Dear Father Monaghan

Dear Father Monaghan,

I hope and trust this letter catches you by surprise. In normal circumstances, I would follow my initial greeting here with something along the lines of good wishes for your health and a hoped-for grand quality of your life in general or some such sentiment like that.

This is not that kind of letter. These are not normal circumstances.

Holy Father, peace be unto me and not you, not ever. I write this to you to inform you that the time to keep “a private thing private” is no longer. Your day of judgment has arrived for I CANNOT and WILL NOT keep you whole and complete and untouched.

I am not whole. I am incomplete and I will never be untouched. I have spilled enough blood for us both and while you found some sick delight in that on that day, I have been reduced, measure by measure, drop by bloody drop, every single day since that afternoon until now, I have become almost invisible.

Please, dear Father, forgive me, though I DO know what I have done, and so do you. And so does God, Father Monaghan, so does God. I worshipped you, truly and reverently so. I found a peace unlike any other of my 12 years when I served at your altar. I never wanted to be outside on a sunny day when you performed your spiritual magic, at weddings, and funerals and 3 masses a day. My friends couldn’t understand how the lure of playing baseball down at the park wasn’t stronger than being by your side, anticipating your every desire, preparing all the elements of sacrament, for your service.

You saw that in me. You knew that when I called you Father, yes Father, right away Father, that I truly, deeply meant it, even though I knew you were not my father, and could never be anyone’s father.

WHY did you betray me? WHY must I suffer for your sins? Wasn’t my service good enough for you? Wasn’t my life hard enough already for you to trick me into believing your kiss was love for me? You monster, you fucking monster.

Jesus forgives me and my blasphemous mouth, but I know no other words, no other sentiments. I bled for days, Father, days afterwards. I didn’t eat a single thing except for one host to try to purify myself, thinking it would absorb my bloodstream and stop the blood of your violation. I didn’t sip the wine for fear it would make my blood flow even redder in color. Red, I see red every day, red rage, red blood, your red vestment sash flapping at my feet.

Stigma clearly comes from the word “stigmata” and the blood, Father, the sight of blood, at the butcher shop, on TV, from a scrape or cut, the tiniest drop of blood, sends me into spasms of horrific shame. Everything that needs to be cut in my life is done with dull blades, so I can avoid the slip of the knife, the sight of my own blood. I shudder and shake at the thoughts I CANNOT remove from my head, the bloodstained images you’ve painted there.

That you are “the Father” of this parish, so aptly named “Church of the Most Precious Blood” sickens me to a depth you cannot know because you do not possess a caring soul, a feeling soul. You are the devil, Father and you have shamed the very word “Father” for me and for us all.

Come Father, see my blood. Come Father, find me at my mothers’ home – just follow the trail from the front door, past my mother who will be sitting in her chair by the television. She won’t greet you with all the normal niceties and piousness you’ve come to expect in your exalted state – my blood is her blood and I could not have her ever know the truth we both know. But her death was a gentle overdose of love, and not a single drop of her blood was spilled. A child grows to care for their parents as they cared for me. I stopped being a child on that afternoon. I left it behind on the altar as an eternal sacrifice.

Maybe you never were a child, so you took mine in vengeance, or vicariousness. I have asked Father Del Perlo to bury her with dignity and piety – you will, no doubt, be unavailable for the duty and no special dispensation will be granted for your release from jail to perform the funeral, I am assured of that.

Come, Father, come to my mothers’ house – the door will be left open for you, as it always was in my heart. Come Father, find me, your son, lying not in a manger, but by the bathtub, overflowing with blood, naked, bowed and immersed in the unholy waters of your sin. No matter how hard I tried, I could never cleanse myself of the sin I felt, the sin of my love and trust for you.

My most precious blood is on your hands, a stigmata that will carry you down the river to a prison, I hope, so violent, so scorching with hellfire that you scream yourself deaf begging forgiveness.

Come, Father, come and see what you have done. I have prepared my ascent into heaven as carefully as I did when I was your “special boy” — the archdiocese, the NY Times, every single television station in town and of course, the police also have this letter and if you don’t come to my mothers house, Father, they surely will bring you.

They will deliver you not from evil, but to evil, for thine was the kingdom, power and glory, until that afternoon when you wiped away not my sins, but my very soul.

I now rest in peace. You never will.


Harris Donovan

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