Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
August 30, 2009
‘Doubt’ and the Priesthood
Perhaps some of you have already seen the new release of the video entitled Doubt starring Meryl Streep, Philip Hoffman, and Amy Grant. I am far from being a movie critic so I do not make it a habit of critiquing movies for the public. However, I will attempt to do a semi-professional critique of the above movie. The reason I am attempting this feat is because its theme is on the priesthood so I thought it appropriate during the year of the priest.
It is clear that the point of the movie is to allow people, Catholics as well as others, to gain a non-biased perspective and to revisit the entire issue of the sex abuse scandal that has pervaded our church for the past seven years. It is important to watch the movie with an open mind however. It we are tainted with our own biases we will not gain from the film regardless of how well the movie was written, directed or acted out.
The theme of the movie which is one of doubt comes through in several ways all of which are interconnected and all have a genuine purpose for existing in the lives of the characters. Not only do all the characters face some type of doubt in their interaction with one another but the audience is also riddled with doubt as the movie ends.
The setting of the movie is a typical American city in the sixties. Each parish has a parochial school staffed entirely by a religious order of nuns. The children attend Mass each Sunday with their parents but the nuns are responsible for the disciple of the children even if their parents are present. Only boys can serve Mass and they take their responsibility quite seriously. In short, the person who wrote the script for the movie did their homework very well.
As we watch the movie we are tempted to side with one character or the other. It is very human to feel very strong emotion during this movie. It is almost impossible to remain objective without making a concerted effort to do so.
As Catholics we need to examine our personal views on the issue of the sex abuse scandal. More importantly we might need to revisit our attitude toward priests in general. Are we fully aware of our feelings on the matter? Have we fallen into the trap of throwing every priest into the same simmering pot simply because we do not know what to think? Have we tried to put ourselves in the place of the priest in such matters? Must every priest pay the price for the few that have erred? These are hard questions to reconcile. Perhaps the movie could help shed some light on the matter.
Lorette P. Nault