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Director’s Notes for ALTARCATIONS

May 29, 2012

No one fully knows the extent of damage.

In our lifetime, certain people within the Catholic community – priests, members of religious orders, women religious, the lay community – have molested or otherwise abused innumerable boys and girls.

The loss can be measured in dollars, sure, but no one can define the value of each damaged soul. Victims speak of shutting themselves down to the outside world, acting inappropriately themselves, or feeling a civic, cultural or religious disenfranchisement.

Some commit suicide.

The Church’s response varies from one diocese to the next. A tug of war exists between some bishops and the Vatican, while other church leaders protect abusers through the decimation of records or failure to disclose a priest’s past when shuttling him off to an unsuspecting diocese.

Prosecutions happen, but remain so rare they receive notoriety. The big guys rarely fall.

In Los Angeles alone, more than 500 victims in 2009 settled with the Archdiocese for $660 million for abuses that occurred between the 1940s and 1990s. It is often said that it takes victims ten, twenty or thirty years to come forward.

ALTARCATIONS holds a mirror up to a sector of today’s Church. The bishop. The priest. The woman. The boy. They could be in any organization where a human can succumb. Today, they are in the Church.

This play is a work of fiction based on true stories. It is not anti-Catholic. It is anti-abuse and anti-cover up.

If you choose further reading on the subject, I suggest Jason Berry’s book “Render Unto Rome” and visit the websites bishop-accountability.org and snapnetwork.org. The Southwest Regional Director for The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Joelle Casteix, appears in this production on video. She inspired this work by sending me a news article about my high school principal. Her experience also helped inform the characters you will meet.

Steve Julian

Playwright and Director

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