The Pope

The thing about virgins

The Thing about Virgins 

Because it tends to be a ‘man’s world,’ in most male dominated chauvinistic societies, men have no desire to be virgins themselves, but always seem to want one for a wife. Then they like to boast about it if they have had sex with a woman for her first time.

  • Yep. Popped her cherry all right. She bled like a stuck pig, too.
  • Cool man. You’re lucky. Never had one myself.
  • Yep. Seems like they just don’t make too many of ‘em anymore.
  • You got that one right, my man. It’s a rare vintage indeed.

Virgin worship is nothing new, probably represents little more than a symbolic veneration of something not yet corrupted and is an atavistic theme permeating many primitive or aboriginal societies. Having sex with a virgin also ensures no chance of getting an STD, unless perhaps getting oral herpes from a French kiss.

Veneration of virgins was particularly true in ancient Rome, when six virgins always lived in the temple of the goddess Vesta—hence the derivation of the term ‘Vestal Virgin.’ This goddess represented the sanctity of the hearth as being central to the preservation of home and family. In being one of the oldest of the Roman goddesses (represented by icons rescued from the fires of Troy) she ensured the safety of Rome, but only if these icons were preserved, venerated and carefully tended. Vestal virgins were responsible for keeping the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta as well as for oversight of the sacred icons. They also had the responsibility of baking special breads, mola salsa, or ‘sacred cakes’ made from the first harvest of corn, ultimately then being considered as a food offering for the gods.

Women between the ages of six to ten selected for this duty would commit to a thirty-year tour as temple servants. Any lapse in the vows to keep the sacred fire burning or worse, to maintain their virginity would result in punishments as severe as being buried alive. Their annual ritual of sweeping and cleaning the temple is the derivation of our current cultural idea of “spring cleaning.” How it was determined if they had been deflowered has never been explained, but if I had to pick a different career in medicine, I would be the first in line to sign up for consideration as the Secretary Inspector of Vestal Virgins.

However, Roman social hierarchy was so chauvinistic in structure that the seating chart at the Coliseum, running top to bottom, meaning worst to best, went as follows:

7. Mothers, wives, widows and whores

6. Slaves

5. Husbands

4. Plebeians

3. Wealthy aristocrats

2. Senators

  1. The Emperor, his family and closest friends

Then, in a tent located next to the Emperor, at field level so to speak, resided the Vestal Virgins. (Row 1-A)

Married women, widows, non-virgins and prostitutes were so heavily discounted that a virgin was considered three times as valuable as a woman who had already lost her virginity—or even her husband. Not only was the value of a virgin considerably higher than that of an “already made woman,” but the concept of virgins mating or having mated with various gods was also a theme that consistently runs through many ancient societies.

In Babylon the Chaldean priests selected one virgin female from the entire population to be the human consort of the god, Bel.

In Egypt a virgin slept in the temple of Ammon as his consort.

Egyptian monarchs were also considered to be the offspring of Ammon, such that in a parallel leap of faith, and with a peculiar costumed sex game, the reigning king would assume the personage of Ammon before having intercourse with the queen.

In ancient Greece, Dionysus was annually married to the queen in a symbolic ceremony.

In Peru there was a village where the local Inca Indians married off a virgin, usually about fourteen years old, to a carved image of a god, and after three days of celebration sacrificed her, then subsequently deified her.

North American Algonquians and Hurons married virgins of about six or seven years old to their fishing nets, which were possessed of a “man-spirit,” in order to ensure a plentiful harvest of fish for the ensuing year. This complements the idea that a perfect god could indeed have sex with a mere mortal, but only if that mortal happened to be sexually pure.

There are also numerous anecdotal tales of the offspring of these unions cast in roles of individuals having supernatural or superhuman powers. The most commonly known example of this is the famous Hercules of Greek mythology, a man of supernatural strength who was the issue of a union between the god Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmena. He underwent eventual apotheosis himself but only after the penance of the twelve labors being imposed as a penance for having killed his wife and their two sons.

