Friday, March 10, 2006

The Carnal & The Divine

Last night I got the chance to watch the Academy Award documentary Twist of Faith (2004) . This is an important but very sad documentary that tells the story of a man in Toledo, Ohio who begins stirring up troubles in the Catholic church as he becomes open and vocal about his past abuse by a priest as a 14-year old boy in Catholic school.

Watching this movie, it made me think more and more about how prominent and important this issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic church is. Just yesterday the AP story broke about 102 priest in Dublin, Ireland being suspected of sexually abusing more than 350 children.

This is a sad and important issue. Why in the world does this happen?

There are three reasons that I see as largly creating such a widespread problem...

(1) Lack of accountablity in the Catholic churches for priest
(2) A huge effort is often made to cover up what others see being done. (That is certainly seen in this movie)
(3) The required celibacy of priest. (not discussed in the documentary)

This ideas are supported to me in another dramatic film, the highly acclaimed, highly political academy-nominated film El Crimen del Padre Amaro. (Read the plot summary here) . In this movie there is much issue made over the lies that occur in the catholic church, especially as the young priest Father Amaro (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) finds him being allured into a relationship with a 16-year old girl. As he tries to handle his own carnal desires and speaks with the aging Father Benito about his struggles, he realizes Benito has a long standing relationship with the 16-year old girl's mother among other irreverant things.

This film, based on a story from the 1800s delves into the three causes I placed above as well.

It is very sad that so many are hurt by this dysfunction in the Catholic church...I am saddened that more effort is spent fighting lawsuits than trying to figure out why this happens and how to reach out to those who have been hurt by these horrible crimes.

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Lesley said...

i agree with you that there is a lack of accountability...while i don't think they should do away with priest celibacy (because it's representative of their total commitment to God--body, mind and spirit), i do think that the Catholic church should take more responsibility for their priests' psychological well-being. because the fact that this problem is so widespread shows that this lifestyle--with all its restraints and no emotional outlet--has a dangerous effect on the human mind, and it could really be helped if the church provided counseling and support.

Anonymous said...

One of the ways to find out why this happened and continues to happen is to get a look at the church files. Unfortunately, this can't happen without filing lawsuits. They may not be wanted but they're necessary if we're going to get at the truth.

BEAST FCD said...

The Catholic Church is one of the worst participants of human rights abuse throughout the annals of history.

Crusades, Inquisitions, child molestations aside, the Catholic Church has amassed vast sums of ill-gotten wealth through the cause of two millennia.

Child molestation/rape is just one of the latest series of crimes that the Church has desperately tried to hide from the secular world.

David B said...

thanks for the props man. In regards to the catholic church and such, it is rough to deal with that sometimes. I have noticed in religion that we tend to avoid dealing with sexual sins the way we should. Good words, and take care!
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