2007 STORY #36: A CHRISTMAS WISH FOR TONY
This is a story of love. The love of a mother for her son. My son, Tony, was born July 28, 1970. What an Italian bundle of joy. Tony loved everyone, and he loved spaghetti. Growing up was such an adventure, doing all the kid things with best friends. Catholic grade-school and the honor of being an altar boy were a must.
But, alas, thirteen years of joy were all that were allowed my child, because a priest from our parish molested him, while on an overnight at a hotel. Fun times were slowly and insidiously replaced with all the pain and sorrow that a pedophile, disguised as a priest, can inflict on a precious child. It was in 1989 that I asked my son for the first time if he thought he might have been abused by this priest, as we were made aware that others had been.
The second time I asked was in 2002 when the Boston clergy abuse scandal made national headlines. Both times he said no. In 2004, at the age of 33, when his body and mind were ready, the memory returned. I felt the burden of the past would finally be lifted, and then we could move forward, and with the help of the Archdiocese and all the caring priests and bishop, healing could begin. My son would be returned to me. How very wrong I was, and the many years of faithful trust in my church were snuffed out in rejection, in litigation, in deposition, in undisguised disdain for my family and my dear son.
The overwhelming disappointment and hurt at the godless tactics of my church were utterly profound. However, clergy abuse without atonement, could not take from my son his courage, integrity and inner strength. It did take his identity, that soul part of his being that is so crucial to wellness, peace, and joy. This Christmas season marks the fourth year that we have traveled this long and arduous road. Please, don’t be sad, for this story is far from over.
We are working on a “five year plan” where health will be restored and the mind will be at ease. Learning to live in the present, there is great possibility for joy, and each moment contains the hope of a better tomorrow. The courageous people of SNAP, the tireless efforts of professionals and legislatures to abolish the statute of limitations, and all the endearing love of mothers, will heal my Tony. We accept that clergy abuse will remain a part of who he is, but every survivor has the power to transcend the “sins of the Father” to find their true being, which is our inherent right, for the time we spend on this great planet, earth.
May the joy of Christmas be yours,