This is an important aspect of the story, because whether you find it sad or offensive, surprising or unsurprising, the fact is that many priests end up leaving their ministry after developing ideological differences with the Church they grew up loving and believing in so strongly. I know, because I was one of them.
In our training for the priesthood, we are led to understand that every decision, attitude, behavior, and word we utter must be connected in some way with this vocation we have received from God. What we don't realize is that we are bound to go through a series of transformations and personal struggles just like anyone else. We mature and grow, our perspectives evolve, and sometimes the very ideas of what we often hold so sacred change. Nobody is ever frozen in time.
This lesson — that each of us must be open enough to embrace our own experiences and give ourselves permission to learn from our own life journeys — is another important aspect of my story. This message applies to every human being, no matter what your religion or your relationship with God. Change — and our acceptance and learning from it — simply means that we are alive.
Regardless of what the future holds for you, when you are truly motivated by love and what is good — no matter what the world may say or think about you — you never really go wrong, even when you are perceived as making a big mistake. It is only by taking risks that we really begin to grow. All changes, no matter how radical, can lead you to the place you were always meant to be. That is where I am now.
I hope you will read this book as a different kind of love story. It is the story of a man who fell in love with life, ministry, and a woman. It is the story of someone who decided to go against the flow, even when the current was pushing strongly in the opposite direction. Most of all, it is the story of a man who has come to understand that God never gives up on anyone, no matter what.
I will always love the Church community I was born into and served for many years. I have a great deal of gratitude in my heart for the countless people who continue to live and work within it, including those who cannot speak their minds freely because of the positions they hold within the official Church. I am certain many of them would agree with a good number of the controversial opinions I express in this book, but I can only relate my personal experiences, or what I like to call my ideological evolution. I share them with you, opening my heart with the hope of contributing in some small way to the reform that I consider so crucial to one of the world's oldest and most trusted institutions, the Roman Catholic Church.