What I am beginning to understand is that you and Father Geidman were at odds with each other and clashing. You tried to keep your distance from him, but it was difficult because you both were at the same school. And you had a love/hate relationship with him. Okay, I get all that. But you still have not told me what He has to do with the Second Coming and Rock and Roll!
When I was seventeen, and a junior in high school, (1970) there was a tragic death in my family. My three-year-old brother, Daniel, died as a result of injuries in a car accident, according to the death certificate. I had been extremely close to him and his sudden and tragic death had a devastating effect on my parents, my siblings, my relatives, myself, and everyone else who knew him. Both my parents were alone with him when he died at the hospital. My mother said that when he was pronounced expired, she heard the flapping of wings at his side and knew the angels had taken him directly to heaven. The following dates chronicle his accident and ultimate death.
March 3, 1970
A few of my siblings had come home for lunch. Mom had fixed them lunch and they were walking back to school. Daniel had slipped out of the house and followed them down Cherry St. Mom did not know Daniel had left the house. She thought he was in the house with her. Daniel darted out in front of an oncoming car as he followed his siblings across the street and was struck by the oncoming car. When word reached mom, she rushed to the scene. Daniel was taken to the local hospital where he received treatment. He stayed in the hospital for several weeks before he was released home.
March 20, 1970?????????
My brother was released from the hospital in a full body cast and returned home in the care of my mother. I had a large bed, so we brought it downstairs and set it up in the living room for Daniel. That way he had plenty of room and would be in the company of others at all times. I wanted to be with him as much as I could during his recovery so I came straight home from school every day so that I could be with him. During his recovery I was at his side, reading him stories and teaching him about God and Jesus from the Catholic Baltimore Catechism. I spend all my free time with him reading to him and teaching him what I knew about God. We became even closer and more bonded during his recovery. My grandmother was a nurse and became involved in his care at home. So I knew he was getting good care from her.
Sunday, April 26th, 1970
Today was a bright, sunny, warm and beautiful day. It was around 50 degrees and I had been cooped up inside the house for several weeks caring for my brother and I just wanted to go outside and enjoy the weather. So, I went to my brother's side and told him I was going to be gone for a few hours and that I would be back very soon. He wanted to go with me. I told him he could not go with me. Then he begged me not to leave. I told him that mom was there and if he needed anything just to let her know. He then began to cry, very hard, and continued to beg me not to leave. I told him that I had not been out for a very long time and just wanted to go out for a few hours and enjoy the weather. He was crying very hard and continued to beg me not to leave, as I left his side and left the house.
It felt so good to be outside and I thoroughly enjoyed the weather. I was gone for only about two hours. When I returned home I went directly to my brother's bedside, but he was not there. I quickly learned from family members what had happened. They told me that shortly after I left the house Daniel became unresponsive. He had slipped into a coma and was taken to the local hospital, and then transferred to Children's Hospital. He never came out of the coma and was pronounced dead the following Tuesday. His death certificate states that he died from meningitis. I asked my mother about that. She told me that the doctors did not know why he died, and they wanted permission to do an autopsy. But my parents refused an autopsy. So, they had to put something down, and that something was meningitis. But I knew what he had died from. A broken heart. He was fine just before I had told him I was leaving the house. He was fine before he had started to cry and begged me not to leave. If I had not left him, he never would have gone into a coma. He was crying so hard it must have triggered something that sent him into a coma, and he never recovered. The following article from my hometown newspaper, published on Wednesday, April 29, 1970 describes, in part, what happened. It errored on his birth date, which is February 2, 1967.
April 29, 1970
April 29, 1970
April 29, 1970
Daniel's Gravesite. We called him "Chopper".
May 4, 1970
Daniel died on Tuesday, April 28, 1970. His funeral was Thursday, April 30, 1970. I returned to school the following Monday, on May 4, 1970. Many of the nuns from school and all my friends came to the visiting hours at the funeral home, but when I returned to school after the funeral, no one even mentioned my loss. It was as if it had never even happened. Not one word was spoken about the love that I lost. Life went on as usual and I returned to the same routine I had left. My loss was never brought into any conversation that day. Not one of the priests, nuns, or teachers asked me how I was doing or expressed their sympathy. None of them ever approached me with any kind words nor comforted me. Not even any of my friends. No one seemed to care. Everyone just looked the other way. That really confused me because all my life I had been taught that the priests and nuns were representatives of Jesus. None of them were acting like the Jesus I had been schooled about all my life and my thinking began to change that very day.
