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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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Anthony Grassi: Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
<p>Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.
</p><p>In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.
</p><p>More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.
</p><p>He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.
</p><p>In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.
</p><p>He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
</p><p>But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony’s final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.</p> American Catholic Blog God of love, as I come to the end of this Advent season, my heart is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I join with Mary in saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Nothing is impossible with you, O God.

 
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