My letter to a priest from whom I’d requested a reference for the draft board, in which I explain that I must refuse, as Tolstoy put it, “to be ready on another’s command (for this is what a soldier’s duty actually consists of) to kill all those one is ordered to kill.”
I notify the draft board of my conscientious objection to war; the board refuses to recognize it. I quit school, leave home, and wait for the government’s ax to fall.
Two brief, closely-related sections. As I am slowly separating myself from Catholic piety, the necessity for a moral decision about war leads me ultimately to reject the Church and embrace pacifism.
Further vocational misadventures, including being ordered to watch an old horror film rather than study for a crucial midterm.
“The house of cards that is the Catholic moral system was my childhood home”: a critical look, with autobiographical anecdotes, at the unsound and abusive nature of basic Catholic morality.
“Moral theology admits that the habit of sin, considered in itself, may be and often is completely sinless.” Seriously.
Installment #2, in which, after being saved unawares from sexual abuse, I begin high school in a seminary far from home.
A sketch of my evolution, despite encounters with predatory priests and a vindictive draft board, from youthful candidate for the Catholic priesthood to adult a-theistic Quaker who still asserts that “God is love.”
Quakers are a peculiar and priestly people in that, gathered into the body of Christ, we are members of the mythic cosmic king crowned with thorns, the royal high priest who sacrifices himself for the Kingdom of God. Our identity is constituted — founded and enacted — by our sharing in the self-sacrificing love of which Jesus the Christ is the archetypical icon.
Mother Teresa: mystical saint (Brian Kolodiejchuk), opportunistic fraud (Christopher Hitchens), neither, both?