Posts Tagged spotlight
Editorial: Best Picture win for ‘Spotlight’ is fitting humiliation for church / National Catholic Reporter
The public humiliation for the Catholic church is now as thorough as one might expect in a culture where what is on screen is often the most persuasive element in fashioning public opinion.
“In the case of priests sexually abusing children and bishops and others hiding their crimes, the biblical resonance might now finally be felt: the first have been ushered, publicly, to their place in the last seats. The last have been made first — and given a special place (even on stage with Lady Gaga). No longer need victims hide or fear to explain themselves. The mighty, indeed, have fallen from their thrones; the humble have been exalted …
“The movie powerfully illustrated what the church utterly failed to realize about itself: that the act of abuse, horrible as it is in any circumstance, was magnified in its unspeakable specifics because an all-male, celibate culture was so protective of its own status and privilege, so closed in on itself, that it was deaf to the searing pleas of children, parents, congregations and the few souls within its ranks who dared to speak the truth.”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
“‘Spotlight,’ the film that follows The Boston Globe’s investigation into the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church, won best picture at the 88th Academy Awards held on Sunday (Feb. 28) night.
“‘This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican,’ producer Michael Sugar said in accepting the Oscar.
“‘Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith,’ he added.
“‘We would not be here today without the heroic efforts of our reporters,’ said Blye Pagon Faust, another ‘Spotlight’ producer. ‘Not only do they affect global change, but they absolutely show us the necessity for investigative journalism.'”
By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
With ‘Spotlight’ movie an award contender, Catholic reform movement assesses scandal / National Catholic Reporter (‘Spotlight’ received Best Picture Oscar a few days after the post was made)
The critically acclaimed movie ‘Spotlight’ could receive a Best Picture Oscar this Sunday. The film about how The Boston Globe investigated and brought to light clergy sexual abuse of children and its cover up in the Boston archdiocese has brought renewed awareness to the scandal worldwide.
“But many Catholics have had a heightened sense of the crisis all along. Some of those Catholics — determined to remain faithful while addressing the scandal — formed Voice of the Faithful only a couple of months after the Globe’s sensational January 2002 story appeared.
“VOTF continues its work nearly a decade and half later because the scandal remains — ‘a mass psychological dysfunction hidden in plain sight, which has stretched back decades or even centuries and will, unchecked, do precisely the same in the future,’ according to Peter Bradshaw’s “Spotlight” review in The Guardian.
“Amid the passionate indignation the scandal created, VOTF grew rapidly to comprise an international membership. Key to members is to remain faithful Catholics and to help redress and prevent scandal by changing the way the Church operates …”
By Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director, Voice of the Faithful, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Warned by media and friends to compare the movie Spotlight with the 1976 classic All the President’s Men I am now intensely grateful for that misdirection. It meant that Spotlight was a complete surprise, and a stunning reminder of the Catholicism that for most of my own lifetime did not want to look closely at clerical sexual abuse of children …
“So far none of the reviews of Spotlight that I have read have noticed that at every level this 2015 movie not only overturns the Hollywood clichés of All the President’s Men, it defies the Hollywood star-as-hero convention also, and obliges us – if we are paying close attention – to re-examine all of our own assumptions about heroes and villains and the triumph of good over evil. Those who find the 1976 movie superior need to think again.
“To start with, few will come out of Spotlight remembering the individual names of the team who finally exposed the scale of concealment of clerical child sex abuse in Boston. The reason is the superior understanding on the part of writers, director and cast of the haphazard nature of ‘heroism’ – and of the even more important fact that no one is always a hero, or always necessarily a villain either.”
By Sean O’Conaill, Association of Catholics in Ireland — Click here to read the rest of this review. Sean O’Conaill also is a member of Voice of the Faithful in Ireland.
The feature film “Spotlight” about The Boston Globe’s investigation of Catholic clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston has been in wide release in the U.S. for nearly three weeks and continues to open eyes and garner critical acclaim. This story in The New Yorker is by its roving cultural correspondent, Sarah Larson.
“Since seeing the movie “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe investigation of sexual abuse and coverups in the Catholic Church, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and the questions it raises—about how far institutions will go to protect themselves, about who we listen to and protect, about who and what we ignore, about the power of disclosure and even conversation …”
And how did Catholics react after the events depicted in the movie?
“In the movie, the revelations of the Spotlight investigation make (Globe Spotlight team member Sasha) Pfeiffer too uneasy to keep going to Mass with her grandmother. I asked how her grandmother reacted in real life. ‘She was shocked and saddened, but she stuck with the Church till the day she died,’ Pfeiffer said. ‘Some people left the Church; others tried to change it from within, like the group Voice of the Faithful; others loved their parish, they loved their pastor, and they sort of said, ‘Oh, that’s terrible,’ and they kept going to Mass.’”
Panel on ‘Spotlight’ film explores priest sex abuse scandal, institutional cover-up and advocacy for vicitms / Harvard Law Today
The film “Spotlight” focuses on the dogged pursuit by Boston Globe reporters to expose the Catholic Church’s cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by Boston priests. But there is much more to the story, as evidenced by a wide-ranging panel discussion of the movie last week at Harvard Law School that touched on legal issues, secrets and shame, and even a potential lawsuit against the filmmakers.
Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and the Dean of Students Office, the panel featured Josh Singer ’01, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Tom McCarthy; Mitchell Garabedian, who represented dozens of plaintiffs in suits against the church (and was depicted by Stanley Tucci in a prominent role in the movie); and HLS professors Jeannie Suk ’02 and Lawrence Lessig, with Professor Jonathan Zittrain ’95 moderating. In the audience were Ben Bradlee Jr. and Michael Rezendes, journalists from the Globe who were also depicted in the film, and who participated in the discussion.
By Lewis Rice, Harvard Law Today — Click here to read the rest of this story.
For Catholics, ‘Spotlight’ landed in theaters this holiday season like the proverbial coal in the Christmas stocking. Watching the recounting of The Boston Globe’s clergy pedophile investigation resurrected old feelings in this practicing Catholic. I seethed again at the men who committed these crimes and covered them up. (Full disclosure: In my past life, I was the Globe’s freelance religion columnist, and my wife until recently worked as a reporter for the paper.)
“Yet the film is actually a Christmas gift. We Catholics bear special responsibility for pondering the lessons of the scandal, and special entitlement: Those were Catholic kids molested by priestly perverts. Some Catholics are drawing lessons from the movie that are obvious, even banal — appreciation for our free press and justice system, the need for ‘more, not less, holiness in the priesthood.’ (I’m unaware of anyone calling for less holy priests.) I believe there’s a more fundamental and valuable wisdom to be gleaned from the movie. Catholics, split between theological traditionalists and liberals, must understand that, at least on this one, the liberals were right.”
By Rich Barlow, WBUR-FM — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Let victims pursue their abusers: New York’s outdated civil statute of limitations badly needs fixing / New York Daily News
The following is an op-ed piece published in the New York Daily News by attorney Marci Hamilton, a law professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and author of “Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children.”
The greatest barrier to child protection is ignorance. The movie (‘Spotlight’) shows smart, experienced journalists struggling to comprehend what was right in front of them. ‘Spotlight’ will likely educate millions about the ways in which adults and institutions we trust protect adults and put children at risk every day.
“Despite news coverage of one scandal after another, most adults still trust their instincts regarding who is an abuser and who is not. That is dangerous. Until parents, teachers, clergy and all other adults understand the cunning moves of pedophiles and the ease with which we as adults let abusers persist, kids are at serious risk.
“’Spotlight’ should carry special significance in New York, where, unlike in Boston, so little of the truth about the bishops’ cover-up has surfaced. That is because New York shares the ignominious distinction with Alabama, Michigan and Mississippi of having the worst civil statutes of limitations for child sex abuse in the United States.”
Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Shortly after events in the just released feature film “Spotlight” end, Voice of the Faithful was born of out of the anger and frustration of faithful Catholics at what had happened in their Church: the clergy sexual abuse of children and its coverup. Determined to remain faithful, but to address the wrongs, the movement supported abuse survivors and worked to reform Church structures that enabled the scandal.
As Boston Globe Spotlight investigative team member Sacha Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “The View,” “Certainly some Catholics felt that they couldn’t go back to the church. Others tried to change it from within. There’s a group called Voice of the Faithful. They decided to do that.”
VOTF is what happened next in the Church’s life after the movie ends in 2002, shortly after The Boston Globe published its first stories detailing abuse and coverup in the Archdiocese of Boston. VOTF’s efforts changed how the Roman Catholic Church addresses problems, as described in sociologist Tricia Bruce’s in-depth study of VOTF as an intra-institutional social movement, Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church (Oxford University Press 2011).
Several points paraphrased from Bruce’s book show how VOTF:
- Refused to let the issue of abuse and the secrecy surrounding it go unspoken.
- Spoke out through national media and publicized stories of those victimized by clergy abuse.
- Attended meetings of lay Catholic leaders to focus attention on the scandal.
- Introduced discussions about sexual abuse, power, authority, and the rights and offerings of the laity into the conversation within the Catholic Church.
- Reawakened long-dormant conversations about Vatican II.
- Helped tell the history of the scandal and influenced the Catholic Church’s responses after 2002.
- Broadened the Catholic “we” to include not just the ordained and the silent majority obedient to existing structures, but also new communities within parishes emphasizing the leadership and abilities of lay Catholics.
- Expanded the meaning of Catholic identity to contain both faithfulness and challenge to the institution, suggesting it is possible and preferable to keep the faith, but change the Church.
VOTF continues to address the problems of clerically hardened institutional structures, aiming for greater lay input into governance and for healing wounds the scandal has inflicted. Some in the Church’s hierarchy echo this message, especially in light of “Spotlight’s” story.
As one example, Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, was recently quoted in The Boston Globe as saying that, “though failing to report or remove an offender is rare compared with the past, ‘it too still happens, and when it does, a shadow is cast on the church’s efforts to restore trust and to provide a safe environment. And so I suppose the story told by the movie (‘Spotlight’) bears repeating until all of us get all of it right.’”
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.