Sin: a Cardinal Deposed, Now Playing in La, Reveals Blatant Corruption in Church Re Pedophiles

By Kay Ebeling
March 30, 2009

Flyer for SIN: A Cardinal Deposed

Astounding. When the character Bernard Law said, “Those were not my files, they were the archdiocese’s files,” deja vu swept over me, as that is almost verbatim the words muttered by Roger Mahony in his deposition in Fresno around the same time as Law was testifying in Boston in 2002. They both have said, “I wish I had seen the report” and words like “then I’d know if it was said or if it wasn’t said,” Yes, even more astounding to me is the fact that those are almost the same exact words used by almost every other bishop around the country, trying to pass the buck regarding who’s really guilty in these serial sex crimes against children.

In the play, Sin: A Cardinal Deposed which I saw Thursday night at the Hayworth Theater, on Wilshire near MacArthur Park, playwright Michael Murphy has the actors say nothing but actual words from legal documents relating to the clergy cases in Boston 2002, especially the testimony of Cardinal Bernard Law.

They also read from exhibits such as letters written by family members and social workers that ended up in case files. There on the stage front of you is a barefaced display of the coverup and conspiracy that took place at a hierarchy level in the Catholic Church regarding priests who were pedophiles. In the play, as in real life, Law puts on that fake Please Love Me smile that so many bishops wear, as in Act One he passes the buck in much the same way as bishops and cardinals passed the buck across the country in these cases. Law says, “The institute of Living carried the weight of that decision” and “For me to make an assessment is not correct” and other empty language to prevent himself from having to admit guilt.

WAITING for the show to start, I was wondering how they could create story dynamics using nothing but genuine testimony and words that were in letters etcetera, exhibits attached to the cases. But as I watched, I realized, God, this really works, this is the real thing.


At the end of Act One, the actor portraying a composite of plaintiffs named Patrick McSorley, Jack Maxwell in Thursday’s performance, storms off the stage, through the audience, and out the door. At the end of the play, McSorley delivers a speech that sums up so much of what the crime victims feel, I was in tears (especially knowing that McSorley committed suicide shortly after the Boston cases, including his case, settled, a fact that needs to somehow get into the story, just to make it even more meaningful to audiences.)

THE STORY dynamic was there.

Playwright Michael Murphy and Director Paul Mazursky were able to create with these documents a story with passion and evocative emotion which drew responses from “sheesh” to laughter, to an audience sitting on the edge of their seats silent, listening. Towards the end of the play, and also for a second mid way through the first act, you can see the pain and truth is starting to hit Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston, portrayed that night by Bruce Davison. Law’s demeanor changes from the glad-handing attaboy attitude of the bishop always trying to be loved, maintained in the first act, to a beaten down man who finally begins to realize the full potential of his and the Catholic Church’s guilt, those moments when the audience listens to a long period of silence.

Of course, in real life, after that testimony, Law was quickly spirited off to the Vatican for good, so he would never say another word in public again. . . .


Sin: A Cardinal Deposed is The Real Thing! I swear, actor Gary Cole is channeling Jeff Anderson and Mitchell Garabedian combined, as he portrays a composite of plaintiff attorneys, the character Orson Krieger.

Watch here at LA City Buzz Examiner, for more stories about the cast and the play as the week progresses, as I am excited about this project and want to watch it grow.


Good morning, readers. I'm just recovering from another three days laid up sick, so revving back up now, rested and raring to go, again.

NOTE: The hearing for final decision on the sealing or unsealing of documents re the Los Angeles Clergy Cases 2007 will be Wednesday April 1 at 11 AM In Department 308, L.A. Superior Court, Judge Emilie Elias presiding. L.A. City Buzz will be there - with new Anger Management Yoga techniques in progress…..slow deep breaths, slow deep breaths.


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