Author: Father Jack Frerker
This is the second non-mystery book from Father Jack Frerker, a retired Catholic priest from the Southern Illinois diocese of Belleville. This is a book of fiction, but it reflects the times that covers, both current and past. The story revolves around a retired priest who dictates his memoirs to a younger man in seminary, who becomes a priest himself before the project ends.
The story is both real and surreal – I lived through the times that the retired priest was active in the church. I have my own memories of those times, which brought me to tears more than once while I was reading this story. I am not Catholic (I was brought up in the Congregational church), but we were all a part of the bigger picture of life.
Many of the statements that the retired priest makes in his recollections follow my thoughts exactly. I strongly admired religious leaders of all denominations, and gave them more faith than was perhaps called for. It is of interest to see the retired priest as a young man, finding his way within the church. We see how he becomes aware of the politics, of how things are not always as they may seem.
Each chapter is headed by a short quote from the bible. The story is written with humor at times, especially regarding the diocese housekeepers, and their role in church life. (They had more power than one might think!) It is written with honesty, addressing the very real issue of sexual abuse within the church, and how it was ignored. It talks about the relationships between clergy, and how often many of them had no say in things.
Another important aspect of this story is church finances, and how the clergy, if so inclined, misused church funds. Ego can get in the way of the best of us!
The interaction between the young seminarian and the retired priest takes on a story of its own, as the memories of the retired priest often cause the young seminarian to question himself, and the church.
While this is a work of fiction, it reflects very real times. I highly recommend it as a way of broadening ones perspective about the history of the church, and our individual spiritual selves.
© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.