Why I Wrote Song of the Turtle
In the wake of the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholicism, growing number of Catholics are convinced the Church must consider and implement radical changes to move beyond a culture that is destroying its credibility with the world and profoundly damaging its very soul. Many in the Catholic community are urging reforms which include not only ordination of women but also reconsideration of mandatory celibacy for priests.
Song of the Turtle explores the human and spiritual dimensions of a good priest’s and a good woman’s struggle with the constraints of celibacy as he prepares to minister to the people of El Salvador during the war there in the 1980s.
There are three main catalysts for this novel.
Having known many good and devoted priests whose presence is a grace for our world, I hate what has happened to them in the public mind. Men who have given their lives to God in a desire to serve others have been unfairly tainted by the heartless clerical sexual predators and their immoral episcopal protectors who dominate media coverage of the Catholic priesthood.
It has come to the point that priests wearing collars are sometimes spit upon or verbally attacked on the street. I hope the character of Jamie Quinn, S.J., one of the book’s two major protagonists, will provide a counterpoint to the prevalent negative images.
Another catalyst of utmost importance to sincere people of good will in 2019 is the very real suffering of our vulnerable brothers and sisters in Latin America. I pray my book will humanize and bring into focus the plight of the desperate refugees from Central America who are risking their lives to find their way to someplace safe (the United States), only to be treated like criminals and have their children ripped away from them and imprisoned in appalling and cruel conditions that may traumatize these little ones for life.
In Song of the Turtle, the reader will meet Salvadoran women, men, and children caught in the tragedy of a brutal war most of us have virtually forgotten, although its after-effects still cause immense suffering in El Salvador today. My hope is that my readers will see their faces, hear their voices, be touched by their good hearts and haunted by their stories. Perhaps they will even be moved to take action to help the children and grandchildren of the people on whom my characters are based, people who made such sacrifices for their future.
Last but not least, Song of the Turtle is a frank and intimate story that needed to be told in the full humanity and deep spirituality of the two persons involved.
Please consider helping those in El Salvador. Thank you very much. The world will be a better place because of your actions.