‘God against man, man against God. Nature against man, man against Nature. God against Nature, Nature against God. What a funny religion!’
~ Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki ~
~ Zen Philosopher, On the Abrahamic Religions~
The year 2001 was mostly forgotten in the front face of the numbers 9/11. The actual date of the most famous terrorist tragedy of the world is actually 9/11/2001. The forgotten year 2001 may very easily be one of the darkest years of modern world having stood witness to what a handful of misguided Men of God can do to the world.
Here is another story, largely untold, but about the dark year of 2001 and also about the another handful of misguided Men of God.
On the day of the Feast of Epiphany, immediately following the year 2001, the Boston Globe newspaper published a story that shook the city. It was a front page report of the Boston Catholic Church racket of condoning large scale pedophilic acts at the hands of its priests.
In 2016, this story comes to us as Spotlight. It is named after the distinguished unit of the Boston Globe newspaper which performed extensive and in-stealth research into the issue for most part of the year 2001. But due to the oncoming of a larger tragedy of 9/11 the story delayed and ran in the first week of January next year with over 600 sequels following the case. It earned the prestigious publication one of its many Pulitzer Prizes for Investigative Reporting.
Spotlight was a notoriously underground unit of the famed newspaper, known for its selective choice of issues and producing some of the most valuable reports. They were the epitomes of ethical journalism in the publication.
(Funny how the central spirit of journalism providing the greatest service of spreading the truth to the people, is done by a team of 4 amidst hundreds of employees in the publication.)
In the name of a few bad apples in the basket, thousands of priests were being slapped on the hand and transferred across parishes. This despite them being caught in cases of sexual abuse against kids, over and over again.
As for their victims, they were growing up to be not just physically abused but spiritually raped at the hands of their preachers, teachers and priests! The temple where they were meant to discover the Path to God and to Eternal Truth led them into the dark decadence of humanity. Boys and girls aged 4 to 12 years performed sexual favours for the priests, were molested and even introduced to sex by these Men of God.
If that was not outrageous enough, they were protected and (thus) nurtured by the authorities above them.
What started as convicted one priest in the city of Boston turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg beneath which were as many as 249 priests in the city of Boston alone. This called for a much larger set of the abused victims, spanning across the city and mostly across its unfortunate streets where the families were unstable and kids too scared of defying God asking for sexual favours.
What is the root of such extensive display of sexual indulgences of the priests? Is it the vow of celibacy itself that works against them? Are they themselves victims of a ‘funny religion’ where Nature of man is a sin and against God – the Nature created by the God is against it.
Or is it the dilution of the greatest and deepest principles of the religion at the hands of the ‘bad apples’ of the society? If so, then are the systems of Faith in this modern world even to be trusted, let alone ‘believed’ in?
Ironic how the Men of God that made international news by crashing into the pride of the States were also following a preaching of their God. Killing men, devaluing human life in the name of God. How different were they from the Men of God in Boston? They devalued human life too. They scarred kids too with their veiled preachings of sexual favours as part of the religious life and then getting away with it. Those kids grew up to be men so brittle that a blunt slap would be enough to break them down if hit at the right spot.
One is forced to think about what is wrong with these systems in place, these systems distributing Gods in blow jobs and bullets? For that matter, is anything even right at all? Is it the men in power that are wrong or the men powered over? Are the kings at fault or the countrymen for the decline of Rome?
Stories like that of Spotlight are exactly what the name suggests, a spotlight in a very dark room – a dark, dark room of blind faith in a blind God. It is the story of men who tread the treacherous path of the Discovery of the Truth. They do not fall for the misleading traps of the dark on their way telling them a centuries old truth nor do they blind themselves in the piercing light of the moon deviating them from their paths. They balance the light and dark to just light up the path ahead of them and keep walking to their Truth.
Joseph Campbell, the great writer and renowned religious mythologist of the 20th century believed in the individual’s decision of choosing a mythology for him/herself in a world where the ancient myths of the past no longer sustain their eternal truths coming as the plastic, political and predatory molds they are sold in. In prophesying for the future, he said it was the herculean task of the individual now to understand the truth of his existence, choose his own myths, light up his own path, find his own world!
As stories like that of the Spotlight continue to spread and be known, as the terrorism reaches into our newspapers, televisions and weekend bars, as we breed a continued break away from the Faith of our ancestors – the individual’s search for Truth is probably what remains our greatest strength.
Spotlight was awarded the Best Movie of the Year 2015 by the Academy Awards. It is based on a real life Investigative Team under the Boston local newspaper, Boston Globe. The team has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes for Investigative Reporting over the years of its establishment.
(Cover Image courtesy – Deviant Art )