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Film 'Spotlight' features clergy pedophelia scandal -Vatican Radio hails it as 'honest' and 'compelling'

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'An honest attitude is necessary...'

Open Road Films released Spotlight in select theaters on Friday, November 6th. The film centers around the Catholic Church's history with child molestation and cover-ups. It has been received by audiences as an honest portrayal of an important topic in need of addressing.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 128-minute, star-studded film features the true story of how The Boston Globe revealed the cover-up of child molestation within the local Catholic Archdiocese thirteen years ago. 

Since originally airing in a film festival in Venice, Spotlight has been screened in select theaters off-and-on and has been met with several clashing reactions.

One Vatican Radio commentator claimed The Boston Globe's reporting helped the United States Catholic Church "accept fully the sin, to admit it publicly, and to pay all the consequences." 

Luca Pellegrini, a Vatican Radio commentator who mainly focuses on art and culture, praised the film for demonstrating "the inexhaustible and uncontainable force of the truth." 

Though the Vatican and Pope Francis have yet to endorse Spotlight, praise for the movie on Vatican websites and Vatican Radio has some convinced the Church leans toward "silent" approval.

Pellegrini believes the ousting of pedophilia within the Catholic Church was a positive move, writing that the The Boston Globe was successful in revealing "the horror which, in part, was already known but for too long kept silent by many, of diffuse pedophilia among Catholic priests of the American diocese, with hundreds of victims on the conscience not only of those who committed the crimes but also those who covered it up."

Praise for the film's take on the story came in the form of Pellegrini's understanding of how the film's director "never gives in to personal interpretation or falls into the trap of scandal." He added, "An honest attitude [is] necessary, when a film touches on themes [as] sensitive and delicate to the whole community of the faithful."

Spotlight Director Thomas McCarthy admitted he interviewed real victims to bring forth honesty in the film. In an interview with NPR, he said, "I wasn't looking forward to it. They're dark waters, and it's so personal and so profoundly tragic, you really don't know what to expect..."

As Pope Francis said in September, "God weeps for the sexual abuse of children. These cannot be maintained in secret..." Though the pontiff was not referring to the film, he was talking about the grand jury reports in 2005 and 2011 that uncovered the scandal of priests molesting children.
So deep was Pope Francis' regret over the incidents that in a private Mass with six victims, he delivered a homily in which he apologized for the inaction of Church leaders.

"I beg your forgiveness, too," he said, "for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves. This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk."

Since then, Pope Francis has called for a zero-tolerance policy and one Vatican tribunal was defrocked following the presentation of evidence he had been sexually abusing minors.


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