A letter from the editor of "Defrocked"

In these hard times, ex-priests need community, too, and now there's a magazine just for them!

By Tom Mcnichol
Published April 23, 2002 10:16PM (EDT)

You are holding in your hands the Premiere Issue of Defrocked, the Magazine for Former Priests. This publication would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our crack editorial team, as well as the encouragement of hundreds of interested readers. You told us there was no magazine that addressed the peculiar concerns of recently defrocked priests, and we listened. Drawing on the talents of former clergymen from across the country, we have put together a magazine that is timely, useful and, we hope, fun to read. So take off that starched collar and fasten your seat belts. And enjoy the ride.

Our issue kicks off with a gritty investigative piece on the current "witch hunt" of priests, written by Rafael C. O'Brien, until recently the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Greenwich, Conn. With American cardinals descending on Rome at the order of His Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, this piece is a must-read. O'Brien's meticulous reporting documents how the Catholic hierarchy is offering up priests as "sacrificial lambs" to protect the church from the widening scandal. With help from a "Deep Throat" source high in the Vatican, O'Brien pieces together a tale of lies, lies, more lies and betrayal. What you read may shock you. But you will never forget it.

Our exclusive Newsmaker profile takes a closer look at Ret. Rev. Paul R. Shanley of Boston, a controversial figure currently making headlines. In 1979, Shanley shocked church officials by advocating the benefits of sexual relationships between men and boys at a Boston conference that led to the founding of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Now, for the first time anywhere, Shanley tells his side of the story, and gives readers an exclusive glimpse into his personal life. (Thanks again to Shanley for allowing us to reprint photos from his private collection).

But we don't want Defrocked to be all serious stuff. While we're proud to take thoughtful stands on the issues, we hope we never take ourselves too seriously. We want Defrocked to be more than just a valued resource; we want to become your trusted friend.

Our advice column, "Ask Former Father Taylor," has already received hundreds of questions from readers responding to our pre-launch direct mail campaign. Now more than ever, former and current clergy members need access to reliable information, and former Father Taylor brings a wealth of pastoral experience to his new magazine ministry. Former Father Taylor is not a licensed counselor and his opinions should not be construed as legal advice. Liability rests solely with the reader and not Defrocked, its owners or advertisers.

Our food columnist has good news: Fish isn't just for Fridays during Lent. Salmon and Ahi tuna are in season and the catch has never been fresher. You'll find 15 mouth-watering recipes for fish entrees, all of which can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. And while you're at it, check out our wine columnist, who wrestles with the question, "Is there life beyond Altar wine?" The answer is a resounding "Yes!" And no, we don't mean Blue Nun.

If you're like me, your knowledge of popular music stops at "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." So we would all do well to check out music critic Dennis Tucker's informative piece on the currently popular musical forms "rap" and "hip-hop." Readers will come away giving props to all the gangstas in their respective hoods.

In our Look Smart section, we explore the fashion needs of former priests. You've ditched the Roman collar: Now what? Well, don't worry: Black is Back -- in style, that is. We'll show you 20 ways to mix 'n' match black pants, black shoes and a black turtleneck without busting your budget. Plus, we take a look at an exciting new line of casual clothing known as "ecclesiastical sportswear."

On the lighter side, our Altar Boy Pictorial gives readers a sneak peek at what the lads will be wearing this summer while serving those long, hot Masses. Cassock hemlines are WAY up this year, showing lots of leg. Good news for modern man.

In the back of the book, you'll find our extensive Resources section, chock-full of vital information for priests in transition. Our extensive list of defense lawyers is the most comprehensive anywhere. Even priests not currently involved in litigation will want to clip and save.

Our Personals section is already shaping up to be one of our most popular features, based on your response to our mailings. Please note that the category listed in the mailing as MEN SEEKING BOYS is now known as MEN SEEKING YOUNG MEN. Sorry, no refunds.

Above all, we want you to know that Defrocked is YOUR magazine. If there's a topic you want us to cover, or a person you want us to profile, please let us know. We don't claim to be infallible, but we can promise a lively read every month.


--(Former) Father Bob Boyle, Editor in Chief

Tom Mcnichol

Tom McNichol is a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, and on public radio's "Marketplace" and "All Things Considered." He is a contributing editor for Wired magazine.

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