What Hollywood Can Teach the Catholic Church About Confronting Longtime Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis has called an unprecedented “summit” of bishops to the Vatican to discuss for the umpteenth time the problem of sexual abuse by priests — this one is focused on the abuse of children. The summit starts Feb. 21 and ends on the night of the Academy Awards, Feb. 24.
I cannot help but see the significance between the revelations about abuse and power in the Roman Catholic Church mirroring the revelations of abuse and power in our community out here in Hollywood. Clergy sex-abuse survivors have been coming together and speaking out since 1988 through SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In 2002, the group helped the Boston Globe investigative team expose the Boston diocese’s practice of covering up for predators and moving them to new, unsuspecting parishes. Hollywood immortalized that moment in the 2016 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”
In Hollywood, the silence breakers of 2017 had their own “Spotlight” moment. They gave a new and different focus to the issue covering up and ignoring sexual abuse in our society, and the #MeToo movement gained serious momentum.
Whether simply a coincidence or the result of the burgeoning #MeToo movement, this past year a Pennsylvania grand jury exposed more than 300 “predator priests” in just six dioceses in that state and found more than a 1,000 victims. Since the report was released, more survivors have come forward and more clergy have been ex...
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.