On a more mundane level, when a Viking king died it would be customary to select a virgin, but not the queen, to be burned along with him as he was sent out to sea on his floating pyre. However, this was only after hoisting her up and trucking her around the compound so that she could “see into heaven.” After this ritual she was gang raped by six Viking warriors allowing them in turn, to see nothing but the aura of sexual bliss. This is certainly one way to rationalize the sanctity of a gangbang, but why the women selected for this ordeal felt honored by it or why the king himself did not have the honor of having her first in the afterlife defies rationalization.

  • Yes. I had sex once with six men all at the same time. Then I died and went to heaven.
  • It was that good, was it?

After the fall of the Roman Empire along with the rise of Christianity, early apostles, followed later by some of the first popes, had to employ clever means to convert the masses of people who had been accustomed to polytheism to the concept of monotheism—while at the same time having to sell them the concept of Jesus being the son of god. It was infinitely easier to do this if the story coincided with the legendary folklore of the Pantheon.

The early Christian church replaced early pagan holidays such as Lupercalia, dedicated to Vesta herself, or Saturnalia a holiday dedicated to Bacchus, with the likes of St. Valentine’s Day and Christmas respectively. The church even borrowed iconography from Egypt such as halos, symbolic of the sun god Rah, and stuck them on the heads of holy figures or angels, a ploy that made the conversion and “buying in” of the general pagan populations that much easier. The Catholics carried forward the concept of Virgin worship and a holy deified offspring endowed with mystical supernatural powers with their contrived invention of Jesus. They cast him as not only being the son of God himself, but also as a person conceived by a supernatural Holy Spirit, usually symbolized by a pure white bird or dove, that miraculously entered Mary and impregnated her. This sounds remarkably like certain pagan legends of mystical conceptions occurring when women are entered by spiritual holy waters.

Then, of course, being the good guy that he was, Joseph stood in to be the stepfather, so that this poor innocent knocked up woman would not be a social pariah— or possibly even stoned to death for her silly indiscretion. Joseph of course taught Jesus to be a skilled carpenter and then faded into historical oblivion. That is the fable. More likely than not, Joseph in fact was the real father. If not, and we could retrieve Jesus’ DNA, perhaps we would be able then to clone God.

Jesus went on to teach morals and ethics, performed such miracles as raising the dead and walking on water, was eventually crucified, resurrected, ascended into heaven, and then called for his mother who was later also assumed into a large cloud. In becoming a celestial floater herself, she was lifted up to be with God and his son; who also happened to be her son, too. Strange though, is it not, that we never hear about God cavorting with Mary after she arrived in heaven. One would think that would be a given.

The story of Jesus however sounds eerily like that of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, who was the son of the god Apollo and the mortal Trikkian princess, Coronis. But shortly after consorting with Apollo, Coronis fell in love with Ichys. Then after a crow informed Apollo about the affair, Apollo sent his sister Artemis to kill her because he thought the baby wasn’t his after all. Her body was burned, which stained the previously pure white feathers of the crow permanently black, while a remorseful Apollo having had second thoughts rescued the baby by performing the first caesarian section. He then handed the boy over to the centaur Chiron.

Chiron, who taught Aesculapius the art of medicine, then raised him to became so skilled that he was able to bring the dead back to life. But because this was a crime against the natural order of things, Zeus destroyed Aesculapius with a thunderbolt, completing his punishment and subsequent resurrection by setting him in the heavens as the constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder. His rod, entwined by a single snake, and being the original symbol of healing is often mistakenly portrayed as Hermes double snaked caduceus. After his mother’s death, Coronis was also deified and set in the heavens as the constellation Corvus, the crow.

Virgin worship was a theme central to pagan faith, while parthenogenic birth by mortal and virginal women who were impregnated by gods is a theme common to tales reaching far back into human antiquity. Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome was a Vestal Virgin. Her uncle had killed her father, the King of Alba Longa, then usurped his throne. Committing her to chastity was a foil to get her past mesopause, and therefore little likelihood of producing a nephew competitor to the throne he stole. Rhea had a good excuse for getting knocked up, and subsequently avoiding a death sentence. She said the god Mars had raped her in her sleep…and who could dispute or disprove that convenient alibi in 753 BC? There are also numerous ensuing tales of mortal death and resurrection that were simply designed to confirm the lineage of the divinity.

