By Kay Ebeling
Releasing Doubt in 2008 is as if in the 1970s, after humans had gotten to the moon and back and found out it is indeed uninhabited, someone put out a serious sci fi thriller about a race of creatures on the moon.
As a person who watches the Catholic Church bend and stretch the truth about pedophiles in the priesthood, I wonder, why was the movie Doubt released now, after the country has witnessed a stream of lawsuits judged against the church since 2002. For one, now media such as the Catholic News Service can run a review saying the film Doubt is “a reminder of a dark chapter in the church's recent history.”
Doubt presents itself as though the last 20 years of civil and criminal action, concerning close to five thousand priests, just never happened. I think people will see Doubt and come out thinking maybe there were just a few isolated cases of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, and there is still doubt.
In 2008 we know the crime was so widespread, it was equal to an epidemic of pedophilia among Catholic priests with thousands of American crime victims who have not truly seen justice. Most of the crimes involve serial sodomy and other ways of penetration with pre-pubescent children. When you look at the evidence, tehre is NO DOUBT these crimes took place.
So why would Miramax put this film out now? The title gives it away. I'm paranoid enough to think that PR consultants representing American bishops met with Miramax executives to clinch the deal,
To once again create doubt in American viewers' minds.
I would not be surprised if the Bishops through their PR firms arranged the release of Doubt at this time to create Doubt in American audiences. To make it appear that these felonies were one or two isolated cases with no other precedent, and no one ever really knowing for sure if the abuse even took place.
Exactly what the bishops want Americans to think.
The release of Doubt makes this viewer feel like the past twenty years of civil discovery and priests being convicted of serial sodomy on prepubescent children never happened - or at least the powers that be at Miramax would like everyone to think they never happened. . .
"Less than 1 percent present questionable narratives"
Udo Strutynski had this to say about Doubt:
As a survivor of childhood clerical sex abuse, I have advocated justice from the Catholic Church for my fellow survivors these past six-plus years. I should add I am also a lawyer, and trained in assessing the credibility of plaintiffs.
During this time I have personally come to know nearly 300 persons molested by priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers, and the like. Of that number, less than one per cent presented questionable narratives. And when diocesan documents were finally pried loose by persistent judges, even those doubts were quashed by the stark, unambiguous evidence of admissions and clinical conclusions in episcopal files.
In light of my experience, I can say that doubt of the accused predator's guilt rarely emerges as a defense issue even at the beginning of the process, and almost never survives by the end of the investigation.
So, I am bemused that a play based on the premise of the fundamental, or necessary, uncertainty of just such an accusation should achieve the Pulitzer Prize.