Catholic World News

Oscar-winning 'Spotlight' team prods Church on sexual abuse

February 29, 2016

Accepting an Academy Award for Best Picture for his movie Spotlight, producer Michael Sugar said that the film "gave a voice to survivors (of sexual abuse)."

In his speech, Sugar said that the "voice" of survivors should "become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican." He added: "Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith."

Tom McCarthy, the film's director, echoed that message, saying: "We have to make sure this never happens again."

Before the Sunday-night Oscar ceremony, several members of the Spotlight cast joined in a demonstration of sex-abuse victims outside Our Lady of the Angels cathedral in Los Angeles. 

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reacted to the Oscar for Spotlight with an op-ed column entitled "It is not an anti-Catholic film." Writer Lucetta Scaraffia praised the movie, saying that it "manages to voice the shock and profound pain of the faithful confronting the discovery of these horrendous realities."

Scaraffia remarked that Spotlight does not tell about the "long and tenacious battle" led by Pope Benedict XVI, before and after his election as Pontiff, to discipline abusive clerics. But "one film cannot tell all," the reviewer noted. Moreover, Scaraffia argues that the resistance encountered by Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict lends strength to the film's argument that "too often ecclesiastical institutions have not known how to react with the necessary determination in the face of these crimes."


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  • Posted by: FredC - Mar. 02, 2016 11:06 AM ET USA

    In the 1970's, psychiatrists were treating sex abusers and telling the authorities, including the Church authorities, that the treatments were effective and the abusers were cured and that they could be employed as before. The Church should be suing the psychiatrists.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 01, 2016 11:47 AM ET USA

    One thing I haven't seen enough of is the role of the parent in supervising ALL of the child's adult contacts. For so many years, we just assumed that our children are safe with priests, brothers and sisters, even though we all knew that they, too, were sinners, with weaknesses and even evil in their hearts because they were human. It's pretty obvious when you know the signs.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 29, 2016 6:33 PM ET USA

    I agree that,"too often ecclesiastical institutions have not known how to react with the necessary determination in the face of these crimes." Too often, the reaction was a cover-up designed to protect the guilty under the guise of "protecting the Church". I'm sure many members of the clergy have already faced their Maker without a satisfactory answer for their silence.