THE STORY: In 2002, setting aside long-standing deference to the church, a court ordered Cardinal Bernard F. Law, Archbishop of Boston, deposed in two civil suits. This allowed attorneys to question him under oath about his supervision of priests accused of child molestation. They confronted him with thousands of pages of internal church documents going back forty years, among them letters from victims and their families pleading for help that came too little or not at all. But the Cardinal came prepared. Refusing to wilt under relentless questioning, Law resisted accepting culpability for the years of abuse by priests under his charge, insisting he “didn’t remember” or “can’t undo the past.” However, this line of defense, striking some as more expected from a politician or corporate executive than an archbishop, revealed far more than the Cardinal surely intended. Certainly it did to the public. Within months, Law resigned as Boston’s Archbishop, surrendering his position as the undisputed leader of the American Catholic Church. The archdiocese he left behind would pay out a hundred million dollars as compensation to victims and their families. For a “prince of the church,” it was a Shakespearean-like fall from grace—a brilliant and charismatic leader betrayed by the age-old pitfalls of power.
Winner of a 2005 Obie Award. “SIN looks at the scandalous child sex-abuse crimes that sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church. In his stark treatment, Michael Murphy studiously avoids graphic accounts of creepy priests diddling altar boys. His stunning revelations are presented by contrasting depositions given by Cardinal Law with statements of young victims and their families.” —Variety. “Murphy’s quietly disturbing play…reveals with devastating clarity the dubious role that Cardinal Law played in a tragedy that irreparably damaged hundred of families and destroyed more than a few lives.” —NY Times. “SIN touches our whole culture. The corporate enveloping of self by those at the top, without regard for anyone or anything but their own comfort and their own deniability, is the besetting sin of our time.” —Village Voice. “Ninety minutes of compelling, often unnerving theater.” —Associated Press.