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The Other Side of the Altar: One Man's Life in the Catholic Priesthood

by Paul E. Dinter

Buy the book: Paul E. Dinter. The Other Side of the Altar: One Man's Life in the Catholic Priesthood

Release Date: 31 March, 2003

Edition: Hardcover


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Buy the book: Paul E. Dinter. The Other Side of the Altar: One Man's Life in the Catholic Priesthood

An Unfortunate Choice for an Unhappy Man

Dinter's account shows how this man unfortunately chose the wrong vocation. Many of his books have succeeded in faulting the Church for its many ills, yet his own personal responsibility seems lacking. Some of his stories are exaggerated. I too was at Columbia during his time, and he was known for alienating and dividing many students with his political ideas. Although he was close to some of the '60s leaders, by the 1980s Dinter continued to preach ideas that had long passed that generation. He controlled his community in Ford Hall (some of whom were not students) with a political agenda, requiring people to lie down in front of police cars and getting jailed for anti-nuclear demonstrations. The lawsuit filed against him was largely due to what what most people deemed as a messy personality conflict. Whatever happened between him and this woman no one really knew, but it exploded into a controversy that eventually led in part to his transfer from Columbia University (they settled the lawsuit and readmitted the woman to the congregation). Although I sympathize with his criticisms of Opus Dei, I recall during one campus event Dinter's group marched into the back of the room where a priest from Opus Dei was speaking and made rude comments and loud criticisms. Many times he complained openly about Church celibacy and at others turned the Mass into a forum launching a tirade against political leaders and anyone who voted for them. He was very unhappy with the priesthood and his resignation came as no surprise.

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The Other Side of the Altar

Without a doubt, Paul Dinter's story of his life in the Catholic Priesthood and his insights into the dysfunctional celebate life brought understanding, compassion and tears to my eyes. The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church is so out of step with reality. What is being done to our Catholic Priests when it comes to not acknowldgeing their sexual nature is a travesty which borders on sadistic behavior on the part of Rome. One does not have to think very hard after reading Paul Dinter's book why there are so few vocations today to the Celebate Priesthood. Mr. Dinter writes this book in a way that helped me as a 59 year old cradle catholic, with doubts and fears that come with being raised Catholic before Vatican II, to understand and accept my conscience when it comes to not buying into the rhetoric that comes out of the Vatican today. As a gay man who has been partnered for 35 years, I finished the book with a sense of renewed pride in my total self. God Bless you Paul Dinter for writing this book!

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