It was on this day, May 4, 1970 that I began to see another side of life and began to question the very existence of God. I had believed in God up to this point in my life. I had believed that He had a Son named Jesus. I believed the stories I heard about Jesus and other stories from the Bible. But this day I began to question many things I had been taught about God and the Catholic Church. I became very emotionally distraught and disillusioned with my Catholic upbringing. I questioned many things that I had been taught since my youth. My whole thinking about God and the Catholic Church began to change. What I had been taught all my life was not adding up with what I was experiencing. I just was not buying into what I had been taught anymore. Some of the teachings of the Catholic Church began to seem false to me. I just was not seeing what I had heard all my life. I felt I did not fit in the school anymore because my beliefs changed. I sensed something very wrong. The Catholic Church had been my life. My life had been focused around the Church. Why were things so out of sync now?
When my brother died, I was seventeen and my mother began to treat me differently. I don't know if she blamed me for his death or not, but she became very resentful of me. She would not wash my clothes with the rest of the family's clothes. I had to wash my own clothes and there was to be none of my sibling's clothes in with mine. She quit giving me money. She began to ignore my needs. She would not attend any of my parent/teacher conferences. One day, not long after my brother died, an old lady came to our house and I was notified by both my parents that I would be going to live with her. They had told me nothing about this. I did not know this lady; I did not want to go with this lady. I begged my father to let me stay at home and he caved in and said that I did not have to go live with the old lady. She was disappointed, but I was relieved. But my mother still resented me and treated me like a visitor in the home instead of like her own child. She rarely talked to me anymore. So yes, I became confused about my parents and about the God I had learned about all my life. My thinking about life had changed.
Why my thinking had changed
I could not understand how the loving God whom I had heard about all my life could harm a young child and allow him to suffer like Daniel suffered and then to die. I could not understand why God took the love of my life, my precious little brother away from me. Not only this, but there was great friction between my mother and myself immediately following my brother's death. When my brother was born on February 2, 1967, she basically handed him over to me to raise, stating something to the effect of, "You're taking care of this one." "This one" was my parents twelfth child. I was thirteen (almost fourteen) years old. I had to quit all after school activities and had to come home directly from school to care for him. He consumed a great majority of my time. I read stories to him quite frequently and taught him everything I knew about God from the Catholic Baltimore Catechism. Not only was I caring for him but I had to take care of the needs of my other younger brothers also.
A little more about my mother's mentality
My mother was conceived out of wedlock. I was able to get her parents' marriage certificate to verify this. Her parents had to get married. When her mother (my grandmother) realized she was pregnant, she got married. Her parents were married on February 18, 1928. My mother was born on September 15, 1928. Seven months after her parents were married, my mother was born. The story I got from my mother was that her mother resented her because she was not a planned child. Her mother resented her the day she was born and paid little attention to her. She said she spent the majority of her time with her mother's two sisters, who gave her the attention and love she needed. But she never got the attention and love she craved for from her mother. Her mother had two more children, two sons. When my mother was old enough to care for them, her mother basically put the demands on raising the two boys on my mother's shoulders. She became their "second mother" and had to care for them continuously. So, when my mother became a mother herself, she carried this faulty mentality into her marriage. All of her daughters had to care for all of her sons, because that's the way she was raised, and that was the way it became in her household. My two sisters and I became victims of this messed up thinking, and there was nothing we could do about it. When I was very young, possibly as young as five years old, this mentality was in place in our home. If I refused to take care of my younger male siblings, I was beaten with a belt. I had so many welts on my legs from these beatings.
My mother's two brothers were accepted by their mother because they were born after marriage. They got love, affection and attention from their mother; the love, affection and attention that my mother so craved, but never got from her mother. My mother wanted out of her house and away from her mother. So, when my father came along and proposed to her, she saw it as a ticket out of her house and away from her mother. She was married on October 18, 1947 at age nineteen, and had her first child on December 23, 1948, fourteen months later, at the age of twenty. When I asked her why she married dad, she replied, "Because I wanted to get away from my mother and because your father was Catholic." I expected her to say something like, "Because I loved him," or "Because he loved me," or "He made me happy", or something to that effect. But love did not even seem to factor in. Back in those days it was forbidden to marry outside of one's religion. My mother was Catholic and had to marry someone who was Catholic. Nearly all my relatives were Catholic, and both sets of grandparents were Catholic. So, I was raised in a nearly entirely environment consumed by Catholicism.
I have no regrets about being raised Catholic. We were taught very high morals and values. And I believe we were taught a lot of correct beliefs along with a lot of false teachings. The following is an excerpt from the book "Revelation The Revelation of Jesus Christ" by Robb Moser.
