1989 Was a bad year for me and I was at a low point. My marriage of 20 years had failed, I left a job I Ioved and I left a place I loved. I was working in a dreadful little place and my employer we will call John. John is an old friend and I was fortunate to land there. Like all of us John had his warts but he is a decent and good man and is a rabid catholic. I used the word rabid, not in the mad dog sense but rather to emphasise the degree of his faith. As a true believer John believes that his faith in God will solve all problems. 
That sets the background. Knowing I was struggling John asked me to join him at a church where one of the founders of the charismatic Christian movement was speaking. With reluctance I agreed. It was a -20° F night and off we went into the black night deep in the Catskill mountains. And we arrived. It was a small country church nesseled in a mountain valley. Walking in we were met with a wall of heat as the church was filled with the devout overflowing with the hope and glory of their faith. There were crutches, wheel chairs and other assorted sicknesses. It appears that this priest is a healer too. 
As we arrived late the only seats were in front. Uh oh. The priest started the evening with priestly words and he was an exceptional speaker. One of the best I have heard-ever. Clearly he was filled with the glory of his faith. He then introduced Mrs ? who was said to have the gift of discernment. 
The sheep were then invited to line up to speak with Mrs? And then the priest. The middle filled as people lined up. First they would speak with Mrs ? and then the priest. As the first man reached the priest I could see he said a short prayer and then touched the forehead. …..AND DOWN HE WENT! Many of the others who followed went down. Some twitched for quite a while. Like they were hit with a hammer and into the waiting arms of the faithful who were positioned to catch people. Holy crap. Yes I know what I said. 
As the line end reached John and I he nudged me. Yeah, right. This lost soul ain’t gonna get zapped. But…. I was intrigued so I stood last in line. Mrs ? reminded me of Mrs santa clause. She looked at me oddly and told me something about myself that noone – and I mean noone knows. How very odd. 
Then the priest approached me, asked permission to pray which I allowed. I did not drop. He too looked at me in an odd way and said, “come with me” and led me to the church kitchen where we spend 30 minutes over a coffee and had a pleasant conversation. I left, not filled any religious epiphany but rather thinking this guy was a good guy, interesting, well educated and was someone i would probably enjoy getting to know. When I left he passed me his card. On the back of the card was a prayer and I carried that card for many years in my wallet. It’s probably in the bottom of my sock drawer still. The reason I kept it was due to the nature of the prayer. It was not the usual, “hey God, I will do this thing for you if you will do this thing for me” or “hey God, do something for me, me… Me… Me etc.” It was a prayer that, in a general way, was about serenity and doing the right thing in life for the benefit of others. In some ways, it comes close to how I think religion should represent itself.
Over the passing years I have occasionally wondered where those good man might have gone and if he was still a practising priest. As he was very unpriest like I had a feeling he might have found something else to do with his gift of charisma.
Having nothing better to do I asked the Internet. I was disappointed when I found this. Just another diddling priest. That was my first reaction. With a little more reading I discovered that he is now dead.
I have thought a lot about my initial reaction. There is absolutely no question that father John Patrick Bertolucci committed an unforgivable act. He took advantage of his position of authority and as a clergyman. He ruined the lives of other people who trusted him. For that, there is no justification or rationale.
Still, I have a feeling that this priest probably did a lot of good and he will be remembered as just another diddling priest.