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Rudolph Giuliani: Faith in work, God, and himself

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Brother Peter Bonventre, then assistant principal at Bishop Loughlin, remembers Giuliani as a "gregarious, bubbly personality with a big smile." As a senior, he played Santa Claus and ran a friend's campaign for student council president. He also founded the school's Opera Club.

His classmate and friend Peter Powers, who remains a close adviser, says Giuliani was a natural leader.

"He was always the guy we followed," says Mr. Powers. "Like with the Opera Club. We were a bunch of middle-class kids who hadn't for the most part been exposed to that. He was always reading librettos and listening to operas. When he had an interest in things, he shared it and got us involved."

Giuliani, then a liberal Democrat, was such an ardent admirer of President John Kennedy that he once skipped school to see him in New York. Powers, always a Republican, remembers the delight they had in challenging each other's ideas.

"He and I spent hours, days, months debating things we were on the different sides of," he says. "We were like two dogs on a bone, but I realize how lucky I was to have a close friend that I could really disagree with – we really challenged each other's beliefs."

Although named "Class Politician" in his senior yearbook, Giuliani says he thought seriously at the time about becoming a doctor or a priest. He even visited several seminaries. Ultimately, he decided against the priesthood because of his "budding interest in the opposite sex," he says in a Monitor interview.

But the idea stuck with him through college. He even thought briefly about converting to become a Lutheran or an Episcopalian, so he could be a priest and get married. But he says he couldn't because of his father.

"In most Catholic families it's the mother who's really devout. But in my family it was my father," Giuliani says. "And he wasn't just devout, he rooted for the Catholics."

And so the son went on to Manhattan College and then New York University Law School.

Discipline and order

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