The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Alex Gibney's stark documentary exposes the scandal of sex abuse which will surely tarnish Pope Benedict XVI's 'legacy'
In a week that has seen the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI comes a brutally uncompromising documentary about the clerical child sex abuse scandal and the extraordinary lengths to which the Catholic church went in attempting to cover it up, all the way to the highest echelons of the Vatican.
The Pontiff is the most learned man on the subject. When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition, it was decreed that every sex abuse case involving a minor went to him. Yet he did nothing to stop or bring the perpetrators to justice.
Oscar-winning film-maker Alex Gibney's rigorous expose is a gripping account of systematic abuse of power and collusion to protect the church's reputation at all costs.
The film begins by investigating the "charismatic" priest Father Lawrence Murphy who abused over 200 deaf children in a school in the US from the 1950s to 1974. The accounts from four of his victims, powerfully voiced by well-known actors, are both heart-breaking and sickening as their efforts to unmask him and get him excommunicated fell on deaf ears.
Through the use of archive footage and grainy home videos Gibney effectively recalls the era and highlights Murphy's depravity.
But the documentary also looks at clerical paedophiles in Europe and sSouth America, along with the Vatican's continued code of silence.
As Joseph Ratzinger prepares to step down as Pope his papacy will be forever stained by the sex abuse scandal and the fact he could have made a difference but didn't.