Culture Ethics Institutions

New film puts spotlight on Boston’s pedophile priests

Screenshot from the Spotlight trailer.

VENICE (Reuters) “Spotlight,” starring Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo as reporters working on The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of pedophile Roman Catholic priests, deals with just a fraction of sexual predation in the church, its director says.

Reports of sexual misconduct by the late British entertainer Jimmy Savile and other high profile cases are an indication of the global scope of the problem, and of failures to deal with it, Tom McCarthy said before his film’s screening on Thursday at the Venice Film Festival.

“These moments where we know people have done things wrong and we don’t, as a society, we don’t stand up to them, it takes years and years and years and the question is why? Why does it take so long?” McCarthy said in an interview on Wednesday.

The Globe’s Spotlight team exposed the attacks over a period of decades by priests in the Boston archdiocese who molested young boys but instead of being reported to the police were given counseling and moved to a different parish. The expose led to the resignation of Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law in 2002.

The film for the most part focuses on how the Globe’s team tracked down and confronted some of the offending priests.

Team members interviewed victims who were still distraught and disturbed decades later, and established that the Roman Catholic Church had a policy of paying victims to remain silent, and not rock the boat by making their allegations public.

READ: Catholic to Catholic-ish: 45 percent in US feel connected to the faith

McCarthy said that despite making some concessions to legal authorities by eventually turning over church records, he doubted the Church had fundamentally reformed.

“There are still cases in the church, right? The new pope (Francis) just appointed a tribunal with Cardinal (Sean Patrick) O’Malley out of Boston to oversee these cases but then SNAP (a victims’ group) and all these different organizations are saying it’s not enough, you’ve appointed an in-house tribunal, we are not going to get justice from that,” McCarthy said.

“I still believe in the Catholic Church, I believe in the good they can do but they are an institution that has to sort of take responsibility for the crimes they’ve committed against their parishioners and their constituency and own it — and they are not yet.”

Ruffalo said he hoped the film would help to build pressure on the church to undertake further reforms.

“Many people left the Catholic faith because of a lot of this and it suffered but I feel like maybe now we can have a discussion with the Pope that’s in…and maybe it could start doing some reparations to the credibility of an institution that has meant a lot to people over the centuries.

“I think it’s essential, it must be done.”

By Hanna Rantala; Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Louise Ireland

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  • FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP, a standard response across the board with the “walking with god clerics” now forever walking with the common man–

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

  • Finally spotlighting the reason you don’t want homos+xuals anywhere near having authority over children.

    Now on to the same gender rapes in the military.

    Get your kids out of the BSA, the CC and the military now.

  • The Church scandal has always been great fodder for a movie. Like “‘All the President’s Men”, it unveils extraordinary scandal in our most treasured institutions. Catholics should just let it alone, see the film or ignore it as you would any Picture. Our government rose from the ashes of Watergate and so will the Church rise from this sinful page in its history.

  • Hey BB, your latent homosexuality is showing again through your homophobia.

    Sociological statistics demonstrate convincingly that the vast majority of all pedophilia is heterosexual, and primarily involves fathers raping their daughters.

  • Actually most pedophiles who are attracted to boys would take great umbrage at being called “homosexual” because a homosexual is someone attracted to other adults of the same gender. Predators always worm their way into positions of authority – teachers, clergy, guards in juvenile correctional facilities, etc. They thrive in the environment in which the openly gay are despised and excluded which takes suspicion off them. Anyone who seriously believes allowing gay scoutmasters, military members, etc. increases risk to children is seriously disconnected from reality because research proves that precisely the opposite is so.

  • Oh, and what about the servicewomen raped and stalked and harassed by male servicemen? According to your logic, that must mean we need to get heterosexual males banned from the military, then.

  • So BB when have you stopped lusting over prepubescent girls?

    After all you think that people are sexually attracted to children as a matter of course. By your logic if gay people are attracted to children of the same sex, then you must be attracted to children of the opposite one.

    If anything you are revealing your own pedophile instincts.

    Shame on you.

  • George, in most cases the male “children” were pubescent teens. So it is that gray are between “child” and “adult.” But technically labeled children.

  • This might be a good film. Anything that will highlight the filth that entered into the priesthood to do their own dirty stalking, is fine by me. I might add, though, that only the Catholic Church is doing anything about this issue, and will see it through to the end. That is a guaranty. Now it is time for the forces of exposure (the press, etc.) to begin to highlight this same issue that has been running rampant in the Public Schools, yet nothing is being done about it. So it is time to expose where those kids in the Public Schools are now the ones in the greatest danger, with those teachers being shuffled around from district to district. And nobody seems to care. Ah! the various Teachers’ Unions rule supreme. Let[s go Press, you’ve done a good job with the Church, now roll up your sleeves, and continue to the next phase.

  • “maybe it could start doing some reparations to the credibility of an institution that has meant a lot to people….”


    Let the burden of the empty pews and empty coffers pull the church down to size. It should shrink to a small band of superstitious hysterics.