Cocaine Christians: The New Face of the Catholic Church

Traditionally cocaine was seen as a party drug. A means for the very wealthy or the very poor to unwind and take edge off. It’s said that clubbers, ravers and people who dance to music use it to aid with their enjoyment of the music. But what if it’s not just for appreciating DJs and their work? What if you could also use it to appreciate God and her work? Well that’s what could might even be happening in a small church in Letterboyle, Co. Athlone.

Letterboyle is how you’d imagine a small picturesque town in the Irish countryside. It’s just like something out of a picture or postcard. If you can imagine that. The fields are green. The sky is blue or grey or black. The roads are a light dark colour. The trees are brown with green on the top. And the sidewalks are a load of wet grass. Green grass. The last place you’d imagine there to be the Cocaine Catholics of Letterboyle.

“The last place you’d imagine there to be the Cocaine Catholics of Letterboyle.”

But this is where this story had led me. On my first meeting with The Priest I was surprised how friendly and energetic he was. We shook hands and he took me into his kitchen where teas and cakes were laid on a small table. We exchanged pleasantries as I sipped and bit. But just as I was getting to the heart of the issue, the cocaine use, he took a turn and almost collapsed from fatigue. I thought he was just a really chill guy so I continued to question him. But there was no response. I’d hit a roadblock in my investigation. And that really got me down. But just as it was looking like I’d have to return to this shithole of a town tomorrow The Priest woke with a bolt. He apologized profusely. He took a sniff of some salts and was back to his jovial best. And we continued.

“So,” I asked “What’s with the blow?” The Priest took a long blink before answering “God talks to me through cocaine. I used to be an alcoholic and then one day after a hard week on the bottle I felt I’d nowhere to go. I felt I couldn’t go on. I wanted to keep drinking but I couldn’t muster the energy. That’s when I found coke. It was what got me back to feeling, not just good, but great. And there was no looking back.” His eyes returned to darting around the room, fondly recalling his past.

“Nobody can take my cocaine from me”

“Wow that’s sick.” I replied “And what does the Pope think?”

“The Pope can go and shite” He barked and held a mean stare at me. “He doesn’t know me and he can’t judge me.” I asked. “Is that the kind of thing you’d say? For a quote?” He nodded back and that was enough for this reporter.

We chatted more. Or he did as I drank cup after cup of teas while his went cold. The more he talked the more I got the idea the impression that this is a really cool dude that really believes in what he says. That doesn’t mean that he is any less of a Priest. And his congregation really like him. They were constantly knocking on the door to give contributions to the Church fund.

We arranged to meet up again the next day. But he never showed up and I couldn’t get through to him. It was fine since I’d already made my word count from the first interview so I was happy that I’d successfully reported the balls off this story. Fuck you dad. ∎

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