*Please note: This event will take place on Crowdcast. RSVP here to save your spot! 


Confessions of a Gay Priest: A Memoir of Sex, Love, Abuse, and Scandal in the Catholic Seminary (University of Iowa Press)

Tom Rastrelli is a survivor of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse who then became a priest in the early days of the Catholic Church’s ongoing scandals. Confessions of a Gay Priest divulges the clandes­tine inner workings of the seminary, providing an intimate and unapologetic look into the psychosexual and spiritual dynamics of celibacy and lays bare the “formation” system that perpetuates the cycle of abuse and cover-up that continues today. 

Under the guidance of a charismatic college campus minister, Rastrelli sought to reconcile his homosexuality and childhood sexual abuse. When he felt called to the priesthood, Rastrelli be­gan the process of “priestly discernment.” Priests welcomed him into a confusing clerical culture where public displays of piety, celibacy, and homophobia masked a closeted underworld in which elder priests preyed upon young recruits. 

From there he ventured deeper into the seminary system seeking healing, hoping to help others, and striving not to live a double life. Trained to treat sexuality like an addiction, he and his brother seminarians lived in a world of cliques, competition, self-loathing, alcohol, hidden crushes, and closeted sex. Ultimately, the “for­mation” intended to make Rastrelli a compliant priest helped to liberate him. 

Praise for Confessions of a Gay Priest:

“In demanding celibacy and damning homosexuality, the Catholic Church condemns legions of its best and brightest priests to lives of hypocrisy and shame. Rastrelli recounts his struggle with heart, wit, and courage. The Church’s loss is literature’s gain.”—Mary Roach, author, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

“This forceful memoir will immerse readers in the strain of priesthood and the difficulties of living a double life.”—Publishers Weekly

“Tom Rastrelli is a gifted writer whose personal journey is in­sightful and enormously important. Confessions of a Gay Priest is a riveting, powerful book, rich in detail and deeply relevant to the times we live in. It exposes painful truths that must be told. Read it.”—Michelangelo Signorile, author, It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality

“Tom Rastrelli’s brave, candid, self-critical memoir is part of a great tradition of spiri­tual autobiographies, from St. Augustine’s Confessions to Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain. Tom’s story differs from theirs because of his time and place. But he shares with them a commitment to hon­esty and to understanding the meaning of faith. This is an often beautiful, sometimes shocking, always important book.”—M. G. Lord, author, The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice

“Rastrelli’s carefully observed testimony speaks real truth to power. I am amazed by his ability to navigate a traumatic emo­tional landscape with such grace. This book is an essential document for the Church’s many victims of abuse.”—Garrard Conley, author, Boy Erased

“Tom Rastrelli is that unique blend of courage and talent, a remarkable personal story to tell, a passionate voice, and a sharp, skillful pen with which to fashion the tale.”—Janet Fitch, author, Chimes of a Lost Cathedral

Tom Rastrelli is director of digital communications at Willamette University. He lives in Salem, Oregon.

Janet Fitch is an American author  and teacher of fiction writing. She is the author of the #1 national bestseller White Oleander, a novel translated into 24 languages, an Oprah Book Club book and the basis of a feature film, Paint It Black, also widely translated and made into a 2017 film, and her epic novels of the Russian Revolution, The Revolution of Marina M. and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral. Additionally, she has written a young adult novel, Kicks, short stories, essays, articles, and reviews, contributed to anthologies and regularly teaches at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She lives in Los Angeles and travels whenever she gets the chance.

Event date: 
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Confessions of a Gay Priest: A Memoir of Sex, Love, Abuse, and Scandal in the Catholic Seminary Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609387099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University Of Iowa Press - April 15th, 2020

Chimes of a Lost Cathedral (Revolution of Marina M. #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316510059
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - July 2nd, 2019

The Revolution of Marina M.: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316022071
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - November 6th, 2018

Paint It Black: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316067140
Availability: Backordered
Published: Back Bay Books - October 3rd, 2007

White Oleander: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316284950
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Back Bay Books - May 1st, 2000