Greg and I saw the movie Spotlight for the first time this week. After winning the Best Picture Oscar the theatre across the street brought it back. It’s about some reporters for the Boston Globe uncovering the breadth of the Catholic Church’s scandal about priests molesting children. It was intense as you can imagine.
As someone who works for the institutional United Methodist Church it was particularly chilling to see the lengths the Catholic Church went to in order to control the whole community and cover up the scandal. Maybe, just maybe I could rationalize in the mind of the institutional leaders for one incident (not saying I think that is what should have happened or that that would be the right thing to do). But when it was happening with 87 priests and repeatedly the institution was moving clergy around every few years because of repeated incidents, there is no excuse for not owning that there is a problem and addressing it.
The pain that inflicts is ten times worst because the source is coming from the very place that should provide comfort when these senseless evil things happen in our world. I am sure there were many people for whom their spirit broke and their faith so confused by the abuse of power that God is no longer invited to be part of their lives.
My purpose is not to criticize the Catholic Church for their problems. None of our institutions are perfect so I will not toss the first stone. But it does break my heart to think about the devastation caused by the abuse of power. And it was a well told story to remind us all what can happen when power gets convoluted and there are no checks and balances. How important it is to speak the truth. Even when it brings on shame. But how often avoiding shame can cause us to avoid the truth at pretty high costs. That never leads to good in the end.
For anyone that has experienced abuse at the hands of another I am truly sorry. Especially if that person was not held accountable for their actions. May we all have the courage to choose truth over shame, no matter who or what the truth ends up shinning the spotlight on.
Grace and Peace,