The priest across town who, at various intervals seemed to support me or at least seemed to NOT unsupport me, has been ousted.
The congregation never “took to him.” He does have a tendency to use allusions the working class can’t follow and he doesn’t always lay a clear transitional path in his homilies. Actually, he also has this tendency to never change register and talks to kids with the same, unfiltered version of what the Catholic church teaches that he does to adults. The little kids actually like him a lot; the big kids, who have been socialized to learn you don’t hurt feelings with the truth, are suspicious of him. It doesn’t help he followed a very loved priest, who died unexpectedly who really only seemed to focus on eldercare and, in our experience when we were there, our son was summarily thrown out of the school because of his Autism, because the late priest neglected the school.
The thing of it is, my priest told me how I would hate to work for this priest and how I’d be micromanaged, but the more I got to know him, the more I thought, well, I at least get him. He’s very transparent. He doesn’t treat people differently and he does what he says he’s going to do. Sure, he puffs up in power plays from time-to-time, but the longer I got to know him, the more I understood that it was never personal and he was just trying to draw his line in the sand in an open and honest way. He didn’t mince around like other people did. Honestly, I thought he got a raw deal from his own principal who never hid how much she didn’t like him and how much she’d undermine him and yet she’s still employed there.
I mean, I never stabbed anyone in the back and I’m out and she actively did it, asked him for her knife back and he gave it to her so she could do it again. There was no secret about it.
I know we’re not supposed to speculate on others’ neurology, but if I did, I’d say he’s Autistic and doesn’t know it. I feel a sort of kinship with him, being maltreated by the Catholics of this city, when all we wanted to do was the right thing. He deserves better than this and I hope his new parish gives him a chance. If he is Autistic, though, he likely needs to learn realism and how our speculative view of the world isn’t at all what’s really happening. I hope he does figure all that out, and it doesn’t shake him completely the way it did me.
Part of me wants to say that I’m glad I’m not alone in this treatment, but honestly, he didn’t deserve this; he deserved none of it. I’m calling it ableism, even if he doesn’t necessarily know he views the world differently. I think he does, and if I’m right, well, that’s what this is, so I’m mad on his behalf. But it isn’t up to me to have this conversation with him. Instead, I share it with all of you because even though I’m trying to put my family first, I still care about other people, especially people who are trying their best to help others, and are still thwarted. Those of you do who pray, maybe offer a prayer for him as he transitions and also that this parish gives their new priest a chance?