You might know that a movie set for release next week tells how a team of Boston Globe journalists uncovered the child sexual abuse story that rocked the Catholic Church. You might not know a lone, brave voice in the story belonged to John D’Arcy, who died three years after he stepped down as bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese in 2010.
D’Arcy, as former Boston Archdiocese auxiliary bishop, wrote a letter to Archbishop Bernard F. Law in 1984 warning that priest John Geoghan was a serial pedophile. The church’s own investigators called D’Arcy “a voice in the wilderness” for his warning, which did not surface until after the Globe’s investigation, in a lawsuit that ultimately resulted in the archdiocese settling with scores of sex-abuse victims for $85 million.
The movie “Spotlight,” named for the investigative team that tirelessly tracked and reported the story, stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and John Slattery.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register a year before he died, D’Arcy rejected the idea that he deserved credit for the letter he sent the archbishop, instead emphasizing the sex-abuse scandal as a lesson for bishops.
“It is important to have a healthy and beautiful sense of the priesthood – a shepherd after the heart of Christ,” D’Arcy said. “I learned that from my parents, and that knowledge was strengthened in the seminary when I saw some problems.”