Andrew Rannells is opening up about why he left the Catholic Church. In an excerpt from his memoir, Too Much Is Not Enough, the Girls alum says the trouble started when he served as an altar boy at Our Lady of Lourdes in Omaha, Nebraska.
“My retirement from the altar came just as my interest in it disappeared, but my relationship to priests was just about to kick into high gear,” he writes in an excerpt published in Vulture.
Rannells writes that as he struggled with his homosexuality and a man who he refers to him as “the forty-year-old,” he says that as a result of the assaults, he felt isolated and his grades slumped. He was encouraged to talk to a priest during confession.
“I sat across from him in a dark corner, our knees touching. He grabbed my neck, as expected, and I started to talk. I started to try to explain what was happening with me, but I couldn’t make the words come out right,” Rannells recalls in his memoir. “Instead, I started to cry. I was so embarrassed. Father Dominic squeezed my neck harder, and he grabbed both my hands with his free hand. His hands were like baseball mitts. We just sat there while I cried.”
“He finally said, ‘It’s okay. You’ve done nothing wrong.’ It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it still felt nice. He stood up and pulled me up with him. He hugged me tightly,” Rannells continues. “I felt safe and heard and understood. Then, with unexpected force, he kissed me. On the lips. He muscled his tongue into my mouth and held the back of my head still. Then he released me and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. He smiled.”
He says he tried to avoid the priest for the rest of the year, but that his mother invited him to his graduation party. “At some point, Father Dominic needed to leave, and he asked if I could show him out. I knew what was coming, but at this point, I didn’t care,” he writes. “I had performed and received numerous sex acts with a man I didn’t care about, and I just walked around feeling damaged. … We stood at my parents’ front door and said our good-byes for the final time, and then he grabbed me by the back of the neck and forced his tongue in my mouth. I just stood there and let him. I didn’t kiss back, but I also didn’t move. He smiled at me and walked to his car.
At that point, he says, he decided to leave Nebraska and the church.