>> Monday, September 5, 2016

I saw this at the library yesterday when I was returning a bunch of dvds that I haven't watched. So, what the hell, might as well give this a go and see if I actually would watch it since my track record of checking things out of the library and watching them hasn't been so great.

I'm not Catholic, but I did go to a Catholic high school. We had two priests: one who was gay, and another guy who became a priest because his fiancée ran off with his best friend. The latter guy had a nickname of "Dre," which is short for padre. Anyhow, Dre was one of those priests who wasn't celibate the entire time, but he wasn't a pedophile. He just had sex with consenting women.

Before one of my friends got married all the way back in 2002, Dre had been turned in by his now ex-best friend for having an affair with one of the admin assistants of the diocese. He briefly left the church to see if it would work out with him and that woman. It didn't, so he returned to the church and was able to marry my friend & her now husband. I remember talking to him about it back then. The church sent him to a "mental institution" to be evaluated, which I suppose was their rationale. You know, to see if he could adhere to his vow of celibacy. I remember him remarking about being at this mental institution. He was stuck at this institution for an entire summer, at least, and he noted that he was forced to be around schizophrenics and child molesters. But, he was there because he had sex with a consenting woman. You know, something completely normal. But such is the sycophancy of the Roman Catholic church hierarchy. After watching this, when they mentioned "treatment center" in the film--particularly the one a block away from a reporter's house--I could only wonder if that was actually the one Dre was sent to.

Anyhow, I remember the scandal unfolding almost 15 years ago. Shocking, but then kind of not when you think about it. Or, perhaps its been so long that I find it normal to think that the Catholic church excels at hiding criminals and sexual predators.

The film really clicks along. No fluff. Just straight-forward, grunt, detective work that doesn't happen as often as it should these days. I know that the film is an ode to journalism, and that's part of why it was made. Real journalism still happens, but often on a much smaller scale. You really just have to go looking for it on the interwebs. (I think the accounts of election fraud in the Democratic primary should have been a much bigger story that it ever amounted to. But although people tend to focus on news becoming infotainment, the real story tends to be that the corporate overlords who own much of the large media organizations don't want certain stories out there because it won't benefit them. And that is not something that will likely change in the next twenty or forty years.)

That conference call with Sipe though...when he stated that 6% of 1500 priests would be 90, that did blow me away in the film. And then when they did the work of going through the church directories and came up with 87 names...Christ Jesus.

With all the work that they did such as going through those church directories before things became so integrated with the internet and search engines, I have hard time believing that this story would have not been broken later in the decade. The Catholic church was not going to be able to keep this quiet forever, even though they succeeded for a very long time. Even if the Boston Globe hadn't broken this story back when they did, I have a hard time believing that this wouldn't have been exposed in the age of social media.

Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore.


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