Wednesday, October 18, 2006

John Mark Butterworth on Deliver Us from Evil

But the Church doesn't care.

The movie doesn't understand that the Church has been doing this for nearly two thousand years. It has an agenda that does not reckon the value of it members, only the importance of its clergy and the perseverance of the institution.

And that works. The laity remains passive and cowardly while continuously offering up themselves and their children for sacrifice as if before Moloch rather than Christ. The Church set up an annuity for O'Grady so that he wouldn't testify to Mahoney's culpability.

The Vatican even asked President Bush for immunity from prosecution (and got it) for Pope Benedict since he was responsible for the clergy prior to his election and could be held to account by a US court for his inaction in the face of so much abuse that was never attended to.

The Church's attitude about the abuse is quite simple and logical -- we may be responsible but it's your job to find the spiritual good that can come of such suffering rather than seek justice or revenge against us. Why persecutest thou me, is the Church's belief. After all, the Church is spotless and holy. Not to blame.

This is a sad and disturbing movie, but in the end it makes not one whit of difference. The Church, the hierarchy, doesn't care and has never cared and will never care. It only cares about itself. Not even about Jesus. It has no shame or accountability in this world.

Somewhat puzzling. Mr. Butterworth claims to be Catholic but then he writes this. One wonders if he will end up taking the path of Rod Dreher.

Apple trailer for Deliver Us from Evil

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two things at play: typical American resentment of any kind of authority and an "us-and-them" mentality. If Butterworth had a brother, cousin or uncle, or friend, who was a priest or bishop, he wouldn't write like that. Anyway, there's probably more money in being a disgruntled Catholic journalist than in being a happy Orthodox journalist.

I talked to an old monsignor in Massachusetts, who said at dinner that he had known various Boston priests jailed for abuse, and he had had no idea that they were doing those things. We weren't talking about the scandals, but this came up because he heard anti-clerical talk at the barber. Three years after the scandal broke, He sounded mystified and pained.

For what its worth, I think generations of men born and raised before everybody talked about sex all the damn time and trained not to think about sex just could not believe their ears when they were told that other priests were molesting children. (BTW Queen Victoria refused to sign a law outlawing Lesbianism because she couldn't believe it existed.) The idea was so abhorrent to these sheltered Irish and American men, so far from their own experience, that they could not wrap their minds around it.

But I don't really know. I guess one would have to talk to a pastor or bishop who had been told. And I am not interested in letting the truly guilty off the hook.

Clerical culture IS rather private. I once helped serve coffee to a group of priests invited to hear the confessions of 900 high school girls. It was quite an experience: a huge group of priests in one of the convent sitting rooms, all in black, many smoking like chimneys, all yacking happily away. It was probably like Alumni night at the diocesan seminary. And there were we schoolgirls, in our uniforms, deferently pouring out coffee. This was in the late 80s. I must say, I rather enjoyed the old-fashioned feeling of it all. The cameraderie of these men was part of the sunny side of clerical culture.