I went to Catholic School, first through fourth grade, Sacred Heart School. My first grade teacher was Sister Louise. Sister Louise used to beat us severely. Mostly she would use her bare hands to slap our faces, but she also beat our palms with a paddle-ball paddle, and she also had a long wooden rod for other types of beatings.
I believe that most of the kids’ parents did not believe how bad she beat us. Justin, Jonathan, and George all talked to me about it later in High School, “Can you believe that shit, that shit was fucked up.” All I could say was, “Yea, I know.”
There were other stories of physical harm done to kids at Sacred Heart. I do remember some students who did not return to Sacred Heart after the first day or the first week of school, these were the kids whose parents believed them.
Now days, the police would have been to that school, the first day, and taken teachers away in handcuffs for assault and child abuse. We, all of us, could easily win a class action lawsuit today against the Catholic Church for the physical abuse that was done to us. I could write pages and pages of instances of physical abuse at Sacred Heart School, both of me, and of my classmates.
Putting the above aside for a moment, I want to talk about something else in the Catholic Church that I became aware of as a young teenager. A friend of my father had been a comptroller for a very large Catholic organization for many years, so many years, that he was trusted. Many Catholic priests had come to this comptroller with the same “problem”. These priests had accumulated over a million dollars in personal assets, and they did not want anyone to know or for anyone to find out. One of the ways in which this was happening, was through relatives and parish members bequeathing things to them in their Wills.
My mother was disgusted, that throughout our state, our country, the World, the Catholic Church solicits offerings, alms, donations, from the poorest of the poor, the people that are barely surviving, and yet the Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest institutions on Earth. The Catholic priests are millionaires, yet there are many poor people in their parish, who have a hard time paying for food, rent, and utilities.
I started off this blog post the way I did, so that I could state that I know there are some things wrong with the Catholic Church, and Catholic culture and values. Here in Dickinson, North Dakota, the Catholic Church is, and has been the primary cultural and societal influence. When there was no oil field, when the German and Ukrainian settlers first came to this area, the Catholic Church was very, very important, and it always has been.
The reason why I am writing about all of this now, is that I want to say that going to Mass, going to Confession, saying Hail Marys and Our Fathers, is not really getting it done as far as instilling human decency in these Catholic people here in Dickinson. I want to point out again, that the people here in Dickinson really treated out of state workers very badly during this last oil boom. The people who mistreated the out of state workers the most, were the real estate agents, the property managers, and the property investors here in Dickinson. Not only did the real estate agents, property managers, and property investors make the rent and housing prices quadruple, they helped to make sure that there was a scarcity of housing and no inexpensive housing alternatives, by making sure there were no new trailer parks or man-camps constructed outside of Dickinson.
If you read the Bible, what you are supposed to do if you are a Christian, you will read sayings and teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus once said, so as you do to the least of my people, so do you to me. Therefore, if you are a Christian, you should watch what you do, to everybody! Jesus didn’t say, so as you do to the people who are from this area ….
There is a big flaw in Catholicism, if you go to Mass every Sunday, and you do not know some simple teachings from the Bible. “What profiteth a man that he gain the whole World, yet lose his soul? Or, what shall he give in exchange for his soul?”
You can go and look at the Real Estate Multiple Listing Guide in Dickinson, and you can look at the smiling photographs of the realtors in Dickinson, good good Catholics all! People who have connections, and can really get things done! Yet there is no homeless shelter in Dickinson. Did I mention, that the Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest institutions in the World?
There are probably some Catholics reading this right now, and they are probably screaming, “We don’t have to help people! We don’t have to help anybody!” If you don’t like this post, you are sure to not like the next post, “German Catholics In North Dakota Part II”.