All the Pope’s Men: a Review of “Spotlight”

Were you a person who knows nothing about the Catholicism and watched Spotlight, the new film about the priest sex-abuse crisis (officially opening tomorrow), you would probably stay as far away as possible from the Church. The premise of the film is this: for several decades, the Catholic Church (in the film the focus is on the Church in Boston, but the problem was worldwide) covered up cases of sexual wrongdoing by priests. The Church moved these priest abusers from one parish to another and in and out of various programs of reparative therapy, even as it arranged confidential financial settlements with the victims of abuse and suppressed all attempts to publish the truth about the extent of the abuse.

Sad to say, these basic facts are indisputable, even if there are nuances that, depending upon your point of view, may soften somewhat the sharp edges of the scandal.

The film’s timeline ends in 2002 with the publication by the Boston Globe of the first major report of the pattern of abuse and cover-up, written by the paper’s investigative team, called Spotlight. In a final scene, the writer of that initial front-page story is in the office of a victims’ attorney, who is about to go into a meeting with a new client, whose pre-teen children have just recently been molested by a priest – a scene clearly meant to suggest that the abuse goes on, which a decade ago it may still have been.

According to the film, it was the Globe’s new Jewish editor, Marty Baron (played by Liev Schreiber), who sets Spotlight to work on the story of Fr. John Geoghan (the abuse crisis’ Typhoid Mary), who by all accounts was a serial pedophile and who was tried and convicted and sent to prison where in 2003 he was murdered by another inmate. Director Tom McCarthy’s film is, in some ways, a fairly plodding redux of Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men, a much better movie that was nonetheless an equally self-congratulatory, over-hyped paean to journalistic “courage.”

Now in both Big Stories (Watergate and sex-abuse), there certainly were forces arrayed against the truth, although, let’s be honest, no shots were fired at the reporters. Pakula especially created a sense of foreboding danger, so the viewer may wonder if “Woodstein” will even survive to see their journalistic triumph splashed across the pages of the Washington Post. McCarthy can do no more than create a feeling of. . .unpleasantness – that Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), head of the Spotlight team, may find it difficult to fill out a foursome of other Catholic golfers or that Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), who writes the initial Globe exposé, may crack under the pressure of being frozen out of Catholic life in Boston, which pretty much is life in Boston.

spotlight_poster

The pace of All the President’s Men had me on the edge of my seat when I first saw it in 1976. Overblown as the whole shebang was, the film works as a thriller. Spotlight, however, gets bogged down in the process it chronicles, which is great if you like depositions. Mr. McCarthy uses many examples to make the same point, and Spotlight reporters huddled in the Globe’s archive flipping through copies of diocesan directories isn’t the same as Pakula’s soaring shot of Woodward and Bernstein in the Library of Congress.

Still the movie does make its points, and it’s hard to muster sympathy for Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law, who like Richard President Nixon, was to an extent driven from office by tenacious reporters. Law, it seems to me, was the more deserving of ignominy. There’s a scene near film’s end in which reporter Rezendes stands in the back of a church as a children’s choir sings a carol at Christmas. The church is beautiful, the kids are beautiful, and the music is beautiful. I have the “gift of tears,” a small grace from God – either that or I’m just a sap – and I felt them well up watching that scene, both in joy because of its essential beauty, the beauty of the Catholic faith, but also in sadness because of the betrayal of priests and bishops who failed to respond to widespread criminality with anything like Christian compassion, settling instead for Catholic careerism.

The Globe (via Crux) reported the other day that the USCCB has issued guidelines to parishes about how to respond to the release of Spotlight. “Do not let past events discourage you,” reads the bishops’ memo. “This is an opportunity to raise the awareness of all that has been done to prevent child sexual abuse in the church.” Would that this is all that were needed.

Spotlight states that, as one character puts it, the crisis “has nothing to do with being gay.” Indeed, that character’s real-life counterpart recently said in an interview that about a third of abuse in Boston was heterosexual. But the movie’s depositions all deal with homosexual acts, and there are odd interludes in which the reporters talk on the phone with Richard Sipe, author of Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis, who asserts that half of all Catholic clergy aren’t celibate, and we all know that nationwide the data indicate that more than 80 percent of all abuse cases (i.e. sexual contact with minors – defined as kids 17 and younger) involved homosexual activity. Who knows how many priests have failed to live up to their vows? Fifty percent seems awfully high. In any case, the crisis is mostly past, except perhaps in Rome.

So, Spotlight makes it’s points, although not very well, and it misses the depth of the scandal by being politically correct about its cause, but it’s worth seeing, if only for the performances of Keaton, Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, and John Slattery.

[Spotlight is rated R, I guess because of its subject. There is no nudity and not much bad language, although there are explicit descriptions of the acts involved in abuse. The film is currently in limited release but will appear in wider distribution on November 20.]

UPDATE: Spotlight received the Oscar as Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony.

Brad Miner

Brad Miner

Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and Board Secretary of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with George J. Marlin, is now on sale. The Compleat Gentleman, is available on audio.

  • Tom Williams

    I think you aside comment “except in Rome” is very fitting. When, by my count, at least 1/3 of prelates at the Synod were in favor of blessing homosexual unions, while at the same time more bishops being appointed with this mindset, “the smoke of Satan entering the sancturary” is more like “is now in control.”

    Jesus did nothing to defend Himself with Pilot, just as He is doing nothing now. He is allowing Himself to be recrucified by the very ones He appointed to be His teachers. The Judas’ in the ministarial priesthood who have brought this condition about will have to account for their lack of faith in the world to come.
    God have mercy on their souls.

    • PCB

      Mr. Williams, Although I am in agreement with much of your response, though temping to draw such conclusions, it is nevertheless, presumptuous to declare Jesus is doing nothing. Leave such presumptions where they belong, with people like Nancy Pelosi.

      • Tom Williams

        Thank you for correcting me on this. Jesus is of course always involved, He is not disinterested, I just think He is letting those who think they are in control have their way at the moment. When and how He will interven, through the actions of faithful catholics, to bringing His Kingdom on earth more fully visible, I believe will take a little more time than my lifetime.
        I am a senior.

  • sg4402

    I don’t buy that pedophilia “has nothing to do with being gay”. To me, that declaration is just one more lie to protect the ‘gay lifestyle’. But, irregardless, pedophilia has everything to do with the SATURATION of sex in the culture. Ever since the libido was unleashed into the culture, generally in the ’60s, sexual inhibitions and restraint have been ridiculed, and sexual freedom has been glorified. Of course, publicly, pedophilia is scorned. But, privately, the shackles of sexual restraint have been broken. “If it feels good, do it! Just watch out for the cop around the corner—and don’t get caught.

  • DeaconEdPeitler

    Two things: 1. I will not be seeing this film as I will be busy doing more important things with my life. 2. The clergy sex scandal is about homosexuals in the priesthood who went after the low-hanging fruit. The remedy: screen out men with SSA.

    • Fr Kloster

      As I have said many times, ephebophilia is not pedophilia. There were many more cases of teenager abuse than child abuse. When a teenager commits sexual acts with anyone (even a priest) multiple times all the while receiving compensation (money or gifts), that is what as know as gay prostitution with minors. Then, they got paid again when they sued. If I were 14 or 15 no priest would have molested me. If he tied me up perhaps, but I’d never have gone near him again. Homosexuality is indeed the problem, not to mention our society that is almost totally depraved.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        “that is what as know as gay prostitution with minors.”

