|Brrr! Frosty cold leaf|
Yesterday my friend Judy and I went to see an unusual movie, Spotlight. It's a new movie about the coverup by the Catholic Church of the sexual abuse scandal that was revealed in 2002 by a group of four journalists at the Boston Globe newspaper. Both Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo deliver outstanding performances. I was actually surprised when I realized that it wasn't until 2002 that the first articles about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church were written, since it seems like it was much earlier that I first learned about it. But no, it was only a few years ago. The team of journalists won the Pulitzer Prize for their work, but to me the greater accomplishment was to finally expose the awful truth and have it finally be believed.
I had no idea that there were so many priests involved in pedophilia. Of course I guess I've always known that the possibility for abuse was there, but to find out that up to 6 percent of all priests have abused children, well that seems almost impossible for me to take in. After coming home from the movie and getting online to confirm these statistics, I have to say I am astounded at what I've learned. I was a little surprised a few years ago that a sitting Pope would just resign, but it seems it was related to the discovery that even Pope Benedict knew about all this abuse and helped to cover it up.
Well, I have to say that my estimation of the Catholic Church in this country has fallen to new lows. For so long I thought it was one of the greatest institutions around. As someone who was raised in a family that didn't attend church, I was free to discover my own path, and as a young woman I joined the Episcopal Church because I liked the services, the sermons, the rituals. They are similar (or were back then) to the Catholic mass, but they seemed more accessible to me. And the clergy could all marry, and that seemed sensible, rather than keeping priests celibate. Well, apparently fewer than HALF of all Catholic priests observe celibacy, and many of them use children under their care to satisfy their sexual needs. How simply awful all this is.
I woke this morning thinking about the Seven Deadly Sins, thinking how almost every one of them were broken by these sick priests. Do you remember learning about them? I had to find a website to remind me, but they are: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. It's interesting to find out exactly what is meant by some of these, but I think I could find a way to consider that those who abuse children to be guilty of all of them. Well, maybe not sloth, but when I consider it to mean being lazy about one's spiritual life, then all of them.
Do you think that the old adage that power tends to corrupt, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true? It makes me wonder, because those priests didn't all come into the priesthood with the idea that they would become predators. They are supposedly emissaries of God to their parish, right? I no longer attend church, but if I still did, it wouldn't be the Catholic Church, now that I've learned how deep the corruption goes inside it.
Or am I overreacting? I tend to see things in terms of black and white when it comes to abuse of any sort. Someone abusing a child, or an animal in their care, just seems impossible to see any other way than wrong on every level. And someone allowing it to continue when they become aware of it also seems wrong. In the movie, when one of the lawyers for the Church was confronted by a reporter with the sheer number of priests who had committed these crimes, the lawyer finally said, "What took you so long?" And it does seems almost impossible to believe that once it was uncovered, the scope of this problem was revealed to be worldwide and of long standing and huge.
It reminds me that things are not always as they appear, and that just a few dedicated people can change the trajectory of the entire world by standing up for justice. I see that effort every day when I turn on the news, and now I realize that many of these people are unable to stand by and watch abuse around them happening. Would I be so brave? As far as I know, most of my immediate world is free of it, but maybe I just don't see what's right in front of me. I do hope that if I were to discover someone abusing another, I'd stand up too.
Well, this has turned out to be a very different sort of musing for me during my usual Sunday morning pondering. It's all because of that movie, which really got me thinking about seeing what's around me with new eyes. I think next Sunday I'll probably be back in my usual groove, thinking more about my own surroundings and less about the larger world. And I do hope that it hasn't upset anybody too much that I used this time to consider what's on my mind right now.
Until next week, I hope that the world around you is safe and that you will hug your loved ones and allow love to fill your heart. I'll try to do the same. I know I left that love lying around here somewhere. Yep, there it is, right next to me in my sleeping partner. Be well until we meet again.