Here’s How Boston’s Archbishop Responded to Spotlight’s Oscar Win
By Julie Miller
March 3, 2016
|Courtesy of Open Road Films.|
Upon winning best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Spotlight producer Michael Sugar used the stage to send a message to the Vatican. Speaking about the drama, which chronicles The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning investigation into the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse cover-up, Sugar said, “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.” Appealing to the church’s leader, he added, “Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”
Spotlight specifically addresses the archdiocese of Boston’s elaborate cover-up of sexual abuse. And in the hours after the film’s best-picture win, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, Boston’s current archbishop, released a lengthy statement acknowledging the film’s importance, crediting it for helping the Church confront its failings, and describing how the archdiocese has implemented policies and procedures to prevent those tragedies from happening again.
The complete statement ahead, per The Pilot:
Spotlight is an important film for all impacted by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse. 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. 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.
Protecting children and providing support for survivors and their families must be a priority in all aspects of the life of the Church.
We are committed to vigilant implementation of policies and procedures for preventing the recurrence of the tragedy of the abuse of children. These include comprehensive child safety education programs, mandatory background checks and safe environments training, mandatory reporting to and cooperating with civil authorities with regard to allegations of abuse, and caring for survivors and their families through the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach. The Archdiocese consistently provides counselling and medical services for survivors and family members who seek our help and we remain steadfast in that commitment. We continue to seek the forgiveness of all who have been harmed by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse and pray that each day the Lord may guide us on the path toward healing and renewal.
Additionally, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published a front-page editorial on Spotlight’s Oscar win earlier this week, praising the film (as best it can) by calling it “not anti-Catholic.” Although the author takes issue with the fact that the film did not “delve into the long and tenacious battle that Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as Pope, undertook against pedophilia,” the author deems Vatican’s Oscar-evening shout-out as being “a positive sign.” As the author explains, “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.”