May 19, 2005

Sins of Our Fathers

Gay City News


“My work is always about when an institution is challenged, when philosophies and ideas clash,” explained journalist and author David France during a breakfast interview earlier this week at an East Village coffee shop near his home.

That perspective offers one rubric for describing the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the American Roman Catholic Church over the past five years, but it merely hints at the scope of that tragedy inflicted upon thousands of victims or at the vitality and dedication that France brought to reporting the story in “Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal.” (Random House, 2004)

The book has become the basis of a Showtime original film premiering this Saturday that stars Ted Danson, Christopher Plummer, Brian Dennehy and Ellen Burstyn.

In two hours and 10 minutes, the film captures some of the greatest strengths of France’s nearly 600-page narrative—its heartrending drama and its commitment to tell a complex, rather than simple story. Cardinal Bernard Law, Boston’s former archbishop, whose haughtiness and then despair is played by Plummer, is a remote autocrat shockingly aloof to the suffering of his flock and to the damage wrought by his overlooking of crimes. Law is forced to sit face-to-face with enraged working-class men who were victimized as children who refuse to address him as “father” never mind “your eminence.”

Posted by kshaw at May 19, 2005 08:10 PM