When the West Indian cricket captain held up the trophy after beating England in the 20/20 finals in Kolkata recently it was a glorious moment. The anticipation and tension had risen to almost unbearable limits as the match wore on. But in the end some deft scoring clinched the game and the Caribbean went wild with joy.

open_bibleGlory comes from vision, a passion for the truth, being prepared to suffer and persevering. These qualities are present in countless human activities. I have just seen Spotlight, a film on the cover-up by the Boston Catholic Archdiocese of the abuse of children by priests. The local paper, the Boston Globe, discovers the traces of the cover up with regard to one priest and when journalists investigate they find that 6% of all the priests in the diocese over a given period were under suspicion of being implicated.

The archdiocese dealt with cases out of court, that is, without publicity, and there is a neat moment of truth when one of the victims, who is questioned by reporters, tells them, “I tried to tell you all this years ago but you wouldn’t listen!” This momentarily unsettles the journalists who realise their own paper was involved in a cover-up of its own.

The film is gripping as it uncovers layer upon layer of secrecy and hypocrisy and works towards a tense crescendo. Finally all the pieces are in place; the story breaks and heads start rolling, ending with the Archbishop himself, Cardinal Law. A final griping moment comes after the film is over and we are shown a list of all the other cities in the States, followed by all the countries in the world, where cases have been discovered and are being investigated.

We easily remember Jesus’ words; “everything that is covered up will be uncovered” (Matt.10:26), and, “the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). When we see this happening in a film like Spotlight it is a cause for rejoicing? Here we have dedicated actors and film crews telling the story of equally dedicated journalists and lawyers telling the truth about the Church today. We know that it is not only some priests who abuse children. There are plenty of reports of other adults doing it, often to their own relatives. What we can rejoice in is the story coming out in the open and the huge reaction that in future will help protect children from this damage which causes havoc with their lives.

When I had finished watching the film I was left with deep sadness but also with joy that such revelations are breaking through. They will purify and humble us in the Church and lead to much greater awareness of vulnerable people everywhere. This too is glory – pain leading to victory. When Jesus is approaching his passion, the passion of the world, he uses the word ‘glory’ five times (in five lines of John’s gospel 13:31). His passion and resurrection, his pain and victory, are what real glory is all about.

24 April 2016                          Easter Sunday 5C

Acts 14:21-27                         Rev 21:1-5                              John 13:31-35

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