Spotlight is a movie out right now that deals with the cover up by several institutions regarding the Boston sex abuse scandal that saw hundreds of victims silenced and priests shuffled around the diocese under the authority of Cardinal Bernard Law. This is the fountain outside of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome where Cardinal Bernard Law was appointed after the scandal was uncovered. I stayed very close to the Basilica when I visited Rome last year and thought it was one of the most opulent church buildings I had ever been in. I saw the movie this week and was impressed with how well the story is done. Far from easy to watch, the tale is gripping with its twists and turns. A variety of emotions arose watching it but I am glad that I saw it.
The Catholic Church is not without its blemishes. As an active laywoman within the institution, I have certainly struggled over the years to stay true to my roots. Sr. Joan Chittister, visiting my city one day, said to me and a mentor of mine, Stay in the church. You cannot fight it from the outside. I have always remembered that. Spotlight casts a dark shadow on the hierarchy of not only the Church but on many of the institutions that make up our society. Most of the reporters who cover the story are lapsed Catholics in this movie version but still as they investigate they are changed by what they find.
Tonight I went to the Steve Bell concert with the symphony. Steve is a local musician, much beloved by his fans. He spoke of the dark night of the soul that St. John of the Cross wrote. One of the statements grabbed me. The gist of his words were something like this–when the night is the darkest that is when we are most tempted to quit but he said that is when we are the closest to coming out of the dark, of being on the other side of suffering, and of coming into the Light. Keep going.
Sometimes when there is corruption in the church, or in politics, or the media, or the courtroom, we see only the darkness. We must believe that the dark will not have the last word. We can continue on to the Light. This is the season of the returning of the Light. That SpotLight will shine in the darkest of all nights. When the temptation is to halt and turn around, stay the course. You are very close to where you need to be.
What do you do when the truth is hard to accept?
Recall an instance when you were in your darkest night. What happened when you stayed the course?
Come O Long-Awaited Light,
Burst into our darkest night
Shine your SpotLight
into the corners that threaten
to jade us beyond repair
Rather send us joyful hope
as we await the lengthening of days.