Death by Confirmation

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About Jeff Swain

Jeff Swain claims to be an expert on nothing. He's just a humble seeker, looking to find out what it's all about. Aside from searching for the meaning of life, Jeff likes to run marathons. You can follow along with his life and adventures on his blog, Twitter, and Facebook.


  1. Drew Tatusko says:

    That’s a hard thing for any kid to take. It takes Jesus’ command to leave your family and follow him and couches it in the Western Christian fetish with death and piety. Many have sought some middle ground between death and piety on the one hand and life and Dionysian pleasure on the other. Those attempts have been met with mediocre results leading to a loss of commitment to the religious organization.

    I rejected both the Catholic focus on death along with the Calvinist take on death and became an agnostic. But that craving for “something more” persisted. I tried on Buddhism and a few other things. After a series of life incidents I found a home in Eastern Orthodoxy where the focus really is on love and life. We renounce sin, not our families.

  2. Oh Boy – having been dragged up in an Irish Catholic Family – and knowing the joys of the Confirmation Abuse Sessions, I have to say that my stomach was churning as I read. GOD did I recognise the figure of Father Kelly and the control issue and abuse that comes from being an empowered socially accepted control freak let loose in the name of God!

    Billy was abused emotionally and socially – his father was abused in front of him – and his mother was made to collude with the abuse of both of them… and all because they had been indoctrinated in and raised in a supposed religious group that allows a certain group called priests to exercise massive social, emotional, financial and religious authority and power with litteral impunity.

    Behaviour was controlled and manipulated – as was the Information provided by the abuser Fr Kelly was warped and designed to control the thinking and responses of all concerned and to emotionally manipulate them through Bullying so that FR Kelly won and others were under his control.

    When I was 12 the Confirmation Abuse Sessions started and I would not play ball. They continued until I was 18 and the way my family were encouraged to abuse and attack me to make me fall in line Is something I never have forgotten – and never will.

    The one thing it did teach me and which has been on of the most important life lessons – power will seek to control by abuse if necessary, and anyone who is willing to abuse in any way in the name of their god is only one of two things – proof that their god is evil – if they claim to be made in the likeness of their god, just how ugly their god is!

    It is odd, but when you make those two points to such devout individuals they have a real issue with what they are portraying and how what they do makes you wrong and evil. I like being Confirmed over and over in my understanding of how some like to be loved and how they love others – I just chose not to love that way, and by God I never will!

  3. Bad priests hurt so many people and are ruining the Church. Terrible. I’m glad my confirmation didn’t go that way. Your Fr. Kelley was a bully and there’s a reason why confirmation happens when you are 14 and not 18. If they wait until you are 18 they know “kids” won’t allow them to talk to them in a condescending manner.

  4. I don’t know if I even buy this story; the understanding of the meaning of the Sacrament of Confirmation is really weak. If it did happen like this at all, it’s definitely unfortunate, but if it did, apparently no one involved understood what the sacramental gift of Confirmation contains.

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