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April 7, 2004


(Un)Intended Consequences of 'The Passion'

The Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta is making news today for two conservative actions: Women are banned from foot-washing ceremonies at Holy Thursday masses this year, though they have participated in previous years, and two employees who complained that the diocese wasn't doing enough to combat sexual abuse were fired. The women who got fired were coordinating the diocese's sexual abuse victims assistance program, and spoke out against the continuation of reporting alleged abuse first to church officials, and not to law enforcement. The diocese also rejected their training program for priests on recognizing signs of abuse, and its effects on victims. In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made sexual abuse victims assistance staff positions a requirement for all dioceses. The Archdiocese of Atlanta has paid $1.5 million in settlements to victims of sexual abuse in recent years.

Neither of these events are directly related to Mel Gibson, an ultra-conservative Catholic, and his movie. However, it's not surprising that The Passion's enormous popularity among conservative U.S. communities and support from the Church would push the Catholic church away from progress, and toward the kind of policies that keep women excluded from church leadership and permit sexual abuse to continue.

categories: Movies, Religion
posted by amy at 11:02 AM | #