Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Baltimore files

One of the most important documentaries that has ever existed can now be found on Netflix. It is called THE KEEPERS, and travels down a murky path starting with a nun's murder in the 1960s all the way through abuse allegations made against priests in the 1990s and beyond.

Sister Catherine Cesnik was found dead decades ago. But her murder still haunts those alive and those who knew her or were taught by her.. She was a cutting edge nun of the time, she wanted to work in public schools and also had thoughts about leaving her vows to marry a priest who was equally thinking about leaving the priesthood.

During her tensure at an all-girls school Archbishop Keough High School, there were allegations that Father Joseph Maskell and another priest may have been molesting girls. And even more than molesting, but also raping..bringing in outsiders to do that deed as well, including potentially police officers with the Baltimore police department, and subsequently attempting to cover up records by burying them in a cemetery.. Along with those explosive allegations: The theme of THE KEEPERS is that Sister Catherine was aware and was about to do something... and was murdered brutally with her body left to be maggot infested and rotting in a wooded area.

The documentary stokes ill-will in some. The 1990s and 2000s were a period of dramatic revelations for anyone who was a member of the Catholic Church in the United States. Not only were churches and schools consolidated and closed because of dioceses being forced to pay out high numbers of dollars in abuse settlements, but also a general malaise of church officials and mistrust of the heirarchy of the Roman Catholic institution developed. People stopped fearing and respecting the priestly authority.. instead, perhaps sadly for moral men who pick this as their life profession, a white collar has become a punchline.

The Church inflicted wounds on themselves. Their denials in the face of facts--including in this newly released documentary THE KEEPERS--is what brings a pox on their houses.. It is what creates the 'laugh line'.. and it is what fuels constant conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories, by the way, that has proven to be accurate and unsettling.

And .....for those who reside in Eastern Pennsylvania or surrounding areas in Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, you may be scratching your head like I did after viewing THE KEEPERS. I recall, quite a few times, where my own Catholic school priests seemingly had a strange connection to Baltimore.. where parties and weekend getaways happened with certain chosen boys from schools around me called retreats...
What the KEEPERS. And begin asking questions in your own mind and out loud. The answers may be startling.