        Where I come from (Scotland), it is called, “Seducing and debauching the minds of young boys to lewd, indecent, and libidinous practices, and using lewd, indecent, and libidinous behaviour towards them”

        • JohnMcCormack

          and using the power of God to get away with it and defend it, as the devil would do

      • JohnMcCormack

        Of course, you’re lying, which is easy to prove, and when you find the truth, you will delete this post. God is the truth. You will find an excuse to hide it, but God knows.

        The Catholic John Jay report of 2004 is online, and shows that 32% of the child victims were 11 and under, 47% were 12 and under, 60% were 13 or under, according to the John Jay report, and any of these can be the cut off age for pedophilia. All unforgivable according to Jesus in Matt 18:6-14.

        This was child rape, and you will not be forgiven for defending it (Matt 18:6-14). Children thought priests were “men of God” at the time, and did what they were told. The lies about getting gifts and money are just evil. Of course, if they are lies, they are unforgivable.

        Of course you ignore the 800+ Catholic priests who raped little girls, but the devil told you to avoid that. When you look in the face of God, with the victims behind him, you will at least know why your eternity will be spent with the evil one.

        You are not forgiven (Matt 18:6-14).

    • Ernest Miller

      Fr. Kloster’s post is very germane and highly reflective of reality. You see, I attended an all boy Catholic High School and there were two priests who pursued boys. At 14 and 15 years of age, we understood the problem, chuckled, and never allowed any contact much less abuse.

      Our school is located in a suburb near Hollywood and many students reported homosexual aggression from many actors and performers in the area. Hence, we all assumed this behavior was rooted in mankind flawed historical lineage from the Bible to the Greeks to modern society.

      None of us…to the man…ever considered ourselves in any danger that we could not fend off nor would we have ever considered victimization to gain monetary awards, although I suppose most were aware of those options. Indeed, not one student even told their parents since we were completely capable of handling it ourselves.

      If the victims are telling the truth, then I agree with Fr. K’s assessment of payment in kind at the time with monetary compensation for alleged suffering in the future. Based on my personal experience and agreement from fellow alumni, I cannot imagine a well-adjusted young man falling for an invitation by any homosexual, clergy or secular.

      This is a tempest in a teapot and very unfortunate for the Catholic Church. Too bad Church leaders did not challenge the accusers…how in the world could Geoghan have the time to molest 230 victims and not appear suspicious? How long did the molestation last per boy? At one per month, that’s a reign of 20 years. In my school, the first victim would have warned his friends and the abuse stopped in its tracks.

      • JohnMcCormack

        The devil has given you every excuse. Of course, Jesus said that childrape was unforgivable, and you should find and help every victim (Matt 18:6-14), At least be honest with yourself, as God will be with you. If you are wrong, you are viciously and unforgivably judgmental, defending pedophiles over victims, and and you have no hope of getting into heaven.

      • WellAdjustedVaticanVictim

        Your position is not supported by the facts. Do you actually believe that the two priests who pursued boys in your high school never found a victim? You benefited from an awareness as a young man of the predatory nature of certain priests. How fortunate that you and your friends avoided victimization. Do only “well adjusted young men” deserve the protection of the clergy or society? At what age does one become “completely capable of handling it” 6, 10, 15 years old … when? You carry forward the legacy of denial while cavalierly throwing “payment in kind” for victims.

        The catholic church perpetrated an institutionalized protection of predatory pedophile priests. By hiding the truth, and putting the image of the institution ahead of the powerless, the wolves were allowed to feast on their flock, “Let us Prey” while the shepherds, you Ernest and the church continue to sleep.

      • winofigments

        If a straight 14-year old male student was pursued and seduced by a 35 year old female teacher, would you still not hold the teacher responsible? Just because you are aware of sexuality and might have been rewarded by your seducer does not make this problem any less serious. Teachers and priests have the highest responsibility (after parents) to do no harm.

    • givelifeachance2

      Not just screen them out. Annul them fast track. Beware of priests bearing “gifts”.

    • Diane

      Amen! and do it now, including the Bishops and Cardinals who are gay. They need to go first because they are the ones who are in charge of getting the Pope to change the Doctrines.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    The root of the sex abuse scandal is clericalism: manifested in the frankly bizarre assumption on the part of some bishops that they were somehow better placed to investigate and deal with allegations of abuse than the police or the public prosecutor.

    Given the rule “Testis unus testis nullus” – One witness is no witness, almost every successful prosecution for sex abuse depends on mutual corroboration; where an accused person is charged with a series of similar offences closely linked in time, character and circumstances, the evidence of one witness implicating the accused in one offence may be taken to corroborate the evidence of another witness implicating the accused in another offence, each offence being treated as if it were an element in a single course of conduct.

    It is this that makes the candid sharing of information with the public authorities vital in the protection of children and in the detection and punishment of offenders, however apparently insignificant or unreliable in itself that information may seem to be.

  • samton909

    Boston magazine, in the 80’s, named the downtown Catholic parish as the best place to find a gay lover. So at this time, the homosexual influence in Boston was rampant. What we have learned is that the media will go to any lengths to promote the gay cause. It was painfully obvious that most abuse was of those entering puberty, and later, by homosexual priests. Read David France’s book – there you will find that some of the worst abusers were running programs to get boys to admit their gayness. Other seminarians considered Geoghan effeminate. Never mind. The media will sacrifice children, they will abandon the weak. It is all about pretending to promote the new “civil rights” cause, which is not a “civil rights” cause at all. It is the naked advocacy of perversion as normality. The media have degenerated into nothing more than a propaganda organization for low causes.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    Unfortunately Brad I have the same ‘gift’. Every-time I watch the Song of Bernadette when the mean prioress carries dying Bernadette having just learned of the Saint’s excruciating terminal illness I become a sentimental, slobbering mess.
    Unfortunately Archbishop Law after he left in ignominy was given a prestigious titular bishopric in Rome perceived by many as a reward. Fr Peter Hullermann of Essen after arrest for sexually assaulting a boy in 79 was transferred to Munich in August 1982. Thankfully then Archbishop Ratzinger had already left Munich in February assigned as prefect to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Unfortunately he gave previous permission for Hullermann to be assigned to Munich for therapy and perhaps eventual parish assignment. He was assigned to a parish and again sexually abused a minor. At the time most prelates were not as aware as they are today that the pathology of child sexual abuse is deeply ingrained in the psyche of the abuser. That of course does not free them of responsibility either under the law or morally.
    The bottom line for clergy today is to have the courage to speak out in sermons and elsewhere as appropriate against the abuse of children and against homosexual behavior which underlines much of the abuse of young boys. The difficulty is fear of losing popularity with congregations or criticism by other clergy. Many have been swayed both by civil ordinance and most significantly by a sea change of moral malaise and acceptance of homosexuality from without and within the Catholic Church. Pope Francis does little to correct that impression but instead suggests that we must be ‘softer’ and accepting of the new age that we are in. Francis does deserve credit for setting up a tribunal to investigate and prosecute prelates who cover up abuse. He absolutely most do much more and address the problem of not only priest abuse which he has condemned but the fundamental issue of homosexual behavior squarely and in accord with traditional Catholic teaching.

    • JohnMcCormack

      You are very clever in the way that you mislead the followers. This was child rape, but you call it “homosexuality”. You talk about the evils of homosexuality, but never talk about helping the victims that were heterosexually raped, and by “Christ on earth”, as you priests call yourselves. Of course, you completely ignore the 800+ “heterosexual” childraping priests that the Catholic church admitted in their own John Jay report.

