An Open Letter to
a Roman Catholic Priest
Friend and to all Clergy of Good Will
by Raymond Fontaine, Ph.D.
How are you? I presume you are well or you would have let me know. Before I become incapable of writing any more (I'm now 89 years old) I want to leave you my last thoughts about priests who are in a situation similar to ours. Let me summarize my experience that may comfort you in your unusual position.
As you remember, I left the Church and the priesthood in 1967 after serving as a priest during twenty-two years. After my affair with Claire, I thoroughly reviewed the Church's stand on birth control, divorce and the celibacy of priests. I found out that the Church is wrong - dead wrong. Knowing that the Church will never admit its error and change its policy, I left the Church definitively.
Almost penniless, I quickly grabbed a humble job of repair carpenter. Within months, however, I landed work in Vietnam taking care of refugees, as I worked for the US State Department.
What was my state of mind during those difficult times? I felt alone - no relatives and no friends. My co-workers had their own lives: with their wives and children and their circle of friends. I had no one.
After some months, I met a Vietnamese woman, who had followed in her father's footsteps and become a lapsed Catholic just like me. Her name is Minh. Her entire family and relatives accepted me completely and I never felt alone again.
During all those years, until I published my biography in 2002, I thought about God occasionally - not about God as preached by priests but the God as presupposed by the structures or designs that are observed in nature.
With that notion of God in mind, while surfing the Internet, I came across the website of The World Union of Deists at: www.Deism.com. It is entirely devoted to Nature's God. I read its many pages and soon began to write my own articles centered on Nature's God.
My mind is completely at peace because I have accepted the world as the human mind can grasp it. The supernatural and the spiritual is beyond human ken. Period! I'm not interested in nor concerned about all the spiritual stuff that the Church teaches because I don't believe it at all.
Enough about me. Now you. For many years, you have lived with a very fine woman whom I admire a lot. She has children whom you love as your own.
For many years now, you have worked with the homeless helping them and comforting them the best you can. Good for you and good for them.
I assume that you are still living what some would call a double life. If it does not cause you any mental conflict and uneasiness, just carry on. But if you are bothered by the dualism, you might consider leaving the Church and your religious Order as I did. You might also want to embrace the Creator of the universe. The structures and designs in nature point to a Supreme Intelligence who lets us live our lives as we see fit and as we like while respecting our neighbor's rights. We can forget all the spiritual stuff of the Church and enjoy the life that nature and its Maker provides.
Besides what happened to you and me, there are other priests who are living double lives. They may have tried to straighten out only to fall again and again. They too may be looking for a way out. Replacing the concept of God as preached by the Pope and his priests with God as revealed in the intelligent designs observed in nature is the best way to an honest life. Nowadays the Church will release them of their priestly vows and help them financially while they find a gainful employment. I know several priests who did that successfully.
Finally I come to priests who are still loyal to the Church and who are priests of good will. If not for themselves, then to help a fellow-priest in trouble, they may suggest a way out. The best available is to rely on God as observed in the intelligent structures and designs of Nature. This God suffices for humans as He does for all creatures on earth. IN NATURE'S GOD WE TRUST.
Raymond Fontaine, Ph.D.
Ray's site has been moved to our site. You can visit his site by clicking here. You can also order his outstanding and thought provoking book about his evolution from a Catholic priest to a Deist by clicking here. Or, you can get Ray's book for free as a thank you gift by subscribing to the Deist monthly webzine Deistic Thought & Action! by clicking here.
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