Schiefelbein, Michael. “Body and Blood”, St. Martin’s 2008.
Passion and Secrets
Michael Schiefelbein spent ten years studying to be a priest and seems to have a fascination with blood as he has written four books that have something to do with it. He also writes about sex and he does so well.
In “Body and Blood” sixteen year old Chris Sieb out main character remembers when he was a student in a Catholic seminary and had a heavy crush on a fellow student, Jack Cranston. Twenty-five years later, we find Jack serving in a diocese in Kansas City where he and Chris meet again but Chris is now Father Sieb and living a deeply closeted life. Yet upon seeing each the old romance is rekindled and the two men begin having an affair which is highly secret. However, shortly after it began the two men learn that a former classmate, another closeted priest, died suddenly from an apparent suicide. The archbishop suddenly receives a letter that says that a great deal has been happening between the priests. Chris also begins to notice that Jack is hiding something which may be related to his friend’s death. Chris also realizes that the threat that Jack represents could cause a great deal of trouble. As the two men are surrounded by mystery, they must come into their own.
This is a very powerful character study that goes beyond the usual as it looks the conflict between personal needs and desires in opposition to religious belief, Chris and Jack struggle with their sexuality which is regarded as a double sin in the Catholic church—that of ignoring the vows of celibacy and their own sexual preference. Such is the issue of faith when the human mind is in conflict with requirements of G-D.
Written with a high sense of style, it will keep you turning pages.