Home/Rod Dreher/Principal, Priest, Dirty Book Writer

Principal, Priest, Dirty Book Writer

Hotsy-totsy literary imagination of Florida priest gets him in hot water with parents (Diego Cervo/Shutterstock)

A throwdown is underway in Tallahassee between some Catholic parents and their bishop:

The Rev. Roy C Marien will be installed as John Paul II Catholic High School president on July 1. The Panhandle priest has written two novels that some parents find vulgar for their use of slang and the sexual depiction of teenage girls.

They say the books provide “entrée into the author’s mind” and when they look they see things, they say, should disqualify Marien for a leadership position around children, especially given the sex abuse scandal plaguing the Roman Catholic Church.

On Wednesday, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Bishop Gregory Parkes sent a letter to all of the school’s parents noting the books are fiction. He also pointed out in his 31-year career Marien has never faced allegations of inappropriate behavior with children or young people.


A blurb for SamRajni of Pemako, an Afghanistan war story, says the characters “either endear you or creep you out.” It contains a description of how the Northwest Florida sun had tanned a 13-year old’s “milky iridescent skin with a café au lait hue.”

“Stella displays her beauty with sharp looking clothes, tastefully displaying enough cleavage control,” is how Marien described a teen hiding a “lust for power” with “deceptive charm.”

In Black Swan Chronicles, a collection of three stories exploring love, Marien uses the four-letter slang word for excrement 34 times, “sex” 22 times and mentions “orgasm” seven times.

“Kiwi experienced an intense pre-orgasm knot coiling deep in the core of her being,” wrote Marien about the lead character in the first story. “When it was released it was less of a physical sensation as she had remembered from her days of prostitution.”

The reader who sent me the link is an angry Catholic parent. She writes:

Apparently, these novels caused a stir at his previous parish, but the incident did not make the news.  This would lead one to assume, however, that the bishop knew about them.  Maybe the bishop did not know; but a Google search of the priest’s name immediately turns up these novels, so if the bishop and superintendent were ignorant, they should not have been.

Many of the parents are angry and upset – I mean, how do you send a 14 year old girl to school with this guy there?  And how are you supposed to teach your children right from wrong, and not to look at porn, when this guy is in charge in any way?  But many of the parents also do not have another place to turn – this is the only Christian high school in Tallahassee.

There is no excuse for the content.  The bishop seems COMPLETELY ignorant of the fact that the ends (an uplifting story?) do not justify the means (disgusting filth).

This is disgusting.  The bishop, however, seems to be digging in.  How are you supposed to stay Catholic? … Do you or your readers have any ideas at all for what we can do?

I don’t have a hard and fast objection to a priest writing a novel that has in it sexual content. It’s part of the human condition, after all. But a priest writing about sexually active, smokin’ hot teenagers experiencing intense pre-orgasm knots in charge of a Catholic high school. Erm, no. How imprudent can a priest be to do such a thing in this day and age?

Maybe Bishop Parkes hasn’t noticed, but the Catholic Church has a credibility problem having to do with priests being sexually active with minors, and bishops turning a blind eye to its seriousness.

I don’t know what Catholic parents in this situation should do, but I welcome readers’ input. But this is as good a place as any to make a point I’m going to make more explicitly in my Benedict Option book: parents who are sitting around waiting for the institutional church to get something usefully countercultural and authentically, uncompromisingly Catholic going are wasting valuable time. It’s not going to happen. Do it yourselves. You can’t count on church bureaucrats to do the right thing in cases like this, or even to know what the right thing to do is.

Fifteen years ago, a Catholic priest friend of mine got tired of hearing another friend and me bitching and moaning about what the institutional Catholic church was doing wrong. “You’re absolutely right,” he said. “But that’s no excuse for being passive. My parents raised me in the Seventies, when the Church lost its mind. They catechized my siblings and me themselves. You have resources available to you that they could only have dreamed of. Get busy!”

Necessity is the mother of invention. The times we’re in now, and are heading into, will require faithful orthodox Catholics, and all traditionalist Christians, to learn what it means to be what Pope Benedict XVI called a “creative minority.”


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

leave a comment

Latest Articles