      If you’re wrong, of course, there is no forgiveness for you according to Matt 18:6-14, right? At least be honest with yourself and God before you have to be honest with yourself before God.

  • Manfred

    Thank you for the review, Brad. I phoned the Boston Globe in 2003 or 2004 to find the date when Fr. Paul Shanley was to be sentenced. I was directed to a reporter named Walter (?). He was forthcoming, and he explained the reporting staff was sickened by what they learned. Geoghan, e.g., had 230 victims.
    See the John Jay Report, the 300 page dossier given to Pope Benedict concerning homosexuality in the priesthood which we never heard mentioned again.
    I had a telephone friend at that time named Father Charles Fiore+ who was a conservative Catholic writer. Google: Cardinal Bernardin and Steven Cook. Fr Fiore is the priest who Bernardin alleges advised Cook to sue him. Fiore never told anyone to sue the Cdl, but he did speak to Cook on the phone for forty minutes at the request of Cook’s attorney to determine if Cook, a former seminarian then dying of AIDS, had had a sexual liaison with Berrnardin when Bernardin was the archbishop of Cincinnati and Cook was a seminarian there. As a wise priest and former rector of a seminary, Fiore had experience with homoisexual seminarians and priests. (Recall that Fr. Bruce Ritter of Covenant House insisted on having the television on in the room during his sodomic liaisons.) Officially, Cook withdrew his lawsuit. Unofficially, the Archdiocese of Chicago paid Cook’s medical expenses, which was the sole purpose of the suit.
    After reading this and seeing Spotlight, will anyone ever insist on still using the term “gay” to describe these people?

  • Michael Dowd

    Thanks Brad. Good review of a movie I will not be seeing. The subject matter is all too disturbing and continues to be. Homosexuality is the crux of the problem and to make matters worse, there are attempts in Rome to have it approved as normal and acceptable. All most shocking. We are a long way from solving this basic problem which is loss of faith in God, who has left some in the Church to muck about in their own spiritual excrement.

  • Thomas

    Two of the responses to the scandal by Pope Benedict were (1) promote Cardinal Law to be Archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome and (2) “ban” seminarians who might have homosexual tendencies, thus conflating homosexual attraction (not sinful in and of itself according to the Catechism) with homosexual activity and pedophilia (both very sinful).

    Clericalism is indeed alive and well.

    • Mary J. Nelson

      You may want to look into the history behind all this before passing judgment on Benedict XVI. Early on, Cardinal Ratzinger was apparently rather horrified by the way in which cases were being more or less ignored had tried for some time to bring about reform. In 2001, he convinced John Paul II to give authority to handle such cases to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then worked as rapidly as possible, with a good deal of opposition from the “clerical class”, to handle such cases properly, but still did not have sufficient clout to deal with highly protected clergy, such as Fr. Maciel (Legion of Christ), who was protected by certain other higher ups.

      • Aliquantillus

        John Paul II and Benedict XVI were men of good intentions but weak in realizing these intentions. The point is that they didn’t have the courage to really punish bishops and to set examples. By setting examples I mean such things as calling a criminal bishop to Rome, defrock him on the spot, confiscate his money and throw him on the street in his underware so to say. Not to forget the most important thing: to make a big show of it, for this is the only way to intimidate other scoundrels.

        I know of course that there’s not the slightest chance that anything like this is going to happen. On the contrary, the present Pope is a pro-homosexualist who appoints pro-homosexualist bishops — e.g. Cupich, Kesel. Even the mild measures of John Paul and Benedict are already completely forgotten today. So the corruption goes on, perhaps until the secular world has had enough of it. Should a new massive sexual abuse scandal happen, then it is quite possible that the Vatican will lose its independent status in international law and that the concordate with Italy will be terminated. Or even worse, that the Church will be considered as an international criminal organization.

        • Mary J. Nelson

          Well…based on statistics every school district in the United States (and probably worse elsewhere) can join them.

    • Manfred

      The rector of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit recently mandated that all seminarians would wear bathrobes from their rooms to shower and return. Towels around one’s loins would henceforth be forbidden as this might be “an occasion of sin” for some of the seminarians
      This is why Pope Benedict exercised the 2,000 year old prudential judgement of not allowing men with SSA to enter the priesthood..

      • Charles E Flynn

        Good lesson in prudence, which, like all the virtues, will never be obsolete.

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      The Catechism does not say that the predilection is always not sinful in itself. 2358 states in effect deep-seated tendencies in which the person is not responsible are not negligible not that they are always the case. The willful decision can according to Aquinas be a willed privation of direction toward a due end (ST Ia 94, 1). Man can be responsible for a disordered will that leads to perverted ends of acts. The evidence is that the majority of instances of perverted behavior is elective. The growing acceptance and practice of homosexual acts in different cultures throughout history and as is becoming prevalent in our time is a moral disease that is spreading due to abandoning of the True Faith. Read the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans Ch 1 in which he attributes the homosexual practices of many Roman men and women to an unwllingness to accept the evidence in nature of the Divinity. They instead turned to idolatry and God abandoned them-the gentile not Jewish Romans in punishment and they then turned to “shameful” and perverted practices men lusting for men and women for women. Psychologist J. Michael Bailey wrote a book The Man Who Would Be Queen in which he attributes the predilection of many of the homosexuals he counselled to a perverted desire of finding sexual pleasure in the very act of mimicking a woman.

    • Dave Fladlien

      Everyone seems to forget that Cardinal Otaviani put together an entire process for investigating and putting on trial any priest accused of this evil, way back in the time of St. John XXIII. A lot of the problem is that the process wasn’t followed generally. In the diocese where I lived some time ago, it was. I’ve learned that Priests found guilty were fired, not reassigned.

      This was not a perfect solution in every way, and there is definitely room to criticize the secrecy that it lent itself too. There was still at the time a wide-spread attitude that us stupid faithful had to be “protected” from the truth, or we’d all leave the Church, which was a disgraceful attitude in the 20th century. But, when followed, that process — inadequate though it was — did greatly reduce the incidence of this kind of behavior, as the very low number of cases in that diocese under that bishop (verified by later investigation, as I understand it) confirms.

      I think too much blame is being placed on the Church, and much too little on individual bishops.

    • kilbirt42

      Homosexuals do not reproduce; they proselytize, preferably among the young and naive.

      Law was not promoted; he was given an escape hatch to a sinecure to get him out of the way.

      He made himself a victim by believing in the triumph of the therapeutic.

      He had a decent past in the Church before running aground in Boston. That see needed a master, not a sympathetic man. He might well have fared better in a different role for himself and, alas the Church.

  • Sheila

    Thank you for giving us a heads up to this film. I will pass on this article to all my friends so we can start praying for all souls… believers and non, as their will be much backlash. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church” The bigest “C” of all, Jesus Christ Himself said “It is finished”. A done deal. Amen! I don’t plan nor do I want to see this film as the subject matter sickens my heart; however, I would only change my mind if God purpused me to see it. What a waste of lives. Are women involved in these kinds of things in the Church too? I’ve never thought about that…ever. My Dearest Jesus, please protect our hearts, minds, and bodies and help us all to be holy and faithful catholics to the end! Amen.

  • chrisinva

    “In any case, the crisis is mostly past, except perhaps in Rome.”

    The “crisis” might be passed, but not the healing. While the abusers were identified and rendered their just due, their enablers and protectors in the hierarchy were not.

