Australia integrated the - brought on the ships and unleashed in the society the dogs of sectarianism, which had existed in other places - in Glasgow, in Liverpool and of course in Ireland, north and south.
Thomas was my true name but everyone knew me as Mick, except my mother, who knew me as definitely Michael.
And I liked pluralist Australia. I got a taste for pluralist Australia. I like, I like Australians and I can't believe that they're going to go to hell because they tell a good dirty joke, you know.
And I think my sexuality was heavily repressed by the church, by the, you know, the design of the mortal sins.
But I was also a brat. I used to belong to a gang that went looking for fights with other gangs.
In a way Australia is like Catholicism. The company is sometimes questionable and the landscape is grotesque. But you always come back.
So I was very close to ordination. I was delighted to be ordained a deacon, which is the last step between, before becoming a priest. But then it all fell apart.
And I was very interested in the priesthood.
And I found both literature and the church very dramatic presences in the world of the 1950s.
Um, what I found though about the Christian Brothers is this: that they were certainly muscular.
And so um, I knew that I really didn't want to be a priest and didn't want to be a celibate, though I could probably manage it. Um, and um, ultimately I left.
But in practice Australia - the pluralism of Australia - sorry the sectarianism to an extent stopped at the time you took your uniform off after coming home from school.
So nonetheless given the importance that was placed on sport in Australia, I wanted to be part of that scene, particularly since I had felt very strongly in my early schooling being marginalised even in the Catholic school.
You know, so I was a weird eccentric kid but I did believe in the power of the word and of the word being made flesh I suppose, which again I suppose came from my temperament as well as my upbringing.
I must apologise because I know all writers have memories of being on the outer because it's the children on the side of the playground who become the dangerous writers.
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