It is no secret that I am a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Nor is it a secret that it has fueled a lot of my artwork. For most of my life. You can only imagine the excitement I felt when “Ave Maria” my horror short with very Catholic themes was accepted to the Interiora Horror Festival in Rome, Italy. For me that was a major artistic achievement. One that would be hard to top.
And then it won the Premio del Pubblico or Audience Choice Award for Best Film. This may be hard for many to believe, but I was actually rendered speechless. Which worked out fine because I can’t speak Italian anyway.
The fact that those in attendance at the festival picked my very politically charged Catholic film was incomprehensible to me. I was literally on the doorstep of the Vatican and somehow my message was roundly embraced.
But I was viewing this with an American eye. We have distance from the church with it’s centuries of abuses and corruption as an institution. The Crusades, Inquisition, the encouragement of castrato, and sexual abuse of children all happened there. Only a quarter of that equation happened in the USA.
Which is why stories like this play so well here.
Recently Pope Francis made a speech where he said: “Jesus says ‘It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea’,” because “where there is deceit, the Spirit of God cannot be”.
He said this in reference to the corruption with the whistleblowers and the Vatican Bank. They recently passed a law that made whistleblowing a major crime in order to get things back to normal, controlling the narrative while claiming that the corruption is over.
But the quote he used about the millstone ad nothing to do with corruption. It is in refernce to a quote by Jesus that made three of the gospels. Matthwe 18:6
, Luke 17:2
and Mark 9:42
. It says: But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were profitable for him that a great millstone had been hanged upon his neck and he be sunk in the depths of the sea.
Jesus wasn’t talking about corruption, but harming children. Pope Francis took that way out of context.
Or maybe he didn’t. After all there was an awful amount of corruption when it came to the cover up of clergy sexual abuse. Corruption from people high up the food chain of the church.
If that was the corruption he was referring too he’s going to need a lot of rope and quite a few millstones for people like Cardinal Dolan
, who paid off pedophiles to leave the Diocese of Milwaukee while, with the Vatican’s blessing, hid millions in assets from victims and their families seeking justice.
Or Cardinal Mahony
who admittedly protected and transfered pedophile priest but actively sought out therapist who would not report the crimes to the police, creating many more victims while protecting the name of the church.
Or Cardinal Bergoglio
who stood by Rev. Julio Grassi, who abused children while he ran the Happy Are The Children Foundation. After Grassi’s conviction in 2006 Cardinal Bergoglio said: “…there is a media campaign against him, a condemnation in the media.” and commissioned a study that opened by saying that Father Grassi was innocent and that many sexual abuse cases were part of a strategy to defame the church. So they paid for his defense. Grassi lost his final appeal and went to jail this year, has since been removed from priestly duties and is now, seven years later serving his time. Thanks in part from the help of Bergoglio he has been a free man until now.
If this is the type of corruption Pope Francis is referring to than he needs to go no further than to hand the rope to himself. He is Cardinal Bergoglio.
His PR campaign painting himself as something different may play well here in the US, but at a film festival in an old abandoned forte in the city of Rome, people applauded a little film that pointed to these abuses of power and the idea that its time to shine the light into the darkness within the shadows of the vatican.
The revolution is now.