    Two U.S. ordinaries (Minneapolis and Kansas City) were recently removed for “cause.” Had those norms been in place in 2002, when the “Charter” was adopted in Dallas, over 100 bishops, including several cardinals, would have been removed summarily.

    That they were not – and that several are still in office – constitutes a scab over a wound that has not healed.

    The result? Cardinal Dolan admits that, since the scandals, the bishops have had “laryngitis” on the tough moral teachings of the Church.

    Is there a connection? Draw your own conclusions.

    • J_Bob

      As a former long time member of the Archdiocese of Mpls-St. Paul,
      I remember comments made by a “Catholic” professor, when Bishop Nienstedt was appointed to the Archdiocese. None of them good, but nothing about sex abuse, it was all about his traditional manner.

      I also remember a member of our Bible study group, quoting what the Archbishop said. When asked if he actually heard the comments, this person said he heard if from a reliable source. Next question, was it 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. hand, at which the person got upset, that the rest of the group would not believe his opinion.

      After that in my mind, the Archbishop had a target on his back, & open season started.

  • Quo Vadis

    Homosexual or hetrosexual what does the vow of celibacy mean to anyone who accepts it willingly and then violates it time and time again ? Not to even mention the horror and betrayal of a child.

    I suppose it is beyond my understanding and comprehension how you can stand at the altar, conduct the sacred liturgy, and be such a hypocrite.

    Just leave, please.

  • BobRN

    I’ll go see “Spotlight” when Tinseltown makes an equal effort to promote “An Open Secret,” the documentary by Oscar-winning director Amy Berg about the epidemic of child sexual abuse in the film industry. I think the reporters who exposed the horror of abuse in Boston deserved the pulitzer they won, but what I can’t stand is a pack of hypocrites in Hollywood pointing to the abuse committed by others while keeping their own victims under wrap. As far as I’m concerned, this movie serves their interest in deflecting attention away from the crisis in Hollywood, which never has seriously attempted to expose much less reform their own crisis, and keeps the public thinking that the abuse crisis in the Church remains the only game in town. Sadly, the media, including the Boston Globe, is complicit in the cover-up by their silence. Everyone knows what’s going on, but no one is doing anything about it. Hence, the “open secret.”

    The Church today needs to do two things: First, continue the reform measures that have succeeded in reducing the number of children abused from hundreds of new cases a year in the mid-70s to an average of less than ten a year over the last two decades (a fact that Hollywood will never make a movie about and The Boston Globe will never report on). The number of new cases needs to be “zero.” Is that possible? Yes. This means keeping in place the prudent policy of Benedict XVI of keeping men with SSA or sexually immature men out of seminaries. It also means taking a hard line on bishops like Robert Finn who reveal by their inaction that they still don’t understand what the fuss is all about.

    Second, the Church needs to be actively involved in the healing of victims of child sexual abuse, whether by a priest, teacher, doctor, therapist, minister, sibling, or whomever. The Church should create ministries directly targeting those who have been abused with the therapy and care needed to bring healing. No one else is doing this. The lawyers only concern is winning monetary restitution for the victim and a hefty paycheck for themselves, as if that will heal a soul, and they don’t give a rat’s patooty about victims who weren’t abused by priests because there’s little money or fame in it. The police and courts only care about prosecuting the perps, though they rarely mete out punishments equal to the crime. The press only cares about headlines and exploiting victims for good copy. The Church needs to be the one institutions with an organized effort to bring healing to the many victims of child sexual abuse, regardless of the perpetrator.

    As a society, we need to say enough is enough. Our film industry. Our schools. Our scouting organizations. Our coaches and teachers. These abusers belong to us, and we need to refuse to tolerate it anymore because we prefer to pretend it’s not our problem. It is our problem.

    • Sheila

      There is a wonderful group. “The Maria Goretti Network”. Google it.

  • bernie

    A stream of thought – A seminarian’s
    life experience between ’45 and ’51 with hundreds of men – never,
    ever knew even a single devious or suspicious act of any sort. No
    one should say I was dumb or blind. So many solid friends. The
    only love of their lives was Jesus Christ. Then, 30 years later, our
    Church seemed to be swarming with perpetrators. When one of them
    gets in the door, he leaves it ajar for his friends. The doorkeepers
    were asleep. In the military, you could get shot for that. Very strong
    Bishops are the only answer. No longer should we have tolerance of
    active homosexual life, or “Catholic” politicians who favor
    and enable abortion and contraception, or winking at divorce, or
    adopting a “pastoral” approach that judges no one and lets
    everyone have access to the Communion rail – please dear Bishops, do
    your jobs or leave. The sheep want someone who smells like Jesus
    Christ, not one who smells like the mess we leave in our sheepfold.
    Stand up for the Truth. Proclaim the the Gospel in season and out.

    • Dhaniele

      Thank you for your first person witness that the problems the Church faced after the Council were due to a change in behavior and thinking in seminaries and rectories. In short, celibacy per se is not the problem. That is also the reason why after the Council there was an exodus of priests who left to get married — they didn’t do that before the Council, it was a change in behavior and thinking that is too complex to analyze here but is the real source of the problem.

      • bernie

        The problem we have faced is, indeed,
        very complex. In support of what you say, I offer a few anecdotes.
        Seminaries are a center of intellectual and spiritual activity in a
        Diocese. When the Bishops who use it allow wild, speculative, even
        heretical ideas to be bandied about in their confines, they soon
        become the devil’s entre to uncertainty in the clergy. Several
        conversations I remember distinctly. After an unsettling Sunday
        sermon by our young Parish curate, I asked, “Father, do you
        believe in Original Sin?”. “Yes, but not like you do”,
        he replied. An important seminary personality gave a strange denigrating sermon about the spirituality of The Little Flower. I confronted him. His
        defense – “We are preparing the priests of the future Church.”
        Years later, the first was defrocked and served a prison sentence.
        The second is no longer in his position of authority. Those kind of
        thoughts, from those priests and so many others, had a devastating
        effect. We have about 120 Parishes in our Diocese, I think. A few
        years ago, I was told by a very reliable priest that, around now, we
        would have 59 active secular clergy. During this period, we had what
        was regarded by thoughtful people as very weak Bishops.

    • FreemenRtrue

      sheep do not stink – nor does sheep poop which is like deer or rabbit poo. Nice that our pope wants his clerics to smell like the flock stinks.

    • Vince Whirlwind

      I’ve heard a differing account of the seminaries in the 50s. Many men chose the priesthood back then, and many of them left and returned home, appalled at what they had seen there. I think this issue goes back further than we think.

  • Twinkle5

    I remember back in the 90’s reading an expose article in my hometown newspaper about how the seminaries where a hotbed for homosexual behavior, especially during the 70s and 80’s. I remember being really sickened by this article and wondered how this behavior was not under control. As I see it, these men who have brought such shame to our church and made countless turn away from Catholicism, had an agenda before they even stepped foot into the seminary. What I do not understand is how the hierarchy of the seminaries could not foresee a problem with their behavior.

    • DeaconEdPeitler

      The hierarchy were once seminarians too. If a certain percentage of priests labor with unnatural SSA, then the same number of Bishops do as well. Hence, the problem for the Church of the past 60 years.

      • SD

        Exactly correct.

    • Shaune Scott

      Michael Rose’s “Goodbye, Good Men” is an eye-opening book about the vetting of seminary candidates. I highly recommend it.

