A quick survey of our Catholic university library turned up four similar collections: Pilgrims All: Short Stories by Contemporary Catholic Writers (1943), Stories of Our Century by Catholic Authors (1949), A Spoiled Priest
and Other Stories (1950), and The Substance of Things Hoped For (1988).
The particular variant on general apostasy that Joyce is concerned with in this story is known in Irish folklore as a "spoiled priest
": the man who rejects the gift of a priestly vocation.
He continued: ``So, the last remains of that spoiled priest
suffered the fate of a Catholic saint,''but qualifies it incontext,adding,``such behaviour would not have surprised Milton, who had,in general, a low opinion of the human race.''
He is currently putting the finishing touches to an autobiography entitled The Spoiled Priest
in which he will recount his remarkable story.
His antithesis in the mission field was his predecessor in Kikanga, a "spoiled priest
" figure who was as beloved among the Congolese as Price was disdained.
Unlike today, there was a severe stigma in leaving the group, and the fear of that stigma (a "spoiled priest
" in the case of an Irish seminarian who quit before ordination, or a "shepherd in the mist" in the case of a man who left the priesthood itself) functioned as a strong deterrent.
Those who left the seminary were considered, along with those who later left the priesthood, to be failures, "deserters," as the prince of melancholy, Pope Paul VI once put it, "spoiled priests
," as women said shaking their heads as they chatted after morning Mass.