Buying and Selling Jesus

Bless me, for I have sinned.

In Pearl River, Louisiana, the pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church made an ameteur porno film on the altar. It was the last day of September, in the Year of Our Lord 2020, and the idiot had somehow forgotten that people could see into the windows from the street. It’s possible that he remembered but just didn’t care, or it added to the thrill of the game. The Reverend Travis Clark wasn’t just committing sexual acts on the altar, but he had hired two dominatrixes to do the dirty deed with him.

Apparently Father Travis was kinky in his sexual preferences, just like the priest I had known and had transactional sex with (it sounds better than the word prostitution) sixteen years beforehand. At least I wasn’t filmed, and I didn’t fuck him on the altar. It was the church office of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, location withheld.

As the details of what Travis Clark did emerged, the story didn’t get any better. The parishioners of Saints Peter and Paul had really liked their pastor, so this was a major breach of their trust. I was shocked when I read about it, as I had driven right past that church many times over the years, and had been friends with a young woman who went to church there. Someone who Father Travis had withheld communion from because she was “living in sin.”

Pearl River, being a small country town, took this perverse action personally. From the appearances at the time, it seemed as if the dominatrixes had no shame about what they had done. None of it, they claimed, was illegal, and everything that happened was consensual. They were absolutely correct in saying that.

The problem was that all three participants had desecrated the altar and the church, so while the acts were not illegal, they were immoral. The incident was such a shock not because sex is bad, but because a priest had desecrated a sacred space in what he had done. Mindy Dixon, and Melissa Cheng were complicit. Dixon had gone so far as to say the day before on social media that she was on her way to defile a house of God. It’s no wonder that their actions were scandalous.

These kinds of stories raise questions about the desecration of sacred objects and sacred spaces. The Archdiocese of New Orleans ended up deconsecrating, removing, and burning the altar, because the desecration was a mockery of the holy, and the idea of serving Jesus from an altar where cheap porn had been made was incomprehensible to decent people.

I have no room to judge, in fact I suspect that people might judge me as harshly as they judged Travis Clark, Mindy Dixon, and Melissa Cheng. I will not blame them for their judgment of me, what I did was truly detestable, and wrong.

At the start, I didn’t give a shit about the fancy wafers that the priest had consecrated to be Jesus. I didn’t believe they were Jesus, just like he didn’t believe me when I said that I was the Blessed Virgin Mary. I don’t think I even knew anyone who was a virgin. I was simply there to obtain what I had been sent for, in exchange for giving the priest “a good time.”

I was nineteen and homeless. I had nothing better to do anyway, and I thought that it would be hilarious, if nothing else. The cred I would get for having fucked a priest would be cool. As far as I was concerned, I was purchasing wafers that priest had waved his hands over and said some magic words, and was stupid enough to believe they were Jesus.

I was okay with what I was about to do, and I hoped that we could at least both enjoy the encounter. But apparently Father Fuck Up, as I call him now (all disrespect intended), was kinky and had done this sort of thing before. So much for vows of celibacy. He had me undress.

“Get your fornicating arse over here,” he said to me. I giggled like a little girl.
“You can call me Father,” he said, like it was the most hilarious thing ever.
“Bless me, Father, for I am about to sin…”

I bought Jesus Christ himself for the price of a blowjob, which is almost as terrible as the fact that the priest sold Jesus to a slut like me just to get his rocks off. I’m not sure where that priest of St. Francis Xavier is today, and I know that the pastor of Saints Peter and Paul was stripped of his orders. What matters to me is what became of me.

Many years later, I walked into an Episcopal Church, and met Jesus there. I was baptized. I took this sin to confession despite being scared that the priest would be disgusted. I made a point to listen very carefully to the absolution pronounced over me, and I know that God has forgiven me.

I imagine Jesus there on the cross, right before he died, saying to the Father: “Father, forgive her, for she knows not what she’s doing…”

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MaryClare StFrancis, M.A.

MaryClare StFrancis, M.A.

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She/her. I write memoirs, feature articles, essays, poetry, and more.