Monday, February 29, 2016

Quote of the Day

[Spotlight] powerfully illustrates what the church utterly failed to realize about itself: that the act of abuse, horrible as it is in any circumstance, was magnified in its unspeakable specifics because an all-male, celibate culture was so protective of its own status and privilege, so closed in on itself, that it was deaf to the searing pleas of children, parents, congregations and the few souls within its ranks who dared to speak the truth.

In the end it was, indeed, about a "system," one presumed to be about the pursuit of holiness, that turned out to be despicably corrupt. It took outsiders – journalists, particularly – to question the institution’s rationale and turn it on its head. It took as well those who removed themselves from the worst of the clerical culture, notably Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle, who understood he was dooming his clerical career when he decided not to turn away from victims, and former Benedictine priest Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist who deeply studied the priesthood and understood the dynamics of the scandal.

Most of all, it took the courage of victims who came forward and withstood the often withering arrogance of bishops and their lawyers who tried to dismiss the disturbing truth.

Much remains to be done at multiple levels, especially in assuring survivors of paths to healing. But for those who, for very understandable reasons, might never sit with the millions of words that have been written about the scandal, the miles of documents that have been unearthed, nor hear the endless hours of testimony accrued over three decades, Spotlight provides a way to quickly grasp the essential reality of this chapter of church life.

The humiliation is stunning and fitting, given the immensity of the betrayal. It is no small irony that the Academy Awards, often a display of cultural superficiality, should be the vehicle for this Lenten truth.

– Editorial Staff
Excerpted from "Best Picture Win for Spotlight
is Fitting Humiliation for Church
National Catholic Reporter
February 29, 2016

Related Off-site Links:
Spotlight Just Won Best Picture. Here's Why It Did – and Didn't – Deserve to Win – Todd VanDerWerff, Dylan Matthews, and Libby Nelson (Variety, February 29, 2016).
The Vatican's Newspaper Has a Surprising Reaction to Spotlight's Oscar Win – Mike Reyes (Cinema Blend, February 29, 2016).
Why Catholics Should Be Grateful for Spotlight and the Media's Exposing Abuses Within the Church – Christopher White (The Washington Post, February 29, 2016).
Spotlight: The Story Behind Tom McCarthy’s "Love Letter to Investigative Journalism" – James Rainey (Variety, October 27, 2015).
An Evasive Vatican Must Face Clerical Sex Abuse DirectlySan Francisco Chronicle (February 29, 2016).
Cardinal George Pell's 90 Minutes from Hell – Alan Stokes (The Age, March 1, 2016)

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