(RNS) Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has praised the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight,” which portrays The Boston Globe’s investigation of clergy sexual abuse in the archdiocese, for forcing the Catholic Church to acknowledge its “crimes and sins” in covering up for predator priests.
The film won the best picture category at the Academy Awards on Sunday for dramatizing the events of 2002 that led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and O’Malley’s appointment to head the historic archdiocese the following year.
“Spotlight is an important film for all impacted by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse,” O’Malley said in a statement released Tuesday (March 1).
“By providing in-depth reporting on the history of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the media led the Church to acknowledge the crimes and sins of its personnel and to begin to address its failings, the harm done to victims and their families and the needs of survivors,” he said.
“In a democracy such as ours, journalism is essential to our way of life. The media’s role in revealing the sexual abuse crisis opened a door through which the Church has walked in responding to the needs of survivors.”
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The cardinal went on to detail the steps the church has taken to protect children and said, “We continue to seek the forgiveness of all who have been harmed by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse.”
“Spotlight” has won praise from many Catholic leaders, and Vatican media on Monday lauded the movie and insisted that it is not anti-Catholic.
Cardinal Law, 84, is living in retirement in Rome. O’Malley is one of Pope Francis’ top advisers and has become a leading advocate for the hierarchy’s efforts to combat the sexual abuse of children by church workers.
(David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS)