In winning the Oscar for best picture, Spotlight once again lifts the lid off of the sexual abuse of minors committed by dozens of priests in the Boston Archdiocese — and around the world — for decades. Despite attempts from the church to throw water on the fire, the scandal of ecclesiastical pedophilia continues to boil.
“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 producer Michael Sugar on stage at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, still holding his newly received statuette. And then, speaking directly to the pope: “Pope Francis, it is time to protect the children and restore the faith.”
The film, written by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, tells the mother of all priest sex abuse stories. In 2002, Spotlight, a crack team of investigative journalists at The Boston Globe, broke the news of as many as 90 parish priests accused of sexually abusing young people over the course of 30 years. Not only that, but the Boston Archdiocese, then headed by Cardinal Bernard Law — currently archpriest emeritus of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome — perpetrated a cover-up, sheltering offending priests by moving them from parish to parish. For their investigation, the Globe won a Pulitzer Prize.
The film earned the support of Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the archbishop of Malta, who has been at the forefront of the fight against sexual abuse by clergy. He told the Italian daily La Repubblica, “All bishops and cardinals must see this film.” And the Jesuit priest Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told Vatican Radio, “There’s a great appreciation for the film and of course an appreciation for the message and the way it is transmitted.”