A reader writes

I was surfing, when I read this account of a Czech priest , George Kucera, who left the priesthood for greener pastures of Fundamentalism. I suppose there is a number of ways to read it. One, is with anger, because it is full of false and fatuous statements like:

I liked to serve in the church, to smell the incense with the candles, to hear the marvelous organ music, and to earn the possibility of staying close to the altar where the priest “sacrificed Jesus hidden in the bread and the wine”. …

Many doubts sprang up when I studied the history of Catholic dogmas and the theology of Thomas Acquinas which is totally constructed on the pagan philosophy of Aristotle. I committed three “errors” according to Catholic teaching: I began to read the Bible, used my head to think about all statements and situations in the Church of Rome, and thus became disobedient to my superiors. …

As many other priests, I acted with presumption and superiority as one of the real “possessors” of Truth. “Away from me Protestant!” they say in Prague even today. The people of my homeland are proud for burning Jan Hus alive some 600 years ago. [NB: As someone who has lived in the Czech Republic for a number of years, let me just say that this is emphatically wrong. Most Czech Catholics I know hope that Hus will eventually be rehabilitated] …

The way I read it, mainly, is this way. Here is a man, it seems to me, who was poorly formed as a Catholic priest, who harbors a lot of resentments towards his ecclesiastical superiors and authority in general, and probably was quite lonely and exhausted as a priest in a foreign country. I think the fundamentalists who co-opted him exploited all of these things, and now continue exploit him by parading him about like an anti-papist pachyderm. I know that sounds sarchastic; it does appear that all involved in the Bearan Ministry are mostly well intentioned. Nevertheless, it seems to me that there is a bit of pride working here – let me quote George again:

God still has a ‘remnant’ of His people, who represent real heritage of the divine project of unconditional and irresistible calling for the eternal Salvation, prepared before the beginning of the world. I didn’t get this reality immediately, during my studies. Today, I know that I am not alone.

I wish I could do something for George – I am actually tempted to write him, but I am afraid I would end up on the receiving end of a barrage of correspondence hoping to correct the error of my ways. I’m not sure that I’m prepared for that. I will pray for him. Still, I’m wondering if there is anything else I should do. Any thoughts?

I tend to be suspicious of the bona fides of stories like this in the Fundy press. I suppose the bell curve applies to priests as much as anybody, and that there could be a priest who could go through years of formation and still somehow believe Catholics are forbidden to read the Bible, or must “earn the possibility of staying close to the altar” or all the various other Fundy canards repeated above, but I frankly doubt it. Either this guy is an utter moron who learned *nothing* about what Catholics really believe or (more likely) he’s an Alberto Rivera clone and a put on. It’s stretch credulity to the breaking point for me that we are looking at errors in the intellect here. I think this guy’s a liar, feeding lies perhaps about his credentials as an ex-priest and certainly about what Catholics believe to a gullible anti-Catholic readership that doesn’t know any better and delights in these sorts of “conversion stories”. Call it “Surprised by Lies” and that’ pretty much nailed it. As to what you should do, I suppose writing him is not a bad idea, but I think you are dealing with a corrupt will, not with a badly formed intellect. If the will is bent on remaining corrupt, our Lord’s advice is still best: Do not cast your pearls before swine. But write him to find out. He might just be a well-meaning idiot who has totally misunderstood everything about the Faith. In which case it is a work of mercy to instruct the ignorant.