Wednesday, February 26, 2014

PBS' Secrets of the Vatican: Exposing the Dark Underbelly

[CORRECTION: This program actually aired last night (2/25/14), so I missed the broadcast. My apologies for the error. But, I discovered that the recorded program is available on PBS' Frontline website. I accessed it at, although I am not sure this link is accessible in all viewing areas. I had to choose a PBS affiliate station based upon my location. Hopefully you can access it also. You may have to sign in to watch it.]

I have concluded that my blog title of "Informed Catholic Voter" encompasses more than merely the political realm of voting for candidates or issue in the civil arena. In reality, Catholics also vote with their feet: either we go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days or we choose not to go. The reason for either choice is personal and private. No one can make us reveal why we do or do not go to Mass. Perhaps we do not even fully know the answer to that question ourselves. For some of us, going to Mass is simply a pattern of behavior, while not going can be blamed on what the media identifies as hypocrisy among the Church's leadership.

A new documentary being aired tonight (February 26, 2014) on PBS promises to bring more controversy for the Catholic Church. The following video is a snippet from the broadcast, and it sets the stage for what the program "Inside the Vatican: Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will focus on.

I am not a big fan of PBS. They do indeed tend to lean toward the liberal side of politics and affairs. But I am anxious to see this documentary and how it will address the issues facing Pope Francis. I know better than most that this program will not be popular with many devout and/or lifelong Catholics. None of us wants to imagine that there is an ugly underbelly to the Church's central authority -- the Vatican. But I can attest to the fact that it exists. Before I went to study canon law over a dozen years ago, I saw the Church through rose-colored glasses. I knew that there were a few bad apples out there, but all in all I thought that were the exception. Sadly, however, over the last twelve years, I have come to believe that bad apples are the norm in the hierarchy.

Lest my conservative Catholic friends and family think I am being overly dramatic or unfaithful to the hierarchy, let me just say this. There is a reason that Pope Benedict resigned. I honestly think that the weight of what he was trying to do -- clean up the corruption inside the Vatican and other reaches of the Church -- was too burdensome for him. We may never know what his reasons were -- at least not in our lifetimes. But I don't buy for a second that he was just tired or wanted to get back to intellectual pondering. I think the evil was too great. And I think that Francis has begun to feel  the weight of this culture of corruption already.


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