Media Watch

Vatican Asked to Review Bishop's Records

THE ALBANY TIMES-UNION, Feb. 25 — Attorney John Aretakis of Albany, N.Y., who is representing two men accusing Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany of homosexuality, has asked the Vatican to review the Church's confidential records concerning the bishop, according to the Albany Times-Union.

Aretakis circulated a 1995 letter allegedly written by an Albany priest to Cardinal John O'Connor, the late archbishop of New York, accusing Bishop Hubbard of doctrinal deviations and homosexual behavior. The archdiocese said it has no record of the correspondence.

The letter was attributed to Father John Minkler, but on Feb. 13, Father Minkler signed a statement prepared by the Albany Diocese denying authorship. He was found dead on Feb. 15. A note was found with his body, which the local coroner has not yet made public. An autopsy is pending.

Diocesan spokesman Kenneth Goldfarb replied to the charges: “That Mr. Aretakis sent his letter to the local news media and the Vatican at the same time tells you everything you need to know about his real agenda.”

Showtime Prepares Sex-Abuse Film

REUTERS, Feb. 26 — Cable TV network Showtime has begun casting actors for an original movie that dramatizes recent abuse scandals in the Church, Reuters reported.

The network announced its series Feb. 26, a day before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released its national study documenting abuse allegations.

The series will be based on the new book Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal, by Newsweek senior editor David France. The stories, Showtime said, would be based on actual events but with victims' names changed to “protect those who are trying to rebuild their lives.”

Anticipating criticism, Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt said, “We have no intention of making this movie exploitative. The majority of the public has no idea how widespread or complex this issue is. … The abuse — and the institution that looked the other way for decades — should be exposed so that it can be stopped once and for all.”

The film will follow the efforts of a group of Boston Globe reporters, who turned up the story of slain abusive ex-priest John Geoghan.

Franciscans Petition Mel Gibson

WWW.FRANCISCANFRIARS.COM, March 2 — Father Glenn Sudano of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has been posting on the community's Web site updates on Father Benedict Groeschel since the television preacher was hit by a car in January.

Father Sudano announced March 2 that he will be circulating a petition asking Mel Gibson to produce a follow-up to The Passion of the Christ.

The proposed film would be a biography of one man who responded totally to Christ's passion — St. Francis of Assisi. Father Sudano said he has confidence Gibson could paint a true portrait of the saint, who too often is depicted merely in a “sociopolitical light.”