I decided that since I had this urge to find another person to discuss Catholic philosophy and lives of saints with, that my best possible source would emerge from connecting at Sunday mass. I looked up the local church in the small town I live in and found a parish that would be my first entry into a church in over 20 years.
The first thing I did was google the name of the priest, after all, I wanted to know whom I would be dealing with. Bam! Scandal! He had been accused of drugging a female teacher at a parochial school and trying to coerce her into sex! Ohhhhhhhhhh!!!! A thought occured to me that he might be just what a hedonist like me needs, someone who has possibly gotten past his sins and has come through to be a better person. Or not. I would judge his usefulness to me once I’d seen him perform mass. If mass is boring, he has learned nothing. If mass is actually speaking words of wisdom that are useful now, then maybe he’ll be a good starting point for me. I was relieved, in all honesty, that it wasn’t a crime involving a child, even though I was mortified that he drugged some poor woman and tried to rape her. He had once been in a more prominent parish, and was obviously demoted to the small, out of the way community I live in. The church paid off the victim and she hopefully went on to find solace and healing outside of the Catholic church. You might be asking why I still persisted once finding this out, I have to say, there are criminals, sinners, liars, HUMANS all around us. He could’ve done something with that pain and changed into someone better. Or not. I would see how I felt and if I didn’t like him, I would find another church.
I called ahead and got permission to bring my companion dog, and we attended mass on a Saturday evening. It was the feast of St Peter and Paul. Mass was boring. Booooo! And the church was filled with old people who were just going through the motions. I could tell, the priest was dead inside, and the parish was suffering. Worst of all, there was no choir or music of any kind. What desolate spiritual experience it was to be there, I was glad that my dog was with me and that I’d had a couple beers before the service started.
But I would not be stopped. This was just the first try, I would look for a larger, near by parish with more vitality. Surely the Catholic church isn’t dead everywhere!