Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

such a loss!

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 08, 2005

Vision Book Cover Prints

The LA Times beats the priests for married drums.

Though he never doubted the theology that drew him to the priesthood, [Air Force Chaplain Father Terry] McDonough began questioning the rules he had lived by. One of his most alarming realizations, he said, was that "everyone called me Father, but I was never going to be one."

They kept it from you, did they? Not fair.

McDonough was back in Boston with the Air Force in 1980 when he met Susan Connolly at an Irish pub.

Let me guess. He was midway through vespers when he got an emergency call to come and anoint the bartender's uncle, who'd collapsed on the floor. Susan was the paramedic nurse, and their eyes met ...

They became such comfortable pals ...

I'm not making this up. A verbatim quote.

They became such comfortable pals that when Susan's fiance had to work at night, she said he would suggest, "Why don't you go out with Father McDonough?"

"Why don't you go out with Father McDonough?" Most of us, methinks, can surmise what kind of work kept Susan's fiance away nights. Pretty clearly, he chose the better part.

A year or so after meeting McDonough, Susan broke off her engagement. When the Air Force wanted to transfer McDonough, she asked him: "What about us?"

"Hey, I thought we were just comfortable pals!"

Until then, McDonough had not considered the possibility of an "us."

He's a sharp one, that Terry. This is his second alarming realization since taking Holy Orders.

But Susan's question forced the issue. He left active ministry in 1983, not because of some great schism or epiphany, but because he wanted a different life.

A beautiful story. My keyboard is awash in tears. How heartless must the Church be, to prevent an ace operator like Terry from serving God's people in full-time ministry and, e.g., resolving thorny cases of conscience in the confessional. I wonder if he and Susan have made it as far as the "til death do us part" clause yet.

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