t even fantasize anything that would come close to comparing with his reality. But, I guess he was just a little cranky, what with being shut up with all of us boring yokels when there were bottles to be emptied and women to be filled.


When I lost my faith, it didn’t happen through a flash of insight; it was more of a gradual awakening. However, I do remember when the seed was planted: I was sitting in a college biology class one day, and the professor started joking about Creationism, wondering how any logical, sensible person could still believe in it. I had never heard anyone talk like that before, and it scared the hell out of me. I remember running back to Father Bob the next time I was home, desperately seeking counsel on this. “The devil is just trying to tempt you, Bubba,” he reassured me. “Your faith is strong, and will protect you. Now, run along, son. I’m meeting someone in a few minutes.” Well, he was wrong. Not about the "meeting." I bumped into Alice on the way out. Damn, what a body! But he was wrong about my faith being strong enough. Because once I started questioning my faith, and examining all the evidence against it, there was no turning back. The veil was lifted, my eyes were opened, and I never would see things the same way again.


When I finally worked up the courage to inform my parents about my decision to stop going to church and believing in god, it broke my mom’s heart. I really hated doing that, but just couldn’t live a lie.


“It really pains me to know that when you die, you are going straight to hell!” my mom sobbed after she realized I couldn’t be reasoned with, and was not going to change my mind. I hope you’re right, mom. I really do. Because that would mean that you and dad still exist and are in heaven, right where you should be.


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Comment by MacSpruce on November 29, 2010 at 11:40am
Catholicism and its arcane rituals are a complete mystery to me. But I just now flashed on the Woody Allen film (can't remember which one) where he converted, and one of the gags was him coming home from the supermarket all stocked up with Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip. That kind of totemism taken to such silly extremes sort of sums it up for me. (No offense intended to the true believers out there.)
The confessional is another such thing that I know only from the movies - and jokes. Speaking of confession, I confess to having left a terribly earnest sounding comment on your previous post a few minutes ago, so to counterbalance it, I offer the following: (Don't stop me if you've heard this one.)

A 75-year-old man goes into a Catholic church and enters the confession booth. "Bless me Father, for I have sinned."
"And what was the nature of your sin?" asks the priest.
"I had wild, hedonistic sex for seven hours last night with three 18-year old girls. Oral, anal, vaginal, dildos, handcuffs, girl on girl -- you name it, we did it."
The priest, somewhat astonished and - if the truth be known - distracted to hear such a forthright and graphic description, is momentarily at a loss for words. "Um, er, when was your last confession?" he asks as he struggles to regain his composure.
"Never," responds the old man.
"You've never been to confession?"
"Of course not; I'm Jewish."
The priest, by now thoroughly confused, says, "But then why are you here telling me this?"
"Are you kidding me, Father? I'm telling everybody!"
Comment by chuckkling on November 28, 2010 at 9:47pm
That's why Pope's live so long, all the exercise at mass and the unleavened bread. I was a good Catholic boy. I did the catechism school, first communions, etc. Then I became a C.E.O. (Christmas & Easter Only) Now I'm more spiritual and my Church is in my mind.

P.S. - Your last paragraph will get you in Heaven.
Comment by Ian on November 28, 2010 at 8:28pm
As a fellow recovering early-trained Catholic I can relate to this. Luckily I paid attention to Jacque Cousteau and "In Search Of" at any early age so reason took hold quickly.

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