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Shocking documentary reveals depth of scandal at the Vatican

Film charts the demise of the Benedict papacy with graphic scenes

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  • Lance Dickie for the Seattle Times
  • Vatican City
  • March 3, 2014
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Here is how a stunning PBS documentary describes itself:

“In Secrets of the Vatican, FRONTLINE tells the epic, inside story of the collapse of the Benedict papacy and illuminates the extraordinary challenges facing Pope Francis as he tries to reform the powerful Vatican bureaucracy, root out corruption and chart a new course for the troubled Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers.”

Viewers might easily imagine they’ve heard it all. Oh that. Why bother? Take everything you have ever heard about the Catholic Church and the global clergy child sexual abuse scandals, the dodgy Vatican bank, add in drug abuse, and multiply it all by ten. A primary insight is that Pope Benedict really did not step down from the papacy so much as flee the job.

No one could make up what this documentary reveals. For all of the horror on display, the reality is basic: arrogance, hubris and insularity will bring down any organization, even one ordained to do God’s work on earth. A human organization manifests all human frailties. Allow it to make its own rules and hide, and the worst happens.

This is a tragedy that defies description. Abuse of people, power and a benefit of the doubt that goes with the job description. Pope Francis is viewed as the institutional savior who comes from far enough outside the Roman Curia and the inner sanctum to instigate and sustain change.

The only optimism in the documentary are references to a new beginning for a wounded church, and a religious crusade to save the church.

Full Story: Watch ‘Secrets of the Vatican’

Source: Seattle Times

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