That Undeniable Longing: My Road to and from the Priesthood

That Undeniable Longing: My Road to and from the Priesthood

by Mark Tedesco

This fascinating memoir begins with the author leaving his home in California at the age of nineteen to enter a seminary on the outskirts of Rome.

The author struggled to be faithful to his commitment by suppressing his emotional needs, and thought about changing his life, but eventually ended up at the North American College, the premier American seminary at the Vatican.

This identity crisis reflected a greater conflict between the spiritual and the human: could he be a truly spiritual person while he was at war with himself?

But he slowly began to realize that in order to be a complete person, he would have to leave the priesthood and find his own way.

It deals with such questions as the search for meaning, spirituality versus humanity, faith in God and being gay.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Uncategorized
  • Rating: 3.90
  • Pages: 197
  • Publish Date: June 1st 2006 by Chicago Review Press
  • Isbn10: 0897335422
  • Isbn13: 9780897335423

What People Think about "That Undeniable Longing: My Road to and from the Priesthood"

I ordered this because i had read some comments about it on other places and I thought it would be a genuine journey in which we would see a man coming to terms positively with his sexuality, rejoicing in the graces and gifts his gayness released in him and enabling that to make him grow into a vibrant and, in his turn, life enhancer of those around him. Now Tedesco may well have been right and it may well have been the right decision but why does he assume he is correct and knows the mind of God but that his friend did not. At another time he is speaking of a 'living saint' who he wishes to get to know and be welcomed by. He is intent on having private time with this man and feels full of joy when he does and down hearted when he does not and yet then he is holding forth at great length about the people who focus on the saint and settle down in his presence rather than using the encounter to move onwards to God. Again, he might be right about them but his reaction appears to smack of the same. It was not however, it was the story of a gay man in denial who, without any real explanation of why he did, entered seminary to train to be a priest, taking refuge for the worst possible of reasons in what he thought would be a bastion of security against reality and when it did not left seemed to leave at the earliest opportunity. Mark Tedesco, I have no reason to doubt, is a totally sincere and honest man but I do not feel he serves himself or his journey well in this book.

One thing I didn't like about the book is that the author comes across as being very self-centered at times maybe that's just because the book focuses exclusively on his journey, but I found it annoying at times. I know what it's like to be cut out of someone's life, with no explanation or consideration, and its sad that he did that to people. I know he did the right thing in leaving the priesthood, and he is now a teacher.

He was associated with three very conservative Catholic institutions, the San Vittorino seminary of the Oblates of St. Mary outside Rome, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, and lastly the now notorious 'sect' Communion and Liberation, part of the triumvirate of authoritarian movements (together with the Legionaries of Christ and Opus Dei) so dear to Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. As a result, the breakthrough Mark achieved, recognizing the inherent goodness of his sexual nature and accepting this as the ultimate 'sign of God's will' in his life, in contradistinction to the values of the institutions he was so closely associated with, is all the more remarkable because he 'did it' almost entirely alone. I can't imagine what it must have been like for then 'Father' Tedesco as an active member of the highly homophobic, tradionalist sect, Communion and Liberation. At only 200 pages, it reads very much like a young adult book, and given that Tedesco is a high school history teacher, perhaps that was part of his intention - to make his story more accessible to young readers who would not have the patience for extended theological commentary. Tedesco says he finds the courses at the Pontifical Institute 'refreshing and new', but he doesn't tell us specifically why nor give us a clear understanding of the institute's theological framework - and how it relates to John Paul II's 'Theology of the Body,' which formed the foundation for the Pontiff's theories of gender complementarity - with men on the top of the hierarchy and women below, and - gay people far below that. Again, anyone with a Catholic theological background will recognize instantly the significance of this fact, Tedesco's association with this highly authoritarian, hierarchical sect in which obedience is the prime virtue and which set itself vehemently against Liberation Theology and most of the currents of Vatican II (I'm a bit more harsh in characterizing it than Tedesco's more tolerant approach. This is already much too long a review for Good Reads, so I'll summarize it simply be saying that I feel Mark Tedesco has a very important story to share here, he simply hasn't yet fully told it.

Yes, the ancient world would be where I would time travel. Since being published, the most rewarding experience is meeting and getting to know people that I would never come across in my daily life. Commercial success does not equal greatness and I hope that aspiring authors write something great. One book I wish I had written is a historical novel on the daughter of Cleopatra, whose name was Cleopatra Selene. But when I sat down to write the book I realized, though interested in the persons history, I felt no inspiration. But still, sometimes when I picture her as a child in Alexandria, or as a young woman and object of curiosity in Rome, I think of what an interesting tale I could have woven How long do you generally let a story idea marinate in your brain before you start the book? I have no control over how long I let a story marinate in my brain before actually writing it.