2007 STORY #40: A BETTER MAN
I'ts August of 1960,A priest is sitting in a living room, and trying to persuade a boys father to let the boy, who was 14 at the time, stay in the rectory, so he can play football. The dad had informed him that he was being transferred to another city, and his son would in all likelihood be gone before the season would start. The priest is one of the dads best friends, whom he met while being a star athlete at the University of Detroit. The priest is almost begging the dad, to let the boy stay, but the dad refused, saying no he has to go with us.
Well as fate would have, one week later while at Football practice the bay breaks his ankle. The priest informs the boys mother, and tells her that he will take the boy to the hospital, and assures her not to worry. The ankle had swollen so much, that the doctors informed the priest, that they could not set the ankle or put it in a cast until Monday, when the swelling would be down.
Monday morning the priest comes up to the door, and basically carries the boy to his car. he takes him to the hospital, and the ankle gets set and is put in a cast. In the priests car, on the ride home, the priest says "Would you like a hamburger, and a pop". "sure the boy says". The priest was perspiring something awful, the sweat was just running down his face. He went into the restaurant, came out with a hamburger and a pop. He gets in the car still perspiring very badly. he takes the hamburger out of the bag, and set it in crotch of the boy. As he goes to remove his hand he rubs his hand across the boy genitals and stops. The boy looks at the priest who is now sweating so bad, that he can hardly open his eyes open. The boy shoves the priests hand away and slides as far to the passengers doors as he possibly can. They rode back to the boy’s house in complete silence, and nothing was ever told of what had happened that day.
Thanks to two very informative parents, who were quite frank about who was to touch you and where people should not touch, nothing else happened. The boy never mentions this to anyone, it’s 1960, the priest is so revered by the parish no one would have believed him anyway. This was all but forgotten and years past and the boy grew into adulthood and got on with his life. But the horrific stories began to emerge from the sexual abuse brought from the hands of the clergy, on young innocent people. The thoughts of just what could have happened, began to come back. He reads and listens to the voices of anguish, and the attempt of healing and the embarrassment of what had taken place.
To think that men to whom the families of these innocent young people had entrusted their faith in. Men who were said to be called by God to lead the faithful in spiritual and emotional guidance, were in fact sick predators. And the fact that the Roman Catholic Church was trying to protect these predators, while making these poor innocent young people feel like the criminals.
And how the church tried its hardest to cover-up their abuses and continue to hide these predators as if nothing had ever happened. But the man decided to write to newspapers not to tell his story but to offer some sort of comfort to those who had suffered much more than he did. To explain to others the trauma and anguish that these poor kids have suffered with for years. And tell everyone that would listen about the cover-up perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church. And because of the courage of the of the victims to come forward, and give their testimony, the church can no longer run and hide behind.
For you can not hide from the truth, and the boy is a better man for it today.