Saturday evening we went up to Saratoga to go to the movies. First we went to the daughters house to see their new closet. It is actually the third bedroom that they turned into a big closet. It is fabulous and I would love to have one just for my genealogy paperwork. Just fabulous.
Then hubby, daughter and I went to see the movie Spotlight. All I can tell you is you should see this movie. No matter what your belief about the Catholic Church this movie tells the story of what happened in Boston to identify what had been going on around the abuse of children by priests. I am a Catholic and will not walk away from my beliefs but what was very clear from the movie was that the depth of the systemic problem. Here is a clip from the movie and the website for the film.
It was a riveting movie and never seemed to drag. The acting was so good. It would be hard to pick out one actor as special. The fellow who played the old priest that Sasha went to interview was excellent. And when he said he had been abused himself it was breathtaking.
I remember when all this was going on. But when you are working you don’t pay as much attention. But then it hit close to home. My son could not reach his friend who was a priest and asked me to see if I could find out what happened to him. I made some calls and did some reaching out. Finally someone decided to let me know since he was an old friend and knew my son deserved to know. This priest had been sent out for treatment for sexual abuse of a minor. The story was heart-wrenching. This young man who was abused had been the most vulnerable of the group of kids who went to the camp the priest ran. It was all so believable. The young man did not even identify it as abuse until he was seeing a therapist for some relationship issues and shared a story about his time at the priests home. He thought nothing of it but the therapist knew better. Finally he had reported the abuse because of the other children who were still interacting with this priest.
I informed our son about the situation and his response was two fold, first, “why didn’t he try to abuse me?” and then second, “thank you mom, he knew you would have killed him if he touched me.” And he was correct. He would have said something to us since our kids talked about most things in their lives. We knew he was suffering terribly with this information but there was little we could do while he was away from home. When he came home at the holidays we tried to set up a meeting with the priest so they could talk but the priest never called us back. In fact we have never heard from him again.
After that I felt I had to do something. I wrote a letter to our bishop asking him to just let me know if they had done anything to protect the boys at one of the programs the priest volunteered with since they were all vulnerable. And also the kids who were still coming to his home for lessons or whatever. What did I get back? Not a phone call letting me know things had been taken care of but instead a vague letter suggesting that the bishop would meet me any place I wanted, in public and that he would talk to me. It sat really poorly with me. I wanted just the words, “it has been taken care of”. But no, that did not happen. I was livid. Then I started checking on the net about other priests in the diocese and talking with other people I knew. No one was just getting straight answers.
When the priest came back it turned out that his order had offered him that he could stay a priest and live in their main facility but not work with children ever again. Instead he quit the priesthood and moved back into his house. I wonder if any one has followed up with him or they just let him go. So nothing I saw or heard in the movie was new to me but I loved the courage of all those reporters in sticking with the story even with all the pressure to bury it. I was alone really yet that is just an excuse for not having the courage to pursue our own situation. Since my child was okay and I did not know the names of other children or their parents I had no way to do anything. Just excuses I know.