Things Were Simpler Then

By Daniel Carlson
Wanishing Predators blog
August 18, 2019

Growing up, I had the immense good fortune to spend a great deal of time at the home of my grandparents. While each of them influenced me in very powerful and positive ways, it was my grandmother who guided me in the world of the Catholic Church. An unwavering example of faith and devotion, it was she who introduced me to that important part of my life.

Through her, I learned the language and rituals of my religion … prayer … regular confessions … the Rosary … Stations of the Cross … Holy Days of Obligation … and, for those who remember the “old” days … no meat on Friday … no such thing as Saturday Mass … and, of course, if receiving Communion on Sunday, nothing to eat after midnight on Saturday.  

Today, though, living the Catholic religion requires much more than simple knowledge of historic liturgical rituals and prayers. Instead, a modern working vocabulary for the faithful has been expanded to include terms like … credibly accused … statute of limitations … laicization …and mandatory reporting. And, of course, if you are a parishioner interested in volunteering in any capacity, make sure you have completed your Safe Environment training.

Clearly, things have changed in the Catholic Church, and the tumult continues. In New York State, for example, the newly enacted Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for future acts of child sex abuse, while providing a one-year “look back” window during which charges can be brought regardless of when the abuse occurred. This new legislation, which went into effect on August 14, is expected to result in hundreds of new lawsuits against the Catholic Church and other entities in New York.


For me, my grandmother always represented the perfect model of a life lived as a devout Catholic. Raised in a large family in upstate New York, two of her brothers became priests in the Diocese of Rochester, while one of her nieces joined an order of nuns in Syracuse. Across her life, my grandmother endured family tragedy and disappointment but, as a far as I could tell, they never weakened her faith. She had great affection for her parish priests and, though she liked some better than others, she trusted and respected them all.  

My grandmother passed away in 1979 and, difficult though this is to say, I am grateful she is not here to witness what has happened to The Church she loved.


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