The most crucial problem with the Roman Catholic Church is its belief that faith alone in Christ is not sufficient for salvation. The Bible clearly and consistently states that receiving Jesus Christ as Savior, by grace through faith, grants salvation (John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10, 13; Ephesians 2:8-9). The Roman Catholic Church rejects this. The official position of the Roman Catholic Church is that a person must believe in Jesus Christ AND be baptized as an infant, AND receive the many sacraments offered by the Church, AND obey the decrees of the Roman Catholic Church, AND perform meritorious works, AND not die with any mortal sins AND, AND, AND, etc., etc., etc. Any claim that works or rituals must be added to faith in order for salvation to be achieved is that Jesus’ death was not sufficient to fully purchase our salvation. The Catholic Church teaches that there is no salvation apart from participation in the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church teaches that the sacraments are necessary for salvation and that there are three main sacraments that necessitate salvation; baptism, penance, and the Eucharist/Mass.
While salvation by faith is the most crucial issue, in comparing Roman Catholicism with the Word of God, there are many other differences and contradictions as well. The Roman Catholic Church teaches many doctrines that are in disagreement with what the Bible declares. These include apostolic succession, worship of saints or Mary, prayer to saints or Mary, the pope/papacy, infant baptism, transubstantiation, plenary indulgences, the sacramental system, and purgatory. While Catholics claim Scriptural support for these concepts, none of these teachings have any solid foundation in the clear teaching of Scripture. These concepts are based on Catholic tradition, not the Word of God. In fact, they all clearly contradict Biblical principles.
It is impossible to give a universal statement on the salvation of all members of any denomination of Christianity. Not ALL Baptists are saved. Not ALL Presbyterians are saved. Not ALL Lutherans are saved. Salvation is determined by personal faith in Jesus alone for salvation, not by titles or denominational identification. Despite the unbiblical beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, there are genuine believers who attend Roman Catholic churches. There are many Roman Catholics who have genuinely placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. However, these Catholic Christians are believers despite what the Catholic Church teaches, not because of what it teaches. To varying degrees, the Catholic Church teaches from the Bible and points people to Jesus Christ as the Savior. As a result, people are sometimes saved in Catholic churches. The Bible has an impact whenever it is proclaimed (Isaiah 55:11). Catholic Christians remain in the Catholic Church out of ignorance of what the Catholic Church truly stands for, out of family tradition and peer pressure, or out of a desire to reach other Catholics for Christ.
At the same time, the Catholic Church also leads many people away from a genuine faith relationship with Christ. The unbiblical beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church have often given the enemies of Christ opportunity to blaspheme. The Roman Catholic Church is not the church that Jesus Christ established. It is not a church that is based on the teachings of the Apostles (as described in the Book of Acts and the New Testament epistles). While Jesus’ words in Mark 7:9 were directed towards the Pharisees, they accurately describe the Roman Catholic Church, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”
The Catholic Church I belonged to was a very beautiful place of worship with stained glass windows, high ceilings, huge chandeliers, and statues of angels, saints, and Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It was constructed of Berean sandstone, built in the Victorian Gothic Style, and completed in 1898. It was 55 years old when I was born. I attended Mass every weekday, Monday through Friday, before class began at the Catholic School, every Sunday and every holy day. I would go to confession every Saturday and kneel before each and every station of the cross and say a prayer. My family has told me that if they could not find me anywhere, they would find me at church. (Luke 2:49) I observed all the rules, laws, and regulations of the Roman Catholic Church.
At Christmas the Church was so beautifully decorated with a crib scene, evergreen trees and many other ornaments. And midnight Mass on Christmas Eve was a very wonderful experience. All the services were so elaborate and so interesting, even though I never understood a word of it because it was said in Latin up until the mid-1960’s. I sang in the choir for years and thoroughly loved it. When I was young, we would say the rosary as a family. We observed all the rules and regulations of the church. I loved going to Mass and being in the Church. But all this began to change on May 4, 1970 when I began to see life differently.
When school was dismissed for the summer in 1970, I had about three months to clear my mind before deciding if I even wanted to return to the Catholic high school for my senior year. At that time in my life, I would have disappointed my mother, and especially my grandfather, if I did not graduate from the Catholic high school. I had stayed there this long and I did not want to give up my social life nor my friends. Not only that, but I had gone to the same Catholic School all my life and I felt I should graduate from there since my roots were there and I was grounded there. But my beliefs were not there. Both my parents went to this Catholic School for twelve years and graduated from there. If I left now, I would be walking away from everything I had ever known. I only had one more year of school left before I graduated. If I left now, there would be trouble with my family. If I stayed my spirit would be troubled. I was not sure I should return to the Catholic school for my senior year. I did not know if I even wanted to return. Should I stay or should I go?
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The Clash - 1981