If you liked All the President’s Men, you’ll love Spotlight, the story of how the Boston Globe cracked the long-hidden pedophilia scandal in Boston. Following the story in the Globe, the scandal broke worldwide. What had been covered up for decades is now a legal nightmare involving billions of dollars in reparations from the Church to injured victims, and is an ongoing source of shame for the Church hierarchy and for all the priests involved. And there were a lot of them.
I hesitate to use the past tense, because I’m not at all sure the Church is no longer a haven for pedophiles.
We all know the details of the story, but the film makes the viewer feel the outrage anew. For decades, senior Church figures like Cardinal Bernard Law conspired to shame families into silence and settle abuse allegations for a pittance and outside public view. Then high ranking clergy like Cardinal Law transfered the guilty priests to new parishes where they could abuse vulnerable children again. Other institutions, including the police and the press, were complicit.
I like Pope Francis a lot, and I think he’s much better than the Popes who came immediately before him. But despite his assurance that the Church now takes the abuse of children by priests seriously, Cardinal Law sits in Rome in a comfortable retirement outside the legal reach of the Boston authorities and under the protection of Rome.
That’s shameful too.