In order to facilitate a pagan world to accept or embrace the words of Jesus, it is likely that the Apostles— or the men who came soon after them—used this legacy of pagan imagery and iconography as a metaphorical vehicle to get people’s attention and to guarantee credibility. It was a subtle method used to rationalize and incorporate older beliefs into newer ones. The concept of Mary being a virgin came centuries later as part of a contrived dogma that the Catholic Church used to force its women into subjugated roles. For example, much like the women of Rome, no ordinary woman who ever had children, or who ever had sexual intercourse for that matter, could ever be held to this unblemished sexual standard. Then as an equally tragic spin-off perverted logic, the church invented the concept of the virgin servile nun, who they dressed up in black and white Taliban burkas, then sequestered them or made them subservient to priests.

As the reign of Roman Empire in Palestine was coming to an end, the corruption, the brutality and the chaos left in its wake sowed the seeds of hope for change and a deliverance from this dark evil culture. The Jews expected a powerful messianic leader with military skills, hoping for a person who would deliver a revolution. They rejected Jesus only because in practical terms, the last thing they needed at that time in their history was a talking head.

Some embraced him for the content of his message. However, others decided he was the messenger better off being shot; especially when he began to mess with moneylenders and Jewish sycophants who had been given positions of political authority by the Romans. Or, perhaps the Romans themselves feared a fomented revolution by the rabble that was listening to Jesus preach of a “new social order” and took it as a serious threat. A new Emperor; surrounded by 12 Apostolic men who became the Governors of the 12 Tribes of Israel; dictating a new religious policy and displacement of Roman rule.

Jesus never claimed divinity. Other people claimed it after he was dead. He also never said that he was a king or even a general. He only claimed to be a messenger delivering God the Father’s reiterations to: love your brother as you love yourself, be charitable, eschew hate, greed, and revenge, and then perhaps give the Ten Commandments a good periodic review about personal compliance. Being misinterpreted as the Son of Man perhaps it would be better to think of Jesus instead as the Sun of Men; a person delivering a bright new message of hope, peace, brotherly love and personal enlightenment at a time of greed, brutality, corruption and oppression of civil liberties. Jesus was probably a decent ordinary mortal man with a vision; perhaps a little more and perhaps a little less…then also not the only man to ever be killed for delivering a message.

Ironically, after he died, Jesus was deified, raised to a higher level and placed on an ethereal throne. Then the 12 Apostles were subsumed into one living mortal, The Pope, who being the only person with direct access to God, is a man surrounded by scores of sycophant Bishops, and like any Ayatollah, then dictates his own interpretation of Christ to billions of mindless lickspittle sheep.

What really defies logic is why Pontius Pilot killed a man who could raise the dead. If Jesus had that power he should have been sent along with the Roman legions as they went off to war. With the quintessential faith healer in tow, Rome might still rule the world.  Alternatively then, why did God the Father allow his only child to be sadistically tortured and nailed to a cross? Most civilized societies and religions frown upon child abuse.



Grow strong, dear boy; healer of the world. Often men shall owe you health and life, and yours shall be the right to win again departed souls, and though you dare this once in heaven’s despite, Zeus’ bolt will thwart that gift a second time. You, now divine, shall be a lifeless corpse, and from a corpse become divine again, and twice you shall renew your destiny.

(Chiron’s daughter Ocyroe and her prophesy to Aesculapius)


1. A Study in Magic and Religion/ Chapter 12. The Marriage of the Gods

Sir James Fraser Macmillan 1922/1963 Touchstone 1996

2. Vesta from Temple of Religio Romana and media shift PBS

3. Marriage of the Gods from The Golden Bough

4. Viking Funerals from The Last Apocolypse by James Reston

5.Asclepius: Wikipedia Theoi Greek Mythology (Quotation)

Vesta Image


Second Essay on overpopulation: A Woman’s Right to Choose

Abortion and Pro-Choice

In the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe versus Wade, a prior 1850s Texas law was negated when the court decided that the plaintiff’s right to privacy in her petition to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, had been violated under the Fourteenth Amendment. Key elements of this decision that are often forgotten include the fact that this right is not absolute and must be balanced against both the health of the pregnant woman as well as the developmental stage of the fetus.

