Film Review: Spotlight

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.

4 thoughts on “Film Review: Spotlight

  1. I don’t want to see it — although I know it’s a fine film and very true. I’m already on hiatus from choir and all my activities at my church because I can’t reconcile the disparity between church beliefs and their actions and what I believe. While I think Francis is a nice guy with good values, he’s not a change agent. I’m just not willing to ignore reality anymore.

  2. for Mary: I couldn’t believe how my outrage came roaring back, even though we’ve all known the details for a long time. I know you’ve hung in there for a long time with the Catholic Church, but I’m not surprised at your pulling back. I think Francis has good intentions, but he’s up against a powerful conservative block in the Vatican. I think sending Cardinal Law back to the U.S. to face the music would send a strong message, but we both know it isn’t going to happen.

  3. I agree with you so much about Cardinal Law. The fact that he is housed in one of the most beautiful places in Rome makes my blood boil. We do intend to see the movie, although it will probably bring up all those angry feelings again. I wish Pope Francis could be a change agent, but you are right – it is never going to happen!

  4. for Ada: It’s a good film, and well worth seeing even though we all know the story. I don’t know how Bernard Law lives with himself, but he’s apparently doing quite well in the lap of luxury in Rome.

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