SNAP: Stories for Living

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2008 Story #8 – The Spoiled Priest

I should have written this story 50 years ago. The wound of priest abuse would have been treated and the process of personal healing started. But 50 years ago no one listened and there were no advocacy groups. Today reports of sexual abuse by the clergy are daily news items and more victims are coming forward. It wasn't until I joined the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) did I have the courage to tell my story. I published my book Black Cassock, a memoir of a Spoiled Priest this year and it was the most therapeutic event that ever happened to me.

Spoiled Priest is an old Irish term for a man who left the Seminary before ordination depriving his mother the honor of a priest in the family. There are thousands spoiled priests among us. They are our neighbors, teachers, professionals and blue collar workers. All walks of life, single, married, divorced and gay. All had their own reasons to leave. The decisions were not easy. Many are suffering in mental anguish today. Invariably, they are asked during their life times, why?

I left the seminary 47 years ago. The reason I left I kept a secret. Never told anybody, my parents, my siblings, my spouse until recently. In Rome I had to make a major decision not to continue my studies for the priesthood. I was suffering wounds inflicted on me over the years by priests. It is highlighted by the incident I call the Rape of Christmas. It happened so sudden and quick. On sacred ground and sacred time, Christmas Eve. On my way to the Chapel for Mass, the ground covered in white snow the priest in his black cassock jumped me and knocked me to the ground. I fought and struggled. He attacked me over and over. I lay in the snow and the bastard walked away. After fifty years I lay in the snow.

Now I am free but vigilant. I tell my story to people I care about and I am not ashamed. And they ask, "Are you still a Catholic?" Yes, I keep the faith to change the church. My book is selling well and is available on I hope it will help others to tell their stories.

Note: this story is from 2008. View other 2008 stories and 2008 voting results. View current stories.