A reader writes:
Thanks for publishing these. I feel more Catholic knowing we are fighting this.
Here's my story: In 1967, when I was 9, my devoutly Catholic family moved from a small Midwestern town to a small Massachusetts town. In the new town, on top of the culture shock of going from the plains to the coast, I felt a palpable tension in the working class parish that also had a convent and parochial school. Many of my classmates at St. Mary's school attended Mass at "St. Evan's" in the next town. St. Evan's was everything St. Mary's was not; it was newly built and progressive, and the St. Mary's parishioners seemed to resent it as if it were a rebuke. I thought it was because our parish was dying, and maybe it was. I always wished we could go to St. Evan's because our priests were either old and cranky, young and weird (the guy with the red silk-lined cape stood out), or wonderful and transferred soon, over the howls of the parishioners.
Years later I opened a Newsweek magazine and read the caption under a photograph of a man standing on some church steps. The church was St. Mary's and the story was about the sexual abuse of children in the parish by a priest named Father P. The time-frame of this abuse was the 1960's prior to 1967. I sadly realized the older siblings of some of my classmates must have been his victims. I wondered if it explained St. Evan's.
One of my dearest classmates at St. Mary's had been Billy, the youngest of