Welcome to God Desire
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: All photos displayed on this website are Copyright (c) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019 by Matthew Skulicz.
Welcome, my friend.
You came to this site—or were led here—for a reason. Perhaps you are simply curious about the Divine and want to read what others are saying from their own curiosity. Perhaps you are a committed seeker after God and want to engage other seekers in an exchange of understandings. Perhaps you are a skeptic and have come to deride what we seekers have and who we are.
In any event, I welcome you and embrace you. Let us talk in peace and learn from one another.
It is true that my last writing on this site was done in 2016, three years ago. In the intervening time, I produced only a few essays, and I'm sorry to say, I received very little response from my readers here. So there was little to prompt me to continue on the tack I was then taking.
During that same period, my own understanding of the experience of Divinity blossomed into a fullness. This fullness grew out of a period of painful, angry, fathomless darkness of spirit, in which I found myself knee-deep, as it were, in unseen bogs of betrayal, deceit, hypocrisy, and dishonest protection of individual and institutional power and prestige, all arising from the leaders of my local church and of my Roman Catholic religion.
Without going into great detail, I will summarize the unremarkable events of that time.
I was a Permanent Deacon of the Roman Catholic Church. I was ordained in Buffalo, New York in June 2005 by Buffalo's Ordinary Bishop, Edward Kmiec. After ordination, I was assigned to a parish in the suburbs of Buffalo, where I worked (unpaid, as are all Permanent Deacons) for two different pastors of this same parish. Six years later, my wife and I moved to the Clearwater, Florida, area, where I was assigned to a parish as a full-time extern deacon (that is, a deacon not ordained in the local diocese of St. Petersburg.) In that parish I worked for two different pastors, until I "retired for health reasons" in 2016.
My health was the stated reason for my ceasing my work as a deacon. My actual reasons are expressed three paragraphs above this one. I left my ministry to the faithful, earnest people of each parish I was assigned to in Buffalo and in Clearwater, and I stepped away from the Catholic Church entirely, for the following three reasons.
First, I was and continue to be disgusted with the deceitful statements of the bishops, cardinals, and popes who were leading the Church's response to the Predatory Priest Sex Abuse scandal. I myself, as a twelve year old boy, had been sexually molested by a middle-aged man. When I watched the interviews of imprisoned pedophilesas part of my training in the Deacon Formation Program at the local Catholic seminary in Buffalo, the damage which my own experience had done to my sense of my own worth, to my sexual identity, and to my character development ccame to the fore of my mind. I was able to identify clearly these effects that sexual predation had had on me and to empathize with those thousands of boys who decades later came forward to accuse their tormentors and to express publicly their deep grief and anger and sorrow. I understood them and my heart went out to them, as my rage boiled within me at the disdain of the bishops for their "flocks"--that they would create such an extensive and duplicitous scheme to protect the predator priests in their dioceses. In the media, the cardinals and popes lied to the people through their teeth, pretending to be stunned by the predator priests' inhumane and criminal treatment of their victims. And secretly these same bishops shared their most successful practices with each other and with the two popes who outrageously directed the scheme to protect the Church's reputation from the truth (John Paul II and Benedict XIV).
Moreover, at the local parish level, I became disgusted with the sordid darkness which seemed to drape itself over the parish offices and the priest residence. The diocesan priests were a small, lonely group who when they gathered spent much of their time gossiping about each other and trying to detect their places in the diocesan power structure, and protecting their parish (and especially, the parish's weekly collection) from encroachment by neighboring parishes.
Of the four pastors I worked for, I believe that only one of them had a streak of genuine compassion in him. Nonetheless, he as well as the three others were demanding bosses, careless of the consequences of laying off parish personnel in the lives of those who were let go, verbally abusive to staff members, manipulative, and dishonest, even as they were received with pleasure and deference by most of their parishioners.
It was the hypocrisy which ran as an undercurrent through the clerical life of the Church that bothered me most. I've already mentioned the hypocrisy of the bishops with regard to the priest sex scandal, including the words and actions of the two popes I mentioned above. But there were many other expressions of this hypocrisy on the global level and on the parish level. Compassionate listening is not a virtue of your average priest.
Rather, each seems to me to have developed a routine for handling the people who come to them. They treat these people with superiority and provide "canned answers," spoken by rote, to any problem one might raise. Of the dozens of priests I have known, I can recall only two who listened to me with open attention and a clear desire to help.
Many priests are homosexuals. I find no problem with these men fully being who God made them to be. My problem is that these same men preach the orthodox Catholic moral code, which rejects the actively homosexual life, and they grant forgiveness of sin-guilt when they hear the confessions of others for what they themselves do.
