Growing up in a Catholic Family

August 22nd, 2018 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »


Full disclosure. I was never physically molested by a person of the cloth. I’ve been verbally abused, but most of us have had that experience sometime from someone in power regardless of our faith.

When I was a pre-teen and wanted to be a priest, my Italian grandfather used to tell me regularly that I shouldn’t be so “impressed” by them. He used to say, “Nicky, the Pope is just an old man.” When he said that, I was worried that he’d be going straight to hell, but I’m pretty sure now that wouldn’t have been a problem.

When President Kennedy was killed, I was a complete wreck because I had read that he ate bacon for breakfast that Friday morning. At that time, that was also a “Hell” infraction. Of course that was before I had heard about his other extracurricular activities. Naivety can be a wonderful protector.

A decade after that, my dear Italian grandmother died. To say she was religious would literally be “the understatement of the year.” As a young woman, she had made a Pilgrimage to Assisi and even had a tattoo on her right arm that the participants received for making the last mile up the mountain to the Church of St. Francis on her knees.

Grandma died and the new priest pulled up to the funeral home in a white Mercedes. He came inside to talk to my dad about her funeral, and then this happened. “Mr. Jacobs, I don’t care if she came to church every day of the year, I won’t do this funeral mass unless you pay me $100 upfront.” (That’s $580.06 now.)

Two years later my dad died. He had been suffering from lung cancer and didn’t make it to church very often because of that. During that time, he received last rites from another new priest.

Except for that meeting, they were not well acquainted. During the sermon at my father’s funeral, the priest said, “Charlie, snuck into heaven through the back door” because he wasn’t attending church regularly. Then his entire sermon was a lecture about abortion. Nothing about my dad.

Later in my life I went to work for a Catholic Hospital. There I met several nuns who, when you looked into their eyes, you could literally see heaven. They used to say, “Don’t go to those priests for confession. Some of them are very bad people.” I should have listened.

As it turned out, several of those priests were exposed in the Altoona/Johnstown predator report. Some of those ladies must have known and had no where to go because even the DA’s of that era along with the monsignors, bishops, cardinals, and the Vatican have been implicated.

Many of my Catholic friends will point out to me that the church is not solely its leadership, but its members. It is also a human organization run by humans with human flaws. No human organization is perfect. They will say they are members based on their personal faith. So by lumping all members with these criminals I am basically accusing all of them who continue to remain faithful to the teachings of the church of the same crimes.

That is certainly not my intent. Just like I didn’t accuse my Penn State friends of being part of the Sandusky scandal. What I am saying, however, is that these heinous crimes should be punished to the full extent of the law. The statute of limitations should be lifted. Judges should not be able to take donations as potential hush money from those related to the church, and, for God and the kids’ sake, let priests get married, or at least screen out the pedophiles. Let women enter the priesthood. These were illicit sex rings run with the knowledge of church leadership.

As Blood Sweat and Tears used to sing… I pray there ain’t no hell. (Because it’s gonna be full of unholy men.)



  1. George Susko says:

    John and Mary were a young couple, engaged to be married, but , tragically died in a car accident. At the Pearly Gate, John asks St. Peter, “Can we still get married, now that we’re in heaven. “ St. Peter replied, “Well that’s unusual, but give me some time to work on this and I’ll let you know. Time goes by, eventually John is summoned back to the Gate. St. Peter says, “Well John, I have this finally arranged, you and Mary can get married. John says, Well, I’ve been in heaven awhile now, I’m having such a good time, I’m not sure if I still want to get married. Tell you what, if we get married and it doesn’t work out, can we get a divorce.” St Peter looks as him and says, “For crying out loud, John, it took me 4 months to find a priest, how long do you think it will take to find a lawyer. “

  2. Shannon Weiss says:

    I have no idea George

Leave a Reply