Spotlight on A Secret World

Have you seen the best-picture Oscar nominee movie Spotlight yet? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. It is an emotionally charged, well played account of the ugly true story of sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church; a sorry story that needs to be amplified and understood by all, especially Church hierarchy, if there ever is going to be reform. It took the scandal to involve a corrupt Cardinal, hundreds of pedophile priests, the Boston Globe and my brother Richard (yes, and others) to crack open, in a wide scale manner, the horrific Secret.

Richard Sipe with authored books on celibacy

Richard Sipe with authored books on celibacy

I remember, being at Richard's and his wife Marianne's house in Baltimore, over 25 years ago - in the late 80's, and hearing Richard factually, and rather clinically talk about his soon to be published (1990) book A SECRET WORLD, Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy. The facts were shocking. And .... that Dick was willing to confront the powerful Church, including many clergy he befriended, while a priest (he left the priesthood in 1970) and with his counseling practice, over many many years, was courageous and life purpose driven - more than I realized at the time. I remember Dick talking about Andrew Greeley - priest, sociologist and popular novelist -  Greeley dismissed Richard's statistics as anecdotal and meaningless. "Sipe's not a sociologist". No he is not - his pedophile statistics, albeit high, were too low for Boston. Richard is a psychotherapist, an advocate for the sexually abused and a church reformer.

After seeing the movie Spotlight, I dusted off the quarter century old book - A SECRET WORLD and looked up Pedophilia in the Index. There were many references. I started reading at the longest reference, pages 168-187. The secret was clearly out - more than ten years before Boston. It's taken this long, twenty-five years, and an important movie, to have impact (or should have impact) for real positive change to materially reduce sexual abuse and covering up thereof in the Church!

Don't let Richard's matter-of-fact talk in Spotlight or in his books fool you. His passion-driven love priority to help the abused and cause positive change is very personal and very emotional for him - more than I can image.

Congratulations Richard. You deserve an Oscar.