A memoir of the disillusionment and growth by a lapsed Catholic who learned of the church’s failings.
Moody (Seattle and the Demons of Ambition, 2004, etc.) once saw the Catholic Church as more of a home to him than his actual house. Eager to find a path to righteousness and inspired by the allure of a closer relationship with God, he threw himself into the care of the priests in the 1960s. But as the clergy sex-abuse scandals came to public light in the 1990s, he learned, to his alarm, that at a seminary he attended, 11 priests had abused hundreds of students for more than a quarter-century. The revelations prompted him to re-examine the life he once led and the men he respected and to see in a new and unsettling light that vulnerable time when he and his classmates had scant knowledge of their sexuality and perceived the behavior of the priests around them as beyond reproach. With the benefit of hindsight, Moody describes how secrets of the church remained hidden, even as he and his seminary friends bore witness to acts that later appalled him. As Moody reflects on the seminarians’ seclusion and ignorance of many aspects of life, he sees ways in which the church kept the priests’ misconduct hidden, but he nonetheless realizes that he had a hand in enabling behavior he now deplores. In this memoir, he interweaves reminiscences with snippets from notes he took and letters he sent to his family while in seminary. Together, they describe his growing awareness of horrifying memories with searing candor and a dawning sense of complicity that cut to the core of his feelings.
A brave and eye-opening memoir by a writer who has stood on both sides of the wall between the public and the Catholic Church.