"Where to begin…I shall begin in those years that left their calling card in the things we had, which were battered and familiar; in what we believed, which was reassuring and unchanging; and in what we said, how we felt, and how we treated one another. It was such a wonderful time Father, I was just a young boy of 12, feeling things I've never felt. The cliche of 'simpler times' fit my life perfectly up to that point."
"Would you like to make a confession?"
The Priest makes the Sign of the Cross upon my brow. The noose of guilt that has been tight around my throat since I was a young boy now feels as if it will suffocate me. Then I begin.
"Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been 3 months since my last confession, these are my sins."
"Father, I have been too ashamed to admit this sin even to God himself. I've held this dark secret inside me for most of my life and all of my penance up to this point has been a sham. It happened behind Morgan's Soda Fountain over on Maple Avenue. I was with my new friend Eric, he was a wonderful boy, the most beautiful I have ever seen."
A tear rolls down my cheek.
"What happened son?"
"We had just left the Soda Fountain, we were young boys filled with sugar, caffeine and glee. We ran behind the building, he tripped and almost fell over. I ran into him and held him up, our eyes locked and we kissed." Then in a stern voice I heard Father Kerry, he yelled at us and called us sinners. He told us that God was ashamed of us. He demanded that we purify our souls or we would surely be damned for God hates fags.
"I devoted the rest of my life to 'purifying my soul'. Years later, as I became a young man, I entered the priesthood to battle my own inner demons. I thought it would cure my homosexuality but it has not. I cannot change what my heart desires and I have been fighting this battle of conscience within my mind for all of these many years."
The Priest stands before his congregation and prepares to deliver the sermon of his lifetime.
"For 40 years now I have devoted myself to the priesthood. Followers of Christ: I have been living a lie. I did not become a priest because I love God, I did not preach the Word because I wished to serve Christ. I am here before you because of my own personal shame. I have been driven my entire life by my own weakness. My life's work has been repression because I, as a young boy, was repressed. I have inflicted the misunderstandings of my generation upon yours."
"I threaten you with eternal damnation rather than embracing you as brothers and sisters in Christ. I use guilt and shame to instill obedience rather than allowing God's own words to keep you from running astray. I have upheld ancient, outdated beliefs because I am afraid to stand up for change. I have lied to you, I have lied to my friends and my family. I have lied to myself. I have lied to God. I have lied all of my life because I was terrified of being shunned by my friends, family and church. Now I stand before you an old man that hasn't yet lived a day of his life."
"Brothers and sisters, I am a homosexual. I have been all of my life. I thought it was something I should be ashamed of, something to lock away in a vault under a mountain in a faraway land that man has never laid his eyes upon. I felt it necessary to take this course of action because a Priest, much like myself, told me to be ashamed. He told me I was going to hell. To keep myself from an eternity of fiery damnation I tortured my own soul and denied love that could have made me whole. Brothers and sisters, I can do this no more."
"Ego Sum Solvo"
The Priest took off his collar and left it on the pulpit. He walked out and left his congregation forever.
He marched out with his head held high and the look of righteousness in his eyes.
The congregation silently watched him leave, stunned by the events that had just taken place.
He had finally become the outcast he was destined to be.
As the great doors closed behind him, he paused and shed a tear. He looked up and saw the sun as it was when he was a boy.
He felt the love of God for the first time in his life.
Ego Sum Solvo - I Am Free
Originally written in September 2006.