Spotlight is not anti-Catholic, Vatican newspaper says

By Carol Glatz

CITY (CNS) — The Vatican newspaper said the Oscar-winning film, Spotlight, is
not anti-Catholic.

is not an anti-Catholic movie, as has been written, because the film succeeds
in giving voice to the alarm and deep pain” experienced by the Catholic
faithful when a team of investigative newspaper reporters in Boston revealed
the scandal of clerical abuse, said the article published Feb. 29 in L’Osservatore Romano.

paper said it was also a “positive sign” when Michael Sugar, the movie’s
producer, said he hoped the film would “resonate all the way to the Vatican.”

his acceptance speech at the 88th annual Academy Awards Feb. 28, Sugar said the
movie “gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies this voice.” He then
expressed hopes this voice would “become a choir that will resonate all the way
to the Vatican.”

Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith,” he said.

fact there was such an appeal, the Vatican newspaper said, was “a positive
sign” because it shows “there is still trust in the institution (of the
church), there is trust in a pope who is continuing the cleanup begun by his

is still trust in a faith that has at its heart the defense of victims, the
protection of the innocent,” said the article, written by Lucetta Scaraffia, a
professor of contemporary history and a frequent contributor to the Vatican

won two awards: one for best picture and one for best original screenplay. The
film documents the Boston Globe’s investigation into the scandal and cover-up
of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Vatican newspaper said the film does not touch on the “long and tenacious fight”
by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith, in launching action against abusers in the church.

a film can’t say everything, and the difficulties that Ratzinger encountered
only confirm the premise of the film, that is, that too often the church
institution did not know how to respond with the necessary determination before
these crimes,” the article said.

children are vulnerable to abuse in many other places, like in the family,
school or sports teams, it said, “it is now clear that too many in the church
were more worried about the image of the institution than the seriousness of
the act.”

of this cannot justify the very grave crime of one, who as a representative of
God, uses this prestige and authority to take advantage of the innocent,” the
article said.

film, in fact, shows the kind of devastation wrought on victims when “they
don’t even have a God to plead with anymore, to ask for help,” it said.

Father Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection
of Minors, told Vatican Radio many bishops had urged others to see the film
and “take seriously its central message, which is that the Catholic Church
can and must be transparent, just and committed to fighting abuse, and it must
ensure it never happens again.”

leaders cannot think clerical sexual abuse will go away if they don’t talk
about it, Father Zollner said. “I think this is one of the central
messages of the film.”

Tom McCarthy had said that while he’s excited the pope is a “forward-thinking,
inclusive, progressive, reform-minded person,” addressing the scourge of sexual
abuse will not occur overnight.

taking over the reins of an institution that does not change very quickly,”
McCarthy said in an interview with America magazine in November 2015.

any leader, within his institution, he’s got his work cut out for him. What
remains to be seen is how much change, how much action happens under his
guidance. I think you just have to wait and see,” McCarthy had said.

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to this story was Junno Arocho Esteves at the Vatican.

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