Friday, January 8, 2010

They Basically Were God

The story concerned a bankruptcy involving Jesuit priests in the Northwest, a case filed primarily because of exposure to lawsuits brought by people who as children were sexually abused by priests. The judge in that case is requiring that all potential victims step forward by Nov. 30. What caught the attention of Don and Jim was the name of one of the abusers in western Montana - Father Bernard Harris. The past came hurtling into the present. "I just thought, 'Yay! That son of a bitch. Somebody is finally on to him,' " Don recalled. Said Jim:
"I really couldn't believe it, that something was happening. I've lived with this every day of my life, and now something is going to happen."
Jim and Don were altar boys at St. Francis. They kept the censers full, lit candles, made sure the cassocks were properly hung. It was an honor the boys took seriously.
"We worked very closely with the priests, and they were very good to us," Jim said. "You felt you were serving God, and the priests were right there next to God. At church, they basically were God."
Don usually served with his little brother Bill, who was a year younger. The boys worked with all the priests, and recall liking them all. "They were good to us, knew our families very well, always gave us a hug or a clap on the back," Jim remembered. One day when Jim was in the fourth grade, Father Harris came over to him in the altar boys' dressing room, gave him a hug, then ........................ Jim froze.

Read the rest of this horrendous story (here)
Photo is of Fr. Harris (here)

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