originally posted by Bamfette
There is some confusion over this, wether Nightcrawler was ever a priest or not. The short answer is NO. He was never a priest. (though he believed he was for a while) He was, however, studying to become a priest. But even that is over with now.
in X-Men #100, a '6 month gap' was stated to have taken place, and in the opening pages showed a church with Kurt dressed in priestly robes. This was the first mention of his involvement with the priesthood. Up until that point, he had been a religious character but had never expressed any interest in joining the clergy. though there was one alternate future shown in Excalibur where in later life, after his wife Amanda had died, he became a priest. So, this development came as quite a shock to many readers, as there was absolutely no leadup to it.
Anyway. afterwards, he continued his studies, he initially passed up leading the X-Men (Gambit and Rogue led in light of his refusal) to devote more time to his studies. he presided over Moira MacTaggart's funeral despite not being fully ordained yet. But other than that, not much was done with it for quite some time.
Then the books were 're-vamped' and Grant Morriosn and Joe Casey took over writing duties. Joe Casey had Kurt on his team in Uncanny, acting as a sort of co-leader with Archangel. (though no official leader was ever stated) his uniform ported the priest's dog-collar, though agian, he was stated at this time to be still *studying* to be a priest. The collar was merely a way to show his vocation without having him state it every issue, quite frankly i found it to be a relief for that reason.
Then the Church of Humanity came along. Now it gets confusing
In Uncanny X-Men #400, the X-Men went to 'the Cathedral' in Montanna to rescue Stacy X, who had fallen into the hands of the Church of Humanity. Nightcrawler teleported into the heart of the Cathedral, where he encountered the Supreme Pontiff. The SP zapped him with some form of energy which i presume to be mystical in nature. While Kurt was dazed, the SP said to him "Prepare to gaze into my abyss, mutant. Prepare to surrentder to me that which you value most..." after that we saw no more, the X-Men found him unconsious on the floor, and revived him, though he had no memory of the encounter at all.
Shortly later, in the Nightcrawler Icons miniseries, he began studying under the guidance of Father Whitney out of the Chuch of Michael the Archangel in Brooklyn. he seemed like a good, if somewhat jaded, man. But he was more than he appeared.
Somewhere along the line, Kurt begins saying he's been ordained. (UXM#408) he has a run in with some more CoH guys who instead of killing him, leave him alive because the Supereme Pontiff has 'plans' for him.
Chuck Austen took over writing duties as of Uncanny #410. He decided he did not like Kurt as a priest, so went about getting him out.
Kurt begins questioning his place in the preisthood, because he got horny, basically Stacy X had made some rather obvious advances on him, and he found himself wanting to follow through with those advances, and he says as much to Whitney. That he was discovering he had the desire to be with women again and could not or was not willing to surpress it any longer. There were other issues at stake as well, Kurt was questioning the nature and benevolence of God in issue 415. He said, among other things, in a long rant atop the spires of St Patrick's Cathedral: "I have such thoughts -- feelings I can not escape -- the desires for the touch of a woman. And now another Holy War is brewing -- more fools take up weapons of murder in your name. And you allow it. perhaps even encourage it. If we take you into our hearts, does that mean fighting and killing in your name -- or not fighting and being killed in your name? Which is the right answer? And what purpose does it serve to torment your most faithful when the goal is maybe one day sitting beside you -- alone -- possibly forever apart from the ones we love and desire -- who chose wrongly or failed your uncertain tests?" etc. and he brings these concerns before Whitney. Whitney tells him to leave in not the best temper, and so that's that, he left. (UXM#416/17)
Later, when Kurt mentioned his ordination to the others, it became clear that it never actually happened, and Jean detected traces of someone tampering with his mind. They went to the Church where Kurt had been studying with Whitney and discovered mutants who had been tortured, experimetned upon and mutilated in the basement. (UXM#423) It turns out that Father Whitney is a CoH operative and they have been tampering with his mind over a long time, for some mysterious 'plan' which will be revealed in #424.
*edit* it's been revealed. here it is, in Chuck Austen's own words, cause it is confusing.
Basic premise: Father Whitney met Kurt and got the idea to use him to bring down the Catholic church. Pope of COH sponsored his research, and use of mutant 13 to mind-control Kurt into becoming pope of the catholic church. The idea being to make "Revelation" the biblical prophecy of the "End of Days," return to heaven, and return of Christ, appear to come true in order to take control of the world. Kurt ruined it by becoming horny, again. Basically, Stacy X screwed their plans by being needy.
The plan: Using Kurt and his "Image Inducer" COH would get Kurt into position as pope, either replacing the existing one, or replacing the successor. At the same time, through Catholic holy wafers, all the "righteous" would "ascend" as they do in "Left Behind." All the wafers and wine and holy water throughout the world would be tainted with a nano-tech piece of hardware that would have a cumulative effect, and have the capacity to be remotely activated, disintegrating "the faithful" and making them appear to have "ascended."
Then Kurt would be revealed as Nightcrawler, right after all the Catholics and religious "right" had disappeared in a flash of "ascension."
It's all based on religion, Revelation, and particularly, the premise of "Left Behind."
The story was to do a kind of anti-"Left Behind." The prophecies of revelation come true, all the "faithful" disappear one day in a flash (because of the holy wafers), and then the head of the church is revealed as the "anti-Christ" (who more devilish looking than Kurt?), and the "Church of Humanity" steps up and takes over, destroying mutants as the scapegoats, and the church as the primary target, all in one fell swoop.