Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mettray Seminary

Mettray Seminary

by Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk

Review of Roy Chaudoir’s Mettray Seminary: The Untold Story

My early memory of priests was to always get smacked or belted by them. Ever since I was a little kid it seemed there were always a few boys in Catholic school who were instantly labeled as trouble-makers, though they were no where near the scene. Even if they were at home from school for an illness or some such, as soon as they returned the anonymous fingers would be pointed in their direction and they were definitely in line for chastisement. Many of my male classmates suffered this abuse but at the time I was not aware of any boy getting sexually approached, maybe it was the Lower East Side tough boy atmosphere where we lived but now I’m sure there were a few who would have been prone to it, wimpy fairy boys who would easily fall in to it. I shake my head and recall boys such as that… In my case it was my wise-guy stupid foolishness that saved me from any attempt at closeness by an elder, be he priest or some lay teacher. My asshole mouth always had a comment to add to no matter how many beltings or bruises I would face, in a way I wasn’t impressed by their discipline. When I finished eight years of Catholic moronic attempts at control I was free to face the world in any way I wanted or pleased; I shrugged, started hanging out in Times Square, grew older and life went on.

So I was rather curious in reading Roy Chaudoir’s Mettray Seminary: The Untold Story, how early in his youth he felt a closeness and nearness with the priests, who eventually and inevitably came to use him sexually and emotionally. Chaudoir as a young troubled youth, suffering from the physical abuse of a family member and entering the religious school that would train him to be a priest, fell right in with the seminarians and I do see how he welcomed the sudden changes in his life. Because now the priestly school would be his home and safe haven, in a way from the world outside its door; it was heaven. This closeness to the priestly world nurtured and grew, he began to spend free time with them, going on long trips, eventually sleeping and sharing a bed together, a few who even wanted him to move in with them and act as man and wife in their secretive world. But Chaudoir rebelled from this cheap domain, in a way he knows that life to be lived is not as easy or cheap as they profess it to be. He has revelations…from God? From the Universe? Who knows from whom? But he begins to see Life with new eyes, new dreams, a new passion. (The end chapters are beautifully written; his eyes are opened.) In this way he begins to understand what life is, it was given to him, and only him, all else is meaningless. Breathe a sigh of relief…

Bravo to the author! Throughout I felt the pain and confusion of the boy and was happy with how the story grew and came to an end. Chaudoir is able to tell a great story, religious if you want, and never loses his humanity. Buy the book, read it, you won’t be disappointed. Amen to that!