      • Dhaniele

        I worked closely with a large and influential seminary in the 1970’s and there was a clear strategy in those who controlled the faculty to get rid of those students who were too orthodox (saying the rosary, etc.). They had clever strategies to ferret out the ones who were still good Catholics. The other thing they did was to brainwash as far as possible everyone they came in contact with so that they either lost their Catholic faith or went on to become priests who were confused and often not really faithful to the genuine priesthood. Homosexuality was definitely tolerated. It is my impression that this seminary was typical of many seminaries at that time, which is why good priests would not even send candidates, seeing the battle as hopeless for a young man to survive in as a man of faith. The few faithful priests left in the seminary lived a kind of catacomb existence and kept their heads low. The scandals that followed came as the natural result of this betrayal by the majority of the seminary professors. I do not know how we reached that stage, but I suspect that modernism had simply gone underground among those who saw themselves as enlightened until the Council allowed modernism to disguise itself as the spirit of the Council. This seminary, by the way, was discussed in a series of articles in a national Catholic newspaper so it was not just my impression.

    • Diane

      The hierarchy are also gay men. They protected themselves also. The Catholic Church needs to eliminate all homosexual clergy, now!

  • grump

    When will the biopic, “Mohammed,” come out, depicting the depraved sexual activities, including pedophilia, of the Founder of the “Religion of Peace?” I’m not holding my breath.

    Hollywood, which is dominated by homosexuals and secular Jews (the new Pharisees) has always had it in for the Catholic Church, as Mel Gibson learned. “Doubt” is another in a long list of movies made to destroy Catholicism and, more broadly, Christianity.

    • DeaconEdPeitler

      I think I’ll rent a copy of “Going My Way” and invite my left wing friends over for an evening of entertainment.

  • Poor Sinner

    “He that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea” – Jesus in Matthew 18:6

  • givelifeachance2

    Priestly homosexuals, you know who you are and how thoroughly badly you will pastor the souls in your care, especially married couples, despite any chastity or good intentions. Better for you to resign now than, for the killing of souls, for you to wind being ground up in Satan’s mouth along with Judas, Brutus, and Cassius for eternity.

  • FreemenRtrue

    OI was an altar boy for 8 years, attended Catholic High School with priest teachers – never had an incident – never knew of one. Sexual predators know how to identify the vulnerable or susceptible. All the kids I know woulda smacked a priest in the face if he tried to crank the wank.

  • Bro_Ed

    A fair review. Being from the Archdiocese of Boston, and involved on the periphery of all the sad activity I score it higher, but I admit I may be too close.

    This line made me think: “Were a person who knows nothing about the Catholicism…watched Spotlight, the new film about the priest sex-abuse crisis (officially opening tomorrow), you would probably stay as far away as possible from the Church.”

    Unfortunately, this applies to people who do know something about Catholicism too. I think this abuse and cover-up scandal is the root of all our current Church problems. The bishops, through their illegal and immoral actions, have lost the moral high ground. Many of us no longer trust them. So when they speak of abortion, same sex marriage, whatever – many people think: “How can I take moral guidance from such people who have been tried and found wanting?”

    I don’t think we’ll get back to the pre-scandal Church until this current crop of bishops is gone, consigned to the judgement of history and, more importantly, to the judgement of God.

    • ThirstforTruth

      All bishops were/are not guilty of acting morally corrupt in the clergy sex scandal, any more than all laity are guilty when others within their ranks have committed sins of such enormity. Your philosophy seems much too narrow when viewing the Church. Should not our energies be spent in support of those bishops who have remained true to the responsibilities of office and pastoral care? Do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Those Catholics who have “left” the Church over the clergy scandal have not the faith of a mustard seed. The dissidents who remain within the fold in order to bring about their agenda are even more insidious regarding the current Church problems. If you are going to be Catholic, you will need to study the history of the church and not be discouraged by the evil ones amongst us but rather persevere in the spirit of St Paul and all the early Christians.

      • Bro_Ed

        You may be right. I do not have statistics. I doubt if they are available. I can offer you two “Truisms:”

        1. The predator priests were widespread throughout the country and the world. I do not know of one diocese that’s claimed never to have had a pedophile priest – essentially all of whom were serial offenders. Therefore, there was a hierarchy figure somewhere who was choosing to at least ignore if not cover-up the situation. No innocents in that equation.

        2. I have a friend who says “the doctors know the bad doctors, the lawyers know the bad lawyers, the bishops know the bad bishops.” Their policy of collegial correction was a complete failure. They covered for each other. I think there were just two types of bishops: those who were covering up, and those who knew their brother bishops were covering up but had not the courage nor moral strength to call them to task and go public. No innocents there either.

        And what about Justice? How many bishops have lost their jobs, gone to court, been reduced in rank, shuffled off to a monastery, etc? The Boston crowd all went on to bigger jobs and comfortable retirements. I guess we just disagree.

  • Brad Miner

    The data are the data on priest sex abuse. (Check the John Jay Report.) The crisis was
    self-evidently homosexual in its breadth (although not so to the authors of that Report). This we know from the fact that eighty-plus percent of the priest abuse was homosexual, whereas sexual abuse in the larger culture is overwhelmingly heterosexual: girls are four times more likely to be victims. The Journal of Sex Research has noted that the proportion of homosexual pedophiliac offenses “is substantially larger than the proportion of sex [offenses] against female children among heterosexual men . . .” That’s “proportion;” i.e. rate. In Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Brian W. Clowes and David L. Sonnier make the important point that in “the general population of males who sexually abuse minors, only one in seven molest boys. In the population of [sex-abusing] priests . . . six in seven molest boys.” And let’s situate you in Catholic tradition: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (CCC 2357) Your attempt to smear me individually may provide you some comfort, but the facts and the teaching are clear. It would be unchivalrous of me to state otherwise.

    • cminca

      You billed this as a “movie review” but then you turned it into a screed blaming the LGBT community for the Catholic Church’s aiding and abetting felonies. I’d suggest you look up the phrase “It isn’t the crime it is the coverup”.

      Now let’s take a look at your numbers. 80+ percent of the priest abuse was homosexual in the CC, while in the larger culture it is less than 20%. Thanks for pointing out that being Catholic makes you 4x more likely to commit a felony than just being gay.

      And as a draft dodger turned chicken hawk I really don’t think you should be discussing chivalry. (I understand that you use the Titanic as a reference point in your book–so I’m sure you’ll understand the reference when I note that your history makes your far more likely to be J. Bruce Ismay than John Jacob Astor IV.)

      • Brad Miner

        You need a course in statistics. And a lesson in manners.

        • cminca

          You’re not man enough to provide either.

          • Sonja

            When LGTB get defensive — facts, then manners (i.e. tolerance of an alternative view) are the first to go out of the window. Sadly.

          • Ernest Miller

            I’ll take the liberty to post for the good gentleman, Brad Miner.

            And you, cminca…you are not a man at all.

      • mw006

        As Leon Panetta and Robert Bennett et al stated in “A Report on the Crisis of the Catholic Church in the United States” by The National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People (Feb 27, 2004), Section IV,
        Findings, subpart A.3:

        “However, we must call attention to the homosexual behavior that
        characterized the vast majority of the cases of abuse observed in recent
        decades. That eighty-one of the reported victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys shows that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior….The board believes that the failure to take disciplinary action against such conduct contributed to an atmosphere in which sexual abuse of adolescent boys by priests was more likely.”

        As Mr. Miner noted, the data are the data.

  • Jim

    I remember the Boston Globe article spouting 13 priests were homosexually abusing young men. All 13 were exonerated. Not one was guilty in the end. They still are not allowed to say Mass.

