Faith Remains Despite Chilling Encounter with Pedophile Priest
By Bob Schilling
South Coast Today
September 1, 2018
Father Brennan was the pastor of St. Theresa’s Church in Shavertown, Pennsylvania. He taught me to be an altar boy, back in ancient times when that included memorizing and reciting substantial portions of the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Mass. We all looked up to him, sought his approval and feared his wrath for occasional slips in the dead foreign tongue.
It was at the beginning of the sixties, that strangest, iconic turning point of a decade, that I got the call from Fr. Brennan with a great opportunity to serve beyond the altar. He asked me to “babysit” the rectory telephone while he tended to ailing Catholics at the local hospital. What an honor to be called! That evening, he picked me up in his big, black sedan and brought me to the rectory, that dark and mysterious place where he said that it was the housekeeper’s night off. He showed me where the soda was in the fridge and went off to make his rounds after showing me how to work the TV, an unmentioned option to the homework that was my parents’ plan. He returned in about two hours and drove me back the short trip to my home. He gave me a big smile, a warm thanks and a monetary reward that was thrilling but probably didn’t amount to more than a buck.
The next week, another call came for the same task. Babysitting a telephone! What a deal! What an honor! The big, black car came at the same time and we were off to the rectory! But when we got there, he told me that he’d gotten a call from the hospital and that, lo, his ministrations weren’t required that particular evening. No problem though, he said, we can just watch TV for awhile and then I’ll take you back home.
When I sat on the sofa, he sat next to me. Weirdly close. Seconds later, he wanted to tickle. Tickle? What the heck? Who was this grown man who wanted to tickle a 12 year-old boy? Get away from me!
And he did.