I try not to listen to the “popular” news but with a retiring pope, the election of a new one, a scandal or two related to the process, and now Easter week, people keep telling me about these things as though I might have an opinion or be interested in this information. I don’t. What it has done has turned up the heat in the attic, opened doors that released thoughts that have been swirling around my brain, and they will not go back where they belong. So, I will crack a window and let the heat carry my thoughts away. Many of the thoughts are not good ones, so be forewarned.
Catholic school, grades 1-8: Nuns in long black habits when I started. I loved my first grade teacher, Sister Richard Marie. I was smart, good, did not talk in class. I was trusted to deliver notes to the other classrooms – I did not betray the trust, I never read them. One day I delivered a note to the Pastor’s residence. Father insisted on showing me the residence. I didn’t like that idea – I had to get back to class. I knew better than to dilly-dally.
But he played 2 cards my 5-year-old self could not say “no” to: 1. “Don’t you trust me?” (Answer: “No I don’t.” But I was a good girl and that would not be right so I kept my mouth shut and nodded.) 2. “Do you want to see where Jesus lives?” Yes, that I did. He was talking about the tabernacle. He had one in his house. I was always bored during mass, but that Jesus lived in the tabernacle fascinated me. (Put in perspective, “I Dream of Jeannie” was on TV – and that is what my mind related this to.)
I hesitantly followed him up the stairs. The tabernacle was in his bedroom. He walked up to open it and it was locked. He told me I would need a key to open it. The key? Yep – in his underwear, underneath his priestly garb. As he was forcing my hand in to get the key, a classmate yelled my name – I was missing for so long someone was sent to find me. Terri was not a bashful child and she found her way to the doorway to witness the “event.”
We both turned and fled. She ran faster than I did, and by the time I returned to the school grounds, I was led to the front office and kept there for a long period. Finally I was met by four nuns and told that NOTHING had happened. Nothing. They heard the story from Terri and she was a known liar. They knew I was fine and the priest would never lie and I was not to repeat a word of what NEVER HAPPENED or I would BURN IN HELL. I was not to tell my parents anything about this incident. If I did, I would BURN IN HELL.
I may have been smart, I knew fact from fiction, but I was five years old.
When I asked a question at home, I was told “You are smart, you will figure it out.” My parents are avid/rabid Catholics. The only person I had any feeling of trust with was my first grade teacher and I learned I could not trust her anymore. I overheard her being told to do whatever it took to keep me calm and in line – my father was one of the major donors that kept the school doors open.
That was first grade. Layer one of the House of Cards.
As an adult I reported this to the diocese and insisted on an official investigation. My concern was not only for myself,but for the other girls that attended during the time I was there. (Small town, small school.) I wanted an investigation to prove that this happened, was covered by the school, and to provide assistance for those in need. An investigation proved the claim was valid, the priest dead of a fall from a ladder while drunk, and help extended to the women in need – 3 prostitutes, 2 with chronic mental illnesses, 3 high school drop-outs and almost all of us with subsequent traumatic abuse/rape issues. 3 of us graduated from college, 2 of us are related – my twisted Irish twin and me. None of us were unscathed. This man was there until we were in sixth grade. My sister has just started talking about it.
The new pastor? He got one of the nuns pregnant, so they eloped and got married.
And they want ME to go to confession. Seriously!?
Reality is stranger than fiction.
Categories: Lions, Tigers and Catholics, Oh my.