    • VictimOfpedophiliaByPriests

      statutes of limitations,, not because they weren’t guilty. The worst crimes were the cover ups. While abuse happens, a child denied help is at the greatest risk to mental illness and suicide. The vatican, popes, bishops and cardinals denied these children. A life of suffering, thousands of priests who abused, and you post a mere 13 who escaped prosecution?

      Shame on you!!!

  • Ioannes

    I recommend reading a very good article written by professor Anne Hendershott that points out many equivocations about this movie that we should all be aware of: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/4366/Shining_a_Spotlight_on_Yesterdays_Journalism.aspx

  • GrahamUSA

    Does anyone remember the Kansas City Star and ABC 20/20 reports from the 1990s? A Kansas City Star reporter began to notice that Catholic priests were dying of AIDS in statistically significant numbers. ABC’s 20/20 interviewed a disguised priest who admitted 1) he was HIV positive; 2) he was still sexually active; 3) his bishop knew all this and 4) when asked if the priesthood had become a “gay profession” answered “yes.” Here in one of the historically most leftist dioceses in America I had my own first hand observations and experiences as a student in a Catholic high school and a minor seminary. A close friend also had his at another minor seminary in Detroit. And as we learned when the Archbishop of Scotland was compelled to step down it was increasingly obvious that much of the abuse scandal had a much more complicate behavioral and demographic pattern, to wit: within the Church men were having sex with men; boys were having sex with boys; and men were having sex with boys. Is this a tragedy equal to the abuse of the very young, vulnerable, and powerless? With an exceedingly heavy heart I think it could be argued because the silence, the shrugging off, and the excuse-making that I encountered and endured as teenage boy created a deep and enduring moral corruption among those in Holy Orders, the religious, and the laity. That so many Catholics drifted away over the years who were not directly involved in any way, speaks to this argument. That all this was coeval with the rise of the “social justice” uber-culture in the Church proposes perhaps a collusion of forces that became that singular toxic brew of office and ideological politics that drove out those challenged and weakened in the faith and kept out for decades those — myself included — who were attracted by the orthodoxy and toughness of the late Cardinal John O’Connor, Fr Richard John Neuhaus, and the Holy Father Emeritus Benedict XVI but were reluctant and wary to return. I did though at Easter Vigil 2009.
    In the parish bulletins of most parishes in Southeast Michigan there is notice and listing of the number to call if you suspect abuse. This notice is missing from the inner city parish where I attend the Mass. Why? This parish is orthodox, says the Latin Mass at least once a day, and the two priests who serve and lead us implicitly acknowledge that the legalistic hypothetical fact patterns of media product such as SPOTLIGHT raise questions about the “party line.”
    SPOTLIGHT from what I’ve read comes dangerously close to being fiction by omission.

  • Diane

    Our beautiful Church is in trouble because of the gay element at the highest levels. If we, as faithful Catholics, do not call for the resignation of all Cardinals, Bishops and priests who are gay, our Church will no longer exist. They are making a mockery of our Church and are leading others to mortal sin. They must leave now.

    • Kristine

      I realize this is a delayed reply, but I believe your proposal is based on a misconception of church teaching. In the Catholic faith, we do NOT condemn individuals solely for having a homosexual inclination. We are called to love them and give them guidance to avoid sin, the same as how we are called to treat others. It is the ACT of homosexuality that the church holds to be sinful (and obviously this includes not just the physical act but mental fantasizing, etc. just like the sin of lust). In fact, those with these inclinations are called to a great level of holiness and abstinence. An individual coming into the priesthood or religious life should be doing so if they feel it is God’s call for them, and who are we to question God’s plan? Yes, they need to be monitored accordingly and held accountable, however not all priests, etc. with a homosexual orientation are in danger of breaking their vows of chastity and holiness (at least not any more than any other priest). It is only the unrepresentative (but well publicized) few who have fallen into this great sin.

    • Stephen Graff

      Our church is in trouble because for an extended period of time, it covered up the sexual crimes of a number of priests and covered up it’s transference of priests from one parish to another where they continued their depravities. That the acts were committed is morally reprehensible, but the greater crime was how the church decided to keep the scandal a secret for decades, to use church money to pay off victims and their families. The cover-up went to the highest levels of church leadership, and even after the media reported how and where it was taking place, the church refused to take ownership for their comprehensive complicity. The church is only now coming clean and accepting full responsibility–as it should.

    • Rhonda Martinez

      It is not a coincidence that movie comes out during Lent!!!
      Peter upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!
      Have hope and pick up your weapon of mass destruction against EVIL The Rosary!!!! We must PRAY! The battle Has begun

  • ThirstforTruth

    I think the author was trying to set the record straight as to identifying correctly the nature of the crime in most instances as being homosexually oriented rather than crimes of pedophilia. The facts support his premise. Being factually correct is far more important to the scandal than being politically correct which seems to be your main concern here. The problems involved with the scandal will not be solved if we do not first identify the true nature of the crimes being committed. And the point being made is that crimes were committed and covered up.

    • TrueVaticanVictim

      Have you seen the movie yet? Your name would suggest an interest in wanting to know the “truth.” The reason the sexual interest of many of the priests involved in these horrible crimes is focused on young boys is that they and their families are willing to hide the truth because of the shame involved. You should be familiar with an interest in protecting the perpetrator for the good of the institution. That is what has come undone, the institution is being consumed by it’s unwillingness to face the truth.

      The priest who invited me to his cabin, who then attempted to molest me continues to live in his lies. Thankfully he has been defrocked and hopefully does not have access to vulnerable children to abuse. Institutional denial is dangerous to victims and to the institution itself.

  • jerseyerg

    This is an excellent movie. Far more realistic in my view than All the President’s Men, and quite open about the fact that there are no pure heroes in the tale. Including at the Boston Globe itself, which was handed the story of at least 20 miscreant priests in the early 1990s and did little with it. As strong as the main characters are, I was touched even more by the portrayal of the victims; pitch-perfect in every sense. Regarding the role of homosexuality, Mr Miner and commenters are obviously correct on the stats — the vast majority of these depraved acts were of that nature. But at least with regard to the likes of Geohagen, Paul Shanly, and other multiple offenders, the ones most likely to have been “passed around,” these men were sociopaths. Listen to the stories of the victims as eloquently portrayed here: this was not libertinism run amok. This was sociopathy, grievously abetted by moral cowardice

  • Justin Jurek

    Having sex with young boys is a hallmark of the “gay community”. You can see that if you care to look.

  • MRL123

    Based on my discussions, many Catholics will not see this movie because they want to put their heads in the sand about the whole abuse thing. Like the victims of abuse, they were taught to not question the church and still hold that belief, even though now adults. I think it is sad that many do not use their God given free will to question even the church if it does not live up to the ideals set out by Christ. I also believe that there are still many bishops that have not been held accountable for their roles in moving priests around, which is also sad and disappointing.

  • ThirstforTruth

    The statement at the last…….suggesting readers should go to this film if for no other reason than to see the fine acting of its stars. Really? I cannot think of a greater waste of
    time and surely there are better instances of fine acting without such biased and suspect material being foisted upon the audiences. I do not understand why Mr. Miner would end this otherwise enlightening review with this suggestion. Surely Mr. MIner jests!
    The reason given by many in times past, for purchasing sexually explicit and exploitive Playboy, was to read the excellently written prose. Do not believe those purchasing this trash did so for that reason nor do I believe the fine acting in this movie justifies all the other reasons given here for NOT attending still another Christian bashing movie from Hollywood. As long as Hollywood makes movies that make the point of blaspheming
    the name of Jesus in nearly every film produced, I will not support this industry however
    ” fine the acting”. Best to stay away from all its enterprises. Stay home and read a good
    book such as Augustine’s Confessions in which he makes the point that seeking entertainment in plays, etc that promotes sinful behavior ( also making the point that the
    actors themselves must portray sinful behavior) is in itself sinful behavior.

