The Spotlight on Catholic Hypocrisy

Spotlight is actually the title of a movie, in reference to a sub group within The Boston Globe which specialize in investigative journalism. One of the subjects brought under their scrutiny was the pedophile priest John Georghan. The investigation was triggered by an allegation that the Boston Archbishop Cardinal Law was aware of the priest’s abusive behavior but chose to do nothing – other than move the priest from one parish to another.

The investigation led to a discovery of more abusive priests (the movie and further research could not arrive at an exact figure, but it was along the lines of ninety to two hundred), and more evidence of the Boston Archbishop’s knowledge of the abuses. It also led to a discovery of lawsuits and secret settlements, and a court order to seal records as a means to prevent the priest’s personnel information from being made public.

After a year long investigation on abuses that spanned a decade, the Spotlight went public with their discoveries, with an invitation to victims to tell their stories. This opens the floodgates to a series of accounts from adults who were subjected to sexual abuse from priests during their childhood.

The intention of the film was to highlight the power of the press in bringing out in to the open what the powers that be would rather sweep under the rug. The film was graced with scenes of conflict between a press aimed at uncovering the truth by picking at issues that seem to be hiding behind a smoke screen, and the powers that are apparently reluctant to discuss such issues on the record.

Be that as it may, the incidental consequence of the movie cannot be ignored – it puts the hypocrisy plaguing the Catholic church under the spotlight. A religion whose leaders take a vow of celibacy, just to take the uncontrolled desires of the human flesh out on helpless children. A religion that prides itself in righteousness, is actually led by people who knowingly wrong their fellowmen. A religion that demands repentance of sins, but pretends no sins have been committed by their leaders.

Being raised in the Catholic faith and having gone to Catholic schools, I experienced first hand how their authorities brainwash children into submission by planting the belief that a priest *, being a man of God, can do no wrong. Therefore, if a priest commits a sexual act on a child too naive to object, it cannot possibly be wrong. Or, as one of the characters in the movie posed the question, who says no to God?

Hmmm….perhaps hypocrisy was an inaccurate description. Blasphemy is more like it.

* since I’ve made reference to personal experience, I’d like to add this side note as a deviation from the movie which vilified priests. Catholic nuns are no angels either. Their over the top self righteousness can be nauseating. Their imposition of corporal punishment can be inhuman. I got the impression they sincerely believed what they were doing was right as they saw themselves as a personification of God…yup, blasphemy at its worst.


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