The ruling also does define the right to life of a fetus once it reaches a point of viability such that it can survive on its own outside the uterus. This is a medically defined physiologic and biologic point usually occurring at about 24 weeks. In addition, it preserves a State’s right to proscribe the late term abortion of a viable fetus unless there is compelling evidence that in not doing so, such as the mother’s health or life being at serious risk.

In the United States today, eighty percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal. In fact, half of the annual 1.5 million abortions are performed within the first eight weeks of pregnancy while 90% are performed within the first twelve weeks. In general, the number of abortions occurring after this point numbers less than one percent. These statistics reflect a conscious choice to either have the child or not. Nature itself takes a hand in naturally aborting up to as many as sixty percent of conceptions.

Nature also takes a hand in the fact that three percent of pregnancies can result in a severe fetal abnormality. Fortunately, amniocentesis can detect many of these potential problems, which allows time for parental counseling. Unfortunately, however, the science of amniocentesis sometimes requires up to twenty weeks of fetal development to allow detection of one of several hundred potentially severe fetal abnormalities that may prompt a woman or family to seek termination of the pregnancy.

Abortion is an emotionally charged subject. It is a topic rife with opinion and value judgments. The problem is that the controversy surrounding the subject is for the most part fomented and kept in the limelight not by those people who have the abortions, but by those people who believe that no one should be able to have one.

Whatever their motivation, people who advocate for the fetus uniformly do so because they sincerely believe they are speaking out against murder, as well as a philosophy that life starts at conception. This is a personal ethical and moral value judgment. It is also rhetorical.

Unfortunately, the opinion that all pregnancies, from time of conception, should go to term is one that completely negates the wishes of the mother who has to bear the burden of birth, or of the couple who has to bear the burden of child rearing. It is an opinion that also condemns an inseminated rape victim to live with lifetime evidence and a living memory of the crime, or a woman advised of a serious fetal abnormality to live with the guilt and the burden of being obligated to take care of a freak of nature.

This is all rolled up into a medieval religious concept that life is fated or predestined; meaning that all lots in life however they might be cast must become a personal cross to bear. It is a conservative religious dogma that discounts the ability of modern science to potentially militate against disaster.

When I was a second year medical student at Tufts, as part of our genetics class, we were taken to a relatively secret facility that housed and kept alive some of these genetic mishaps. These poor souls included children with no brains, (such as Trisomy13), Kleeblattschadel syndrome skulls, absent limbs, missing parts, serious inborn errors of metabolism, or grotesquely malformed body parts; all of whom had become wards of the state and who uniformly had no hope for any quality of life whatsoever.

Reading about them was one thing. Seeing them was entirely something else. Most of them only existed as bed ridden non-cognizant, non-self sufficient breathing blobs of flesh. They could barely be categorized as human and made a Downs Syndrome victim seem to be something relatively good by comparison. It was horrible.

Forgetting the enormous cost to society to keep these beings alive, I could not even begin to imagine the pain, the guilt, the loss of self-esteem and the fear a woman has when she bears one of these monsters; especially when genetic counseling could have successfully advised against it. Another sad fact is that some of these women who go on to delivery actually believe then there is something innately wrong with themselves, which leads them to harbor great reservations about attempting another pregnancy.

The Right to Life movement is deeply rooted in arch political conservatism, New Right Christianity and in Old World Catholicism.

The Catholics have their own agenda. Cleverly disguised behind the ridiculous tenet that a woman’s duty is to help create an army for Jesus, although not being actually necessary since the last day of the Crusades, the real reason is relatively transparent: The more Catholics, the more potential financial exploitation.

