PDX Archbishop responds to 'Spotlight' movie popularity

By Jackie Labrecque
March 01, 2016

"Spotlight," the movie that won best picture at the Oscars, reignited the conversation surrounding the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, especially among survivors.

The movie depicts how Globe reporters uncovered a network of priests abusing children and systemic cover-up by the Catholic Church.

"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," said Michael Sugar, the film's director upon accepting the Oscar Sunday night.

Monday afternoon, the columnist Lucetta Scaraffia, wrote for the Vatican's news, L'Osservatore Romano:

"The fact that a call arose from the Oscar ceremony that Pope Francis fight this scourge should be seen as a positive sign: there is still trust in the institution, there is trust in a Pope who is continuing the cleaning begun by his predecessor, then still a cardinal. There is still trust in a faith that has at its heart the defence of victims, the protection of the innocent."

KATU News reached out to the Archdiocese of Portland for comment on the movie and the buzz it is generating. We heard back on Tuesday afternoon. The full statement from Archbishop Alexander Sample reads:

"The recent critical acclaim given to the movie "Spotlight" draws the attention of all of us to a very sad and tragic chapter in the history of the Church in the United States. I repeat what I have said many times during my ten years as bishop: That I am sorry beyond words for the harm done to victims and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. I hope many will take the time to familiarize themselves with the sincere and rigorous efforts the Church has made to create safe environments for children and young people so that this tragedy will never happen again"

The movie's win rings especially true for the victims of clergy abuse.

"I'm a survivor," says Bill Crane, who heads up Oregon's Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, which is part of a national coalition. He saw the movie, and is grateful it is bringing this issue back to center stage.

"(I'm) very thankful to have my family. I've met survivor after survivor who's divorced, can't hold relationships together. I'm one of the lucky ones to be able to speak out today to let those folks know they are not alone."

Crane says he's reached out to the Archdiocese of Portland, and has not heard anything back.

"My door is open to Archbishop Sample. If he wants to come out here and talk and (say) 'Hey Bill, I'm behind you, sorry that happened to you. What can we do to work together, network to create change?'"

When asking the Archdiocese about this specific dilagoue, a spokesperson responded to KATU, "If Bill or anyone else has a desire to meet with the Archbishop, they can contact his office directly. These sorts of meetings and conversations do not need to be mediated through the media. That is normally not beneficial for either party."

Crane says he will reach out again.


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