Working closely with priests and reading the proclamations of the Roman hierarchy and then reading about the actual works of these same hierarchs have taught me clearly that in general, one does not come to the Catholic church or to its teachers to learn virtue. The life of communal love which Jesus taught is not to be found there. Rather, pettiness is. And as a result of the interests of the global leaders as well as of the local pastors being turned elsewhere, the people in the pews are left ignorant and uncared for.
For the eleven years of my ministry as a deacon, I looked for Jesus in the Catholic Church. With some notable exceptions, such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society,
I could not find him or the life he taught there. So I left.
At the time I left the Catholic Church, I was focused on two other undertakings which supported my abandonment of the Church. The first project was the writing of a book, which I am planning to place on this website soon, in which I explore the history of the Christian Church, to discover how Jesus' teachings on the life of love and compassion were distorted into orthodox Christian teachings, which pay lip service to living the authentic Christian life in today's world. I found that the authentic teachings of Jesus were subjected to enhancements and to re-interpretation so quickly after the death of Jesus that the community of followers who dedicated themselves to living the life which Jesus taught did not survive the change from the first to the second century. I'm saying that the community of disciples who lived the life that Jesus taught survived for a brief forty years after his death. Following that period, the community of believers who claimed Jesus as their Lord became something other than the community which Jesus established. It became the Christian Church.
I saw in this work, as I followed the Christian Church through the centuries, that the Christian Churches of today, including the Catholic Church, are simply the descendants of the warped and degenerate Church which has been twisting the message of Jesus since the fourth century. My point here is that the corrupt leadership and the self-servicing clergy and the uninformed and unskilled laity of today's churches are nothing new. It has been this way with the churches for the last 1700 years. Since this corruption is so deeply embedded in the Christian churches, I saw that there is no way that the Church will change substantially so that it teaches its people the real Christianity and cleanses its clergy from all corruption. So, humbly (eventually) for I know that I am in no way superior to the clergy I am criticizing, I left the shambles of Christianity behind and set out on my own.
That history of corruption is the third reason I left Christianity behind. If I were going to discover the God to whom I was being led, and if the Christian community was not taking me there, I reasoned that I would have to just sit quietly and let myself be brought there.
I had been seeking to find the recognition of divinity in the present moment for two decades, mainly in my conversations with my friend, Murray Weinstein. In the course of our meetings over the past twenty years, Murray had found the sacredness of the present moment and had been sharing his experience in the present moment in his own beautiful words with me. I sought this divine encounter with him, recognizing that throughout my life I had been having moments of wordless, placid intimacy with what was present in the present moment.
I have not foregone that effort and continue to await the recognition of the Sacred Present every day. For I have intuited that it is there, in the on-going present moment, that Divinity is found and opens to receive the accepting heart.
There is much more to say about this, and to clarify what has already been said. And that I trust will be the focus of my future writing and of our conversation here.
I have found over the course of the last decade that God is so everywhere, making itself/herself/himself into everything that exists, including me, that I do not have to search far to be in the presence of the singular now moment in which God becomes all things.
Having found God without the further need of a church, I strike out into every day with the comfort that I am not me, I am he.
More on this in the course of time.
Now that the renovation of this website is completed, I have placed all my Christian writings into a single portion of this website, so that those who might find them useful can read them. But my focus in the main section is to articulate the experience of the ever-present, never-judging God of all that exists.
It brings me joy to offer you these thoughts. Please share your thoughts about the topics we discuss here with me and with those who read this site.
* * * * * * *
Taking off my shoes,
I walked barefoot:
Every stone became
OUR RENEWED WEBSITE
For the reasons which I offered in the Welcome notice (to the left), I am no longer willing to understand my seeking for the experience of God from the Catholic, or even from the Christian, perspective. It is not that I believe no one can benefit from these perspectives. What I know is that they are no longer useful to me.
My goal here, then, is to write from my particular perspective as a seeker. And I invite you to do the same, and if you wish, to share your understanding or your questions or your objections with me and with our readers.
Please remember that we are gathered here to share spiritual life.
Now, I offer you the following three pieces as my way of stepping away from Catholicism.
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How have the Catholic faithful responded to the heinous treatment of them and of their children by predator priests and the bishops who protect them? Have Catholics reacted, or has their silence implied their consent?
We are like fish in the sea. They cannot comprehend what the sea is, because they are in it, immersed, surrounded by it, swept one way and another by it. So are we with God. We cannot know God nor comprehend God! We can only recognize our immersion in God, feel it, love it, seek more of God.
You are invited to submit your articles and essays--written on topics appropriate to this God Desire website--for publication here as a Guest Writer. Please see the CONTACT US page for more info and for the submission form.
Looking for a way to know God in your personal experience?
Then look into these two
The Simplicity of Jesus
a collection of essays
intending to be a
Let Us Approach Him:
in the Newness of Life
To view either of these works,
Click here or go to www.goddesire.net