I could never understand why, especially in third world Latin American or in other hopelessly impoverished Catholic countries, the Church insists on and the devout laity subscribes to, unlimited procreation. Meanwhile, as these poor people struggle to feed themselves, the celibate Pope flies around in a private jet drinking fine 10-point wine and eating filet mignon. After all, everyone has his own cross to bear and also knows it is very hard work indeed to be in charge of supervising a large family of global misery, while never having had to raise a child yourself.

Far right political conservative philosophy, which often goes hand in hand with Bible Belt Christianity, is harder to explain. Their proscriptions against abortion seem to be rooted in perverse interpretations of the Bible, yet not at all in the teachings of Jesus, who probably did not even know what an abortion was. Obviously for him, there was no such thing.

At an even more absurd extreme we are even beginning to see cases of pharmacists and rape counselors refusing to give women the “morning after pill” because of their personal religious beliefs. These people are crossing a dangerous line that pits supposedly non-judgmental professionalism, tainted by personal opinions, against personal rights that should not even enter the public domain. What’s the next step? A pharmacist who believes that natural selection should intervene in cases of pneumonia, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension then refuses to fill prescriptions for these maladies.

There are even other more practical reasons not to restrict human abortion. The world is already overpopulated while its population continues to grow at a geometric rate.

In 1 AD there were 300 million people on the planet. In 1000 AD there were 310 million people. There are now, in 2013 AD, 7.125 billion people living on this planet, with a majority of those people living in filth, in squalor, in abject poverty, or only in marginally supportive environments. In retrospect some rational form of parental planning, including birth control as well as abortion, could have vastly improved the lot in life for some of these poor people, as well as improving the quality that derives from limiting family sizes.

That plays into another third world human foible: that a man’s virility is directly related to how many children he sires. This type of cultural thinking is Neanderthal. There are also a significant number of unwanted children of neglect and abuse walking the streets of modern America, who although genetically intact will sometimes behave as though they too were subhuman.

The toll they take on the rest of society because of crime, theft, disruption of schools, drug dealing and gang intimidation is an incalculable, unfortunate consequence that is not necessarily their own fault. The blame lies with our society as well as our culture and in a country as wealthy as the United States there is no excuse for the ensuing vicious cycle that follows when in time it becomes these lost souls turn to breed. Also as a direct result of a global population explosion, planetary resources and animal habitats are shrinking, species are disappearing at a rate of 50,000 per year, and economic wars are perpetrated while human suffering is pandemic.

Loss of plant ecology in the shrinking deforested Amazon basin deprives the world of many as yet undiscovered possible plant related disease cures, as well as having unforeseen effects on global climatology. If it does not simply accelerate the problem, loss of this rain forest will make the issue of global warming look small in comparison. Rather than advocating for uncontrolled human reproduction, intelligent people in wealthier countries should advocate for the quality of life and not for the quantity of it.

There should also be an acute awareness that animals as well as humans should have a Right to Life and that unchecked human reproduction makes no sense for the long term survival of the human species itself if we destroy every living plant or animal that lives around us.

What makes human life more sanctified and worth more than any other? How can a hunter justify stalking and then shooting any other one of God’s innocent creatures? How does one explain the justification of a Right to Life advocate murdering the doctor who works at the Planned Parenthood Clinic? Try to explain the perverted logic behind that paradox or how it relates to Moses’ Sixth Commandment.

Better yet, since the Right to Life movement seems to be intimately linked to the far political right, it is not unusual to have the same people who advocate against abortion are the same ones who have no moral or ethical issue with supporting and promoting America’s involvement in what seems to be an endless string of murderous modern international conflicts. Raise a baby to carry a gun so he can join the Army and go out to shoot someone else’s baby.

Then to make matters worse, the campaign to end legalized abortion has become tied to prohibitions against the stem cell research that can potentially cure or ameliorate some of our species worst diseases, including ones like Diabetes or the Alzheimer’s disease that has ruined my mother. No, let’s not lift those awful crosses off anyone’s back, because as a means of buying a ticket to heaven, suffering is the way one atones for one’s sins.

A law written on a piece of paper can never change human nature. So while we are at it then, let’s also bring back the barbaric green soap or the coat hanger abortion, because just like the failure of Prohibition to stop people from drinking alcohol, people will always find a way to get what they want.

