A Catholic affirmation

Sacramento public relations person and former altar boy

I was not molested! There, I got that off my chest. I just felt the need to state that fact in light of the current problems within the Catholic Church and the continual media coverage of the scandal.

I grew up Catholic in a very pious Irish-German family, and every night we had a family rosary. I attended parochial school, weekly confession and church services, and I was an altar boy. In fact, you could call me an alpha altar boy. I volunteered for every assignment. I served at the 6:30 Mass every morning, seven days a week. I volunteered to do all the services, benedictions, novenas, funerals and weddings. I was with the priests all the time. I spent time in the rectory observing the parish priests in their living quarters. These priests were my heroes. I loved the ceremonies of the Catholic faith—the vestments, the Latin language. I helped the priests get ready for the service, set the altar, and helped the priest with his vestments. I could recite the whole mass in Latin. The parish priest came to our house for Sunday dinners. I thought the priests, especially the ones with the Irish brogues, were the coolest.

I was the eldest of seven children. I was encouraged to be a priest to make my parents proud. I even spent a short time in a seminary one summer. What I’m trying to describe is how much time I spent with the priests. The opportunity was there. I was not molested.

This molestation scandal with the Catholic Church is an aberration—totally wrong, but also sensational. The story, “Former Altar Boy Not Molested,” does not sell many newspapers. There are lots of priests who are in contact with kids every day, doing what they are supposed to do: teaching the words of the Catholic faith, enforcing the sacred trust that has been bestowed on them by the Holy Father in the Vatican. The Church will weather this scandal. The Church will be more observant for scandalous behavior. There will be more people coming out of the woodwork stating all kinds of things, grabbing headlines. Their attorneys will hold press conferences. I just want you to remember a headline you will not see: “Former Altar Boy Not Molested.”