“By the Grace of God”: a Review
The abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church haunt us, and not just in the United States. No nation with Catholic churches has been spared. True, the worst of the actual crisis – of priests sexually abusing little boys, teens, and young men – appears to be all but over. But have the right lessons been learned? Is the storm over? Or are we simply in the eye of the hurricane?
I have no answer, but Pope Benedict XVI tried to give one in 2005 in his instructions concerning seminary education. We may hope those guidelines are being effectively implemented.
Yet we continue to witness ongoing struggles by victims for justice . . . and more attempts by bishops to avoid accountability, which is why French director François Ozon’s new film, By the Grace of God, remains timely and important.
The virtue of the film is its emphasis on victims, unlike Tom McCarthy’s Oscar-winning American film, Spotlight (2015), where the focus was on the reporters who blew up the sex-abuse cover-up by the Archdiocese of Boston.