THE JOURNEY OF A CATHOLIC-IN-EXILE
Fed Up With Being a Rat In a Liturgical Lab

May 1997By Mark J. Kelly

Mark J. Kelly teaches Theology at St. Hubert High School for Girls in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Tolkien’s The Hobbit or There and Back Again is the quintessential quest story. Familiar places are left and returned to, new and variable phenomena are observed and considered. Yet always, on the way home, there is further realization of certain truths and consequences.

This, then, is the tale of a dutiful Catholic who left the Church to go on a great journey, only to return to his place. As with Bilbo Baggins, there will be fellow travelers who will try to lead the way to the Mountain. We will also encounter a dark forest, wherein the only hope is to get back onto the one true path, and of course there is the inevitable confrontation with the Dragon and the return Home.

Following the Leaders

I shall always remember the particular Mass that finally drove us out of the Church. My wife and I were neither malcontents nor complainers. I was, relatively speaking, a good Catholic: I was very involved in teaching CCD, attended daily Mass whenever possible, observed yearly retreats at a Trappist Monastery, worked at soup kitchens, etc. My wife was Chairman of our parish Family Life Commission, a member of the Parish Council, and she created a child care program in the parish.


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