The Red Chinese Communist government has been called “Godless.” When it comes to population control it should be called “Enlightened.” Determining what percentage of land would be required to feed and support the country’s population, while knowing that land is finite, the government established a policy of zero population growth. Citizens are only allowed to have one child and as heartless or as monolithic that policy may seem to be, it may in the long run be the only thing that keeps that country from seeking a war of territorial imperative that could dwarf the last two great ones. The nations of the world could learn a lesson from the Chinese in seeking a more global reappraisal of the finite nature of all our planetary resources, much of which will never become renewable.

A woman’s right to choose as well as to choose it in a way that is safe, should be preserved and private. This includes the right to enjoy all the resources available at Planned Parenthood clinics: Counselling, education regarding contraception (probably the ideal solution), and unwanted pregnancy termination. At the same time, late term abortion, with the exception of an abnormal amniotic fluid testing result, should be prohibited. Certainly a woman should know within a few weeks of conception whether or not she wants a child or later on if it is doomed to a serious genetic fault.

Choice is a deeply personal decision that has no place in the arena of National politics. It does not even belong in the arena of religion either. It is something that is basically no one else’s business.

To be really fair, anyone passing judgment on another person’s right to decide for himself whether or not to bring a life into this world, should first be required to adopt and raise an unwanted child of the ghetto or the third world. Or better yet, a vegetating genetic human deformity languishing in the ward of some unknown clinic that dedicates itself to the documentation, cataloguing, and the study of biological human freaks.

Then taking it to yet an even higher level, every prospective parent should be required to first pass a test, and then get a License to Reproduce, which would be granted only after he or she could fully demonstrate an understanding of the realistically intellectual, emotional and financial requirements that come with the otherwise romantic notion of having a baby. Why not? You need to have a license for everything else. Even for driving cars; which abort about 50,000 lives a year on our highways.

Taking God at his word in Genesis when he tells Adam and Eve to go forth, multiply and fill the Earth does not play out in practical terms when the only thing left to eat on the planet may be your own dog, horse or next-door neighbor and his children.

That is unless he gets the jump on you: and eats you first.


Eat or be eaten

Bosch painting
Some facts obtained from Planned Parenthood at
World population figures from Wikipedia
Species decline from an article by Dan Olsen of the Minnesota Public Radio


The Mission Priest

The Mission Priest

Although my mother officially pulled out of the Catholic Church after the Jesuit Brother tried to feel me up in Catechism class, we did make arbitrarily random appearances at Mass. It may have been related to residual guilt or perhaps something as abstruse as a maintaining a small investment in the religious insurance policy that guarantees a place in heaven. Old indoctrination sometimes dies a long and painful death for anyone having been brainwashed by it.

On one of those particular Sundays, when I was about seventeen years old, as opposed to the usual boring pap, the Pastor gave an extremely unusual electrifying sermon about next week’s highly anticipated visit by the “Mission Priest.” He then riveted everyone’s attention and hammered in the final nail by announcing this man was a special envoy from Rome itself. His home base was the Vatican and he was being sent to us for a brief respite from his hard work of converting the dark ignorant masses in Africa. The rhetoric ended with an appeal for everyone to let this man “hear your specially blessed confession.”

He said:

  • It will be the next best thing to having the Pope himself absolve your sins.

This was a first for our small Parrish, so the local priests were beside themselves with eager anticipation. The parishioners all bought into it too, resulting in longer lines on the pre-visit confessional Saturday than any other in the church’s history of collectively expunged sins. 

Although we did not go to that confession, on the following Sunday, curiosity got the better of us and we did go to the Missionary’s mass.

The man must have just arrived from some dismal assignment in darkest Africa, where the heat or some latent insect borne disease must have partially emulsified his brain, because it turned out to be the closest thing to a tent revival show that could ever be seen in a Catholic Church.

