Reviewed by Father David O. Brown, O.S.M. Profiles in Catholicism
This two-hour presentation of the BBC is shown in two parts. There is a brief station break after the first hour. However, the total production may also be divided into two parts in relation to its content. The first segment is INSIDE THE VATICAN with its chapels, the Basilica, and its upkeep.
The second part, if I might venture a guess, was a bit of a surprise to the producers. In the course of filming, the Pope was to visit Ireland when the sexual abuse scandals filled the headlines. Now the presentation's focus is INSIDE THE VATICAN in a very different way. The whole operation was shaken up. Previous cover-ups were revealed and wounds exposed. The character of the narrative changed.
The last quarter of this two-hour program was given over to Fr. Hans Zollner., a Jesuit and Member of the Pontifical Committee for the Protection of Minors. He was also vice-Rector of the Gregorian University. He admits that people are reluctant to speak about this sex scandal but silence cannot be maintained. “This is going to stay with us for a very long time, and we need to face it. If we do not face it actively, it will come back to us in one way or another. So either you will take it on or it will take you on.” This second part of Inside the Vatican is almost breath-taking and significant. It changes us and it changing the Church. The Church will have a different face so we are reminded, “Don’t give up,” he encourages. I seem to have forgotten the first part of INSIDE THE VATICAN. Above, I hinted that it deals with the physical structure of the Church, the City, the buildings, the Basilica of St. Peter, the Chapels, the offices, and, most of all it deals with the people. This part is structured in a way that follows the Vatican’s daily operation that takes place in the course of the year. In January the Holy Father addresses the diplomatic corps, representatives of more than 80 countries attend. The Pope shares with them that the world is disturbed. In the next scene, we are assured that the vocation of the Church is to serve the poor. It is Lent and the Holy Father washes the feet of prisoners. We move to the Basilica of St. Peter and the Sanpetrini are harnessed up to clean the magnificent Baldachin. People are working INSIDE THE VATICAN. This theme is repeated time and again. All we see in the Vatican is to serve God. This first part ends with the selection of seventy candidates from far distant missions who are elected Cardinal. All this transpires INSIDE THE VATICAN.