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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Watch ‘Secrets of the Vatican’


Seattle Times

Here is how a stunning PBS documentary describes itself: “In Secrets of the Vatican, FRONTLINE tells the epic, inside story of the collapse of the Benedict papacy and illuminates the extraordinary challenges facing Pope Francis as he tries to reform the powerful Vatican bureaucracy, root out corruption and chart a new course for the troubled Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers.” 

Take everything you have ever heard about the Catholic Church and the global clergy child sexual abuse scandals, the dodgy Vatican bank, add in drug abuse, and multiply it all by ten. A primary insight is that Pope Benedict really did not step down from the papacy so much as flee the job. No one could make up what this documentary reveals. For all of the horror on display, the reality is basic: arrogance, hubris and insularity will bring down any organization, even one ordained to do God’s work on earth. 

A human organization manifests all human frailties. Allow it to make its own rules and hide, and the worst happens. This is a tragedy that defies description. Abuse of people, power and a benefit of the doubt that goes with the job description. Pope Francis is [presented] as the institutional savior who comes from far enough outside the Roman Curia and the inner sanctum to instigate and sustain change. The only optimism in the documentary are references to a new beginning for a wounded church, and a religious crusade to save the church. Watch “Secrets of the Vatican.” You might know the story line. You have no clue about the depth of the shame.


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