“In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me. Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua. Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto” so sayeth the Priest during mass on Sunday.
This is the life of a Priest. A life filled with Latin, filled with lambs, filled with G-d. It is a life of celibacy, of poverty, of charity. It is a life filled with listening to the woes of the people, their sins, and giving the forgiveness through Jesus Christ, The Lord. This is the life of a man who has dedicated himself to G-d and the church, to the people, to His flock. After nearly 8 plus years, countless hours of prayer, devotion, and spiritual struggle. After a four-year degree, a post-graduate degree, many sleepless nights filled with fear and dread. This is a Priest. This is the life of a Priest. This is the life of a Gay Priest!
“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight against an unholy people, rescue me from the wicked and deceitful man. Send forth Thy light and thy truth: for they have led me and brought me to thy holy hill and Thy dwelling place. Trust in God, for I shall yet praise Him, my Savior, and my God. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.”
These words, as translated from the Latin above, are the words that Mark Tedesco heard and said on a daily basis. As a Priest-to-be, Mark struggled with not only his family and his faith, but also with his life as a closeted gay man. In his book That Undeniable Longing: My Road to AND from THE Priesthood, Mark Tedesco recounts his life, well roughly ten years of his life, of going from faithful Catholic parishioner to being a full-fledge Catholic Priest… and then back to being a “normal” Joe.
This book captivates the reader from page one when he wonders if questioning life and your past is a side-effect of being middle-aged. “How did I arrive at this point? Could I ever have imagined, long ago on a winter day in Rome, that I would find myself on this new path, my dreams not shattered, but transformed. And that elusive, relentless desire, for happiness – where is it leading me?” He sparks our imagination, at least those of us who are 30-something and older, of the days gone by. He makes us think about our past, and if we would have done anything differently. He makes us think about the lessons, the little “–isms” we have learned and discovered.
The life of a Priest is hard, as we learn. It is a life filled with monotony, with repetitiveness, and without much spontaneity. It is a life filled with being the moral grounding of a faith that is large and far reaching. To influence the lives of others is a path that many are not willing to take. Young Mark discovers this and so much more on his little journey known as the priesthood. From being an oblate in a monastery in the hills of Italy, to being kicked out, and then once again accepted by another seminary, Mark’s adventure both captivates and invigorates you in addition to upsetting and angering you. In light of all the controversy surrounding Priests and sexual abuse, it is no wonder that a gay man not only questions his faith in the Church, but also in himself and his relationship with the Almighty above. The journey of understanding is not an easy one, which those who have had time to live a little bit more on this planet know all to well. The life of a gay man, and the struggle to not only accept yourself, but to reject others non-acceptance is also a journey filled with fears, tears and personal struggle. To go through both is killer, but one journey “Father Mark” accomplished.
This book is filled with controversy, with personal struggle not only with self-acceptance and faith, but also with the Catholic World. You will laugh, you will possibly cry, and you will most undoubtedly come to learn from the struggle both without and within. This book is quite well written and addicting from page one. I could not put it down and read it from cover to cover. It made me examine my faith and the faith of others. It made me reminisce about coming to terms with being a person of faith, being a gay man, and being a gay man with faith.
Discover more about the priesthood, about man, about faith, about life, about your life in this book. I did, and I know you will too!
Jase (Jason Ruel)
BellaOnline's Gay Lesbian Editor