    • MRL123

      From what I have read, it is not biased and even the Vatican press had positive comments about it. The Boston Diocese has also supported it as factually based. I think Catholics that bury their heads in the sand and pretend that this did not happen and ignore it are the ones that still live like the medieval Catholics that were told what to believe and had no information to use to make up their own minds. This happened all over the place and it is a valid story to tell since the church has not fully dealt with it. It is up to the Catholic church to hold those responsible accountable.

      • ThirstforTruth

        To each his own. I do not think what I have said is quite how you interpreted it and unfair to judge the depth of my Catholicism simply from my decision not to attend this movie. I simply stated my opinion that I think the movie has not been completely forthcoming about the Church’s unparalleled response and I am tired of those who will use this movie, like you have, to castigate not only me but also my faith. But then, when has Hollywood done otherwise in recent years but just that.
        One can hardly be accused of burying one’s head in the sand when one’s head is constantly being bashed for being Catholic. To boycott the movie is not the same as denying this happened. But where is the fairness in the failure to report the entire story, by including the very steps that the church has taken to see all children are protected from such grievous behavior in the future. And BTW…I have not called for a boycott; just given my reasons for not wanting to wallow in Hollywood’s once again version of the big bad Catholic church. I am not in denial; I am just sick of hearing once more about the big bad Church. It is nothing new. A movie about the good things the church has done never seems to get made, does it?
        You want to make up your own mind? You want to see the movie? I am not restricting you. Just giving my opinion. Your emotional reaction however seems to suggest no right to an opinion other than your own without being castigated as a medieval Catholic. Something wrong about them too? Of course, they were all stupid because you look at them all through the lens of the Galileo affair just as you are looking at the church today only through the lens of the clergy sex scandal. You might spend some time reading about church history and learn there was and is much more to it than these evil occurrences which no one is denying.
        BTW…. it did NOT happen ALL over the place in spite
        of what you have said and which the movie is said to suggest. Get your facts straight and try to refrain from emotional Catholic bashing. I do realize that this movie had to be made. It is too good an opportunity for those who bear ill will toward the faith. My objection is the person who will go to this movie and claim that because this happened the church is evil itself and not get beyond their sick preoccupation with this atrocity which still goes on unchecked in other public institutions. No movie or investigation into those institutions are made, right? Or about the founders of NAMBA who still are perpetrating evil against young children.
        No matter. Go get your bag of popcorn and enjoy!!! Have fun!!!

        • MRL123

          At least 8 dioceses in the US file for bankruptcy, at least 20 dioceses with large settlements that had to be paid to abused parishioners just in the US, thousands of individual cases with cause to be true as I understand it. Bishop Bernard Law is in Rome still a bishop instead of in jail. Then there is Ireland and other locations overseas with large issues. If your definition of everywhere is 100%, you are right, but it was not an insignificant amount of abuse. I am a Catholic and although progress has been made in recent years on making things better, I am still embarrassed by the lack of real accountability by those bishops, including Bishop Law, that moved pedophile priests around to abuse other parishioners during the abuse periods. Because of that, the Catholic church deserves some grief in my opinion. Many Catholics I know do have a “head in the sand” view because of their upbringing to believe everything they hear from the church and also to believe that criticism is unjustified in most cases. In any case, have a blessed Christmas season.

        • ThirstForHumility

          Your fear of castigation is blinding you to the facts, quite literally in that you refuse to see the movie. Just keep your nose in Augustine’s Confessions and stop commenting on a movie you haven’t seen. You should know that as someone who refuses to scrutinize the clergy, you are a part of forces that allow these kinds of abuses to continue to poison your beloved church. It is so sad to see supposedly devout people such as yourself so blinded by their own fear.

    • Steven

      Your basically defending these priests. We are meant to ” fear god”, and trusts priests to the fullest extent, and look where it got these victims……scarred. So you refuse to see a film that calls out your lord of filth, in which these men proclaimed so holy? The same men you hand you communion? this movie needed to be made. And every single one of these priests deserve severe to harsh punishment. So to say that it’s sinful to portray this, its actually the opposite. It’s beyond sinful to even make excuses. If you can’t handle this movie, then your a proponent of the system that bats an eye and walks away.

      • Rhonda Martinez

        Open your eyes!!! Abuse of our children is every where! In all congregations, schools, and our own homes!! How convient this film comes out during Lent!! Really? Satan does not rest, this movie is blasphemous!! Jesus said,
        Peter, uoon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against It! !!!
        AMEN…..
        Those without sin cast the first stone!!

        • W J Kennedy

          I agree, abuse of children is everywhere! I am a Mother and formerly Protestant. I can say it is in all denominations. The problem with Catholicism is it is ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH, is the Church Christ established; and “the gates of Hell shall not prevail.”
          You can’t blow the whistle on at least 50,000 denominations as you can the “one” Church. It is horrible to not defend the innocent. We should be protecting them and teaching wholesome living, not perverted lies. Satan hits our children, removes protective prayers from schools and etc , corrupts some Priests. Then Bishops and etc. who promote the lies so they can sit in high places or do the same things.
          It is our job as parents to trust no one with our valuable children. Pedophiles are everywhere children are and they are the most likable of all the con artists! Many people watch sick child porn. It is a choice not a sickness. It is a sin, it is NOT LOVE to do this. This is against the law and it is a law issue. A Priest must forgive a confessor of sin but if one does not stop the sin God will take care of it. “Be sure your sins will find you out!” God never white washes his people, in fact if they keep up bad life style He punishes them. We must remember He sent them into slavery and David and Bathsheba lost their first child over sin.
          I liked “Spotlight”! God may not be finished cleaning His Church. Remember, “The Gates of Hell Shall NOT Prevail!” Remember cover up is sin and promotes evil. We must not leave our faith in the beautiful God we have and we must not leave His Church. Even in the worst situations in our history, the teachings of the church has not wavered from the Truth of Scripture or Tradition. Our faith is rich and we have many blessed Priests. I believe as parents we need to be able to call a spade a spade and be able to send the abusers to jail, to be wise and protect our children and all others. Let us ask our Almighty God, what do you want from me, how can I help? I will not leave the Church or blame. I will take the action you tell me to.
          Even if you are 90 years old you can be a Prayer Warrior. You can attend Church, you can worship God in truth and love. Now, is the time to act as his body on earth!

      • well said

    • FirstTheTruth

      You “thirst for truth” however you choose to bury your nose in a book and ignore the sinful behavior around you. Is that Christian (christ like)? Is that what St Augustine would advise?

  • BDN01301960

    I’m not Catholic, but it seems to me as an outsider that the Boston Globe’s reporting was one catalyst that led to the church’s sweeping reforms on dealing with predatory priests and their apologists. As long as there are Catholics, there will be Catholic children, and it is obvious that those children were targeted by hundreds of abusive priests. The church portrays itself as a path to heaven, and a haven on earth for those seeking comfort, belonging, peace and love. I’m surprised by Catholics who obviously share those beliefs, but then vilify a movie that depicts an event that ultimately made the church a safer place for children, and therefore came closer to being the type of institution it portrays itself to be.

