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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Whistleblower

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

As the war in Bosnia was winding down in 1999 and the country transitioning to peace, the UN had a multinational police force in place, mostly to observe. These were peacekeepers who came from the national police forces of various countries. Because the US does not have national police Kathryn Bolkovak (Rachel Weisz) takes a big salary job for a year as a UN peacekeeper or observer, but she is actually hired by a US military corporation (DynCorp is the actual private military company, but is called another name in the film; DynCorp has billions of dollars in contracts from the U.S. government, then and now).
 
Kathy becomes involved in bringing a domestic dispute to trial and the UN asks her to head up their office for gender and domestic abuse affairs. When she is called to help a seriously injured young woman she discovers that the peacekeepers take “these” women to a shelter and consider them “just prostitutes.”
 
Then Kathy learns of a bar in the mountains and leads a raid to rescue several girls. Kathy sees pitiful living conditions, chains and photos of girls being abused or worse. There are UN personnel in some of the photos, and one is an American.
 
As Kathy tries to collect evidence to prosecute offenders and repatriate these now stateless women, she comes face to face with the reality of human trafficking for sex.  The perpetrators she identifies are suddenly sent home. She sends an email to the UN High Command and is dismissed from her job.
 
Solid supporting roles by Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn.
 
“The Whistleblower” is not an easy film to watch. Human trafficking films such as “Trade” (2007)  are very difficult to watch, yet they pull away the shades covering up human misery that we really do not want to know about.  Mira Sorvino starred in the 2005 Lifetime miniseries on TV, “Human Trafficking” and NBC’s Dateline has done investigative reporting on children and the sex trade.
 
But then, what are we to do?
 
C.A.S.T., the coalition for the abolition of slavery and trade, sponsored the screening I attended. It is one such group that educates, advocates for legislation, and provides shelter and immigration services to women and children who are able to escape from bondage – and we are talking Los Angeles, CA. Visit www.CASTLA.org for more information. And for a quietly powerful interview by Charlie Rose with Rachael Weisz and the real Kathy Bolkovac, go to http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11815.


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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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