May 20, 2005

'Our Fathers': The case that ignited clergy scandal

The Arizona Republic

May. 20, 2005 12:00 AM

The Catholic Church has spent an unusually large amount of time in the spotlight lately. The death of an immensely popular pope, his lengthy funeral rites and the selection of his successor have focused a mostly positive light on the church.

The rites and rituals have been a welcome relief, one presumes, from the critical eye cast upon the church the past few years in the wake of sexual-abuse scandals that rocked dioceses around the country, including in Arizona. So it may seem as if it would be impossible that a dramatic adaptation of the sexual-abuse scandal in the Boston diocese would serve as anything but fodder for continued controversy, or maybe an excuse to lob cheap shots at the Catholic Church and its priests.

Yet that's not the case with Our Fathers, a compelling Showtime film that centers on Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law. He eventually resigned after it was learned that, aware of their crimes, he had merely reassigned pedophile priests for years, a decision that allowed them to continue abusing children. The scandal spread throughout the country as more victims came forward, including many in Arizona, costing the church millions of dollars in settlements.

To be sure, harsh criticisms are made about the church's silence concerning the scandal and of Law's handling of it. But they're legitimate criticisms, made all the more so here by the portrayal of the victims and their suffering.

Posted by kshaw at May 20, 2005 06:04 AM