He was at once charismatic, energetic, mesmerizing, and was also just about one gearshift shy of being absolutely crazy. Leaping out from behind the pulpit his animated gyrations across the dais caused his robes to fly like sheets drying on a clothesline on a windy day, ultimately imparting the appearance of a purple dervish. With fire in his eyes and a message of brimstone damnation, the underlying theme to the sermon was that all men are guilty of everything until proven otherwise, ultimately making me feel that if he really dug in deep enough he could even get the Pope or Mother Theresa to lay out a litany of hidden dark spots on their souls. 

In making the congregation so paranoid about eternal damning fire in Hell, on the next Saturday the confessional lines were even longer; which unfortunately included my entire guilt-ridden family.

I should have known this was a bad idea because when I came face to ear in a small dimly lit cubicle with this nasty little Ambassador from Rome I had only just recovered from an adolescent guilty perception that Jesus, because he  must have had even better powers of ocular X-ray vision than Superman, was probably watching me when I went to jerk off in the basement bathroom. 

Beginning with the usual banal litany that usually worked so well with the regular priests, who never listened anyway,  we went through the boring routinely rote driven drill, I said:

  • Bless me father for I have sinned. It’s been three weeks since my last confession. These are my sins: I have talked back to my mother; I have disrespected my father…
  • Cut the crap. How old are you?
  • Seventeen.
  • So, seventeen, eh. Have you started to date yet? Do you like girls?
  • Yes, Father.
  • And, so, what do you do on your dates with these girls?
  • There’s only one girl, father.
  • So what exactly do you do with this one girl on your dates, eh? Do you kiss? Do you pet? Do you touch her genitals? Does she touch yours? Have you ever had oral sex or actual penetrating sexual intercourse? You know what that is, don’t you? Now tell me exactly what you do with this girl. All the details, too. I need to know EVERYTHING!

On and on went the terrifying interrogation while I gulped, coughed, mewled and sputtered some pathetically trivial answers.

After all one cannot lie to any priest, much less the special ambassador from Rome itself. In retrospect I was also too naïve to discount the possibility as he sat back in his little black booth, that he may have been getting his rocks off by hearing a long string of vicariously graphic descriptions of teenage sex spewed out by stuttering terrified sexual neophytes.  

I finally capitulated: Yes it was true I had kissed my girlfriend, and yes it was true that we had done some heavy petting. 

By the time the encounter was over, along with the usual banal lecture about saving oneself for the holy bonds of marriage, the special grace of entering marriage as a virgin, ad nauseam and ad infinitum, I was doused in a cold wet sweat that left me completely exhausted. 

He gave me the worst penance I ever had, sending me to kneel at the Alter with a burden of doing three entire Rosaries and four Acts of Contrition. Being used to far less cursory punishment, I thought this one was a bit too steep for the sin of heavy petting, so I did the task like doing a multiplication table. After every prayer, I simply muttered: “times ten” or “times four” and got out of the Church as fast as I possibly could; worrying that the maniac behind the screen might leap out of his little dark booth to haul me back in for Round Two. 

This was the second Epiphany that made me realize I had to get out of this crazy religion. The first one had come at age twelve when my dog died and I asked the priest if he was going to get into Heaven. I was told then that animals are not allowed into heaven, only human souls, and now I was being told that sex was taboo as well.

But somehow I instinctively knew that my limited encounters with sex seemed pretty pleasant up to that point, and not even close to the horror these nutty priests were attempting to portray. So here I was being chastised by a semi-psychotic zealot for liking women shortly after a Jesuit Brother tried to seduce me, while my dead dog’s soul was lost forever in Purgatory or Hell. The hypocrisy was too much to absorb. 

I also realized that if I was going to go to Hell over heterosexual sex; which I intuitively liked, then it would probably be a bonus. The realization also struck me that if people like the Mission priest were going to Heaven; a place also devoid of simple comforts like house-pets; then I did not wish to be within a parsec of their eternal prudish and animal avoiding presence.  

I thought I would rather choose to be in Hell with my faithful old dog, sipping on a Vodka, having a naked woman sitting on my lap and watching Duke win another National basketball title on TV. 

Now, that would be as close to heaven as it ever gets.

 Mission Priest