  • Faint Smile

    I’ve been a Catholic since I was born and if it wasn’t for the Spotlight, I wouldn’t have known that these incidents are happening in our church. Knowing that those actions are deemed evil and the fact that the ones who are doing those are the leaders of our church is really hard to fathom and accept it. All this time I thought Catholic church can be trusted and it turns out to be a bluff. If other religions would ask me about this, I probably wouldn’t know what to say. And I’ve been thinking, should I change my religion because of that? No, the church was started by Jesus to Peter and I will remain as a follower of Christ. I did not become a Catholic because of those priests. I want to follow what Jesus’ started until the end of my life.

    • You didnt know? Only because of spotlight? You dont read news or what? You dont have a tv? Newspaper? according to that what you said you live in an island without internet or television, radio or other people. Its a common knowledge and stereotype as well about priests. This
      thing is always in the news even your own pope makes apologies all the time. Are you serious?

      • The Faint Smile

        Yes. I know that some of our priests do these crimes especially in small churches. What I didn’t know is that they hid it and used their power to cover up their actions. Besides, this thing is not always in the news in our country and I’m from an Asian country so I can’t follow the news about Pope Francis all the time. I’m just a teenager and I’m serious.

  • Ken

    I am a Catholic, 12 years in Catholic schools, never missed a Sunday Mass. I saw the movie last night expecting a manipulative slam against my church. Catholic bashing is not something new. I have encountered it frequently, even here in Massachusetts, in the largely Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. But I could not turn away from the movie. It is presented without overt sensationalism. I came away feeling angry that this big powerful institution used every sneaky means at its disposal to cover up, over and over again. I could have been one of those little boys. The most physical attention I received in those 12 years was a drivers ed priest who liked to tickle me while I was behind the wheel. I was lucky. I don’t think my mom would have made cookies for the abuser if I had been abused.

  • Charlene C. Duline

    There are many more problems with the film, “Spotlight,” and they are too many to list in one comment. Perhaps the largest of these is that the entire story rests upon a phenomenon called “availability bias.” Throughout the reporting of this story, too many in the media rely on the simple fact that it “rings true” even when the facts presented are not true.

    • T. Merchant

      You need to open your eyes! The fact that you can walk out of a movie like “Spotlight” with the idea that “the facts presented are not true” is a much more familiar phenomenon called “denial.” The need for people to defend the institution while allowing the clergy to prey on their flock is a sad reality. Your sentiments prove that this sad chapter is not a piece of our history, but remains as a cancer in the catholic church today.

  • Rhonda Martinez

    What happened within the walls of the Catholic Church is heartbreaking and devestating. I remember Pope John Paul II addressing this devastation and asking the people to PRAy for the victim’s. I pray that this abuse of children in all congregations, schools, and within our homes will stop!!
    I am a Catholic and I choose not to see this movie. It is not a movie of forgivenesss and healing. It’s impact does the opposite reopening the wounds of all those that were affected by this tragedy! It’s impact will bring protest and hatred! Is it a coincidence that this movie comes out at such a perfect time during “Lent!” You cannot condemn the entire Catholic Church because some chose to do wrong. God will judge us all accordingly.
    “Peter, upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail againsI it!!!!!

    • FacingTheTruth

      Yes .. Lent is the perfect time to release Spotlight

      I am puzzled that you sound like you sympathize with victims, but you refuse to see a movie that even the Vatican newspaper says is “not an anti-catholic film” As much as you may want to put this tragedy behind you, healing cannot take place without a complete understanding of what took place. Just yesterday another embarrassing headline:

      “Two Roman Catholic bishops who led a central Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by over 50 priests or religious leaders over a 40-year period, according to a grand jury report issued Tuesday.”

      The scandal surrounding the crime of protecting deviant priests will continue to dog the catholic church until the institutional denial, pride, and careerism is replaced by the basic morality, humility, and protection of the weak and powerless which is ironically what the church preaches. Why can’t you and every parishioner and priest actually hear the words spoken in churches everyday.

      As a result of the hard work of journalists, filmmakers, and victim/survivor networks, legal systems, and many good priests across the globe, the church is becoming a safer place for our children. Spotlight is shining an unblinking light into dark corners that have caused immeasurable and continuing damage to the catholic church because too many people chose to ignore blatant, callous, and depraved abuse of those who were entrusted to them, and too many people continue to deny the extent of the problem.

      Lent, the period just prior to Easter, is a time for self-examination, fasting and penance, in preparation for Easter. It is a reminder to us of the time that Jesus spent in the desert after his baptism, and his trials and temptations while there.

      Lent is the perfect time to go see Spotlight.

    • Yes hide the truth from the people
      let nobody know! Good idea. Forgiveness, these crimes cant be forgotten! Never, ever. This movie raises awareness to this tragedy and let people know, gives factual information. Any information is better than none, and the only way that this film is inaccurate, that the reality its even more gruesome and harsh. Let people know! If that scandall would not been uncovered that would have just went on and on..

  • Kathy

    I am a survivor of childhood clergy sexual abuse and rented the movie to watch. I watched it once, twice, three, four then five times. I cried and cried. Not because of the suffering of my past but because these folks worked so hard to change things. If it wasn’t for their efforts I would not be doing what I am doing today which is….inviting, advocating, speaking out, about the spiritual violence, devastation that was far worse than anything done to my body. As a child it was the love I felt for God that opened me up wider to be sexually abused by a priest, the Father, the man I came to believe was God the Father. Sacramental and soul wounding. The silence around sexuality, sexual violence and clergy sexual abuse added to the shame. I am open, honest and forthright in speaking and invite peaceful, open, healthy dialogue with church leadership and communities. Silence kills. Survivors have more than stories of pain, many have amazing stories of God to share.

  • Roger

    The RCC is without a doubt the biggest Cult in the entire world and has been since it’s inception. The film is accurate and does a great job of “spotlighting” this collective travesty…if you think for one second that this did not happen or is not still happening, then it’s safe to say that your level of naïveté may be beyond help. May God have mercy on the souls of you to chose not to believe what is apparent and factual.

  • reknirbecurb

    This film is great and it shows what it means to dedicate oneself to truth and to ones vocation. God is not limited to ‘the church’ when good men and women are needed God calls upon those unlikely heroes and heroines to bring light into the darkness. Here we have an Armenian lawyer, a Jewish editor and a reporter of Portuguese descent amid a crew of lapsed laity that bear the truth to the world. That’s the problem with authority, its fallible. Now the Catholic church wants us to believe that the events of this film are things of the past, really. I thought humility was a spiritual virtue. How could anyone expect a problem of such scale to be repaired and corrected in such a short amount of time? Sounds like spiritual pride to me and coming from an organization that pretends to have some kind of specialization in the matter to boot. Often when the church is expected to make changes quickly you hear them say that an institution that has been around for thousands of years does not make changes in a matter of years. Then on this issue it is the exact opposite, all of the sudden an issue of epic proportions is solved in a very ‘american’ time frame. Yes, the church has made great strides in making parishes safer through increased background checks and various clearances to protect children, this is a step in the right direction and it is the minimum that could be done in this situation. I pray that God is still moving on this and that many more folks are putting the best that they have to offer into continuing to seek justice for the crimes that have been committed. I also pray that some day the foolishness that is mandatory celibacy will be resigned to the history books along with the flat earth, lawn darts and mullets.



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