Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hand of God

We just finished watching "Hand of God" on Frontline, on PBS. It is a documentary film, made by a man from nearby Salem about his brother, who was molested by Fr. Birmingham at St. James parish.
It was horrifying to watch, and crushing- strange, too, because it was filmed around Salem and we could identify the churches and streets and buildings that they showed- the film was full of old home movies and it felt a little like our own were being shown. Being so close to this scandal, it felt from the start for me like my own relatives were being shown to the world as evil-doers. It's an odd feeling to hear familiar names on the news.
Scott said he felt so uncomfortable watching it, too- he said it was like when you do something stupid and it's put in the paper, you want to go around town buying up all the newspapers so no one else can see it.
We want to understand- what does it mean for us, that we work for this Church? How far removed from evil-doing does one have to be, to be not part of the evil? Is it good enough that we do good work in God's name, holy work... or should we be hanging our heads in shame for merely being associated with this scandalous oranization?
When the scandal hit, I remember feeling the natural urge to be loyal- but suddenly, it was hard to know who or what to be loyal to. I remember being at a meeting and praying with the scripture that asks God to keep the enemies away from us... I remember thinking at that time that the enemy was the Boston Globe. I learned soon that the enemy was Us.

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