Clergy victims doubt "Spotlight" Oscar win will bring change

BOSTON -- Victims of clergy sexual abuse are reveling in the Oscar won by "Spotlight" -- the story of The Boston Globe's investigation into the scandal -- but say they don't hold out much hope that the elevated status from the film's Best Picture award will prompt changes at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic church.

See Full Article

"Spotlight," starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, covers the Globe's work to uncover how dozens of priests in the Archdiocese of Boston had molested and raped children for decades while church higher-ups covered it up and shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish.

The film was released in November to accolades from victims who said it gave them a sense of validation after years of struggling in silence. Even Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley -- appointed to replace Cardinal Bernard Law after he resigned in disgrace -- called "Spotlight" a "very powerful and important film."

But victims say they have little hope that the film's new status as an Oscar winner will lead to some of the things they've called for over the years, including complete transparency by the church and the criminal prosecution of church leaders who knew about the abuse but didn't report the perpetrators to police.

"I don't think the Vatican or the archdiocese will necessarily do more," said Robert Costello, 54, who was sexually abused by a Boston priest from the late 1960s through 1976.

"I think what (the film) is going to do is educate the general public as to what their response or lack of response has been," said Costello, who agreed to a civil settlement with the archdiocese.

The Globe series was followed by revelations of sex abuse in dioceses around the world. The series won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2003.

Alexa MacPherson, who was abused in a Boston parish for more than six years starting when she was 3, said she thinks it's "wonderful" that "Spotlight" won the best picture award, but adds: "The Vatican has been talking the talk, but they haven't been walking the walk."

"We want to be able to prosecute people criminally for the crimes they committed and not have them hide behind the sanctity of the Vatican walls," said MacPherson, who also received a civil settlement.

Walter Robinson, who led the Globe Spotlight Team that broke open the scandal in 2002, said he believes the film had already had a huge impact -- on victims and the church itself -- well before it received Oscar awards Sunday for best picture and best screenplay.

"We're at a moment now where bishops around the world are praising the film ... signals that perhaps the church will become more serious about dealing with a problem that still continues," said Robinson, played by Michael Keaton in the movie.

The renewed attention "Spotlight" is receiving comes as one of the highest ranking officials in the church, Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell, testifies this week in a public hearing of Australia's Royal Commission investigating the church's response to the abuse scandal there.

The Vatican newspaper on Monday praised the movie for giving voice to the "profound pain" of the faithful.

L'Osservatore quoted producer Michael Sugar's acceptance speech -- "Pope Francis, it's time to protect children and restore the faith" -- saying even his appeal was positive.

Vatican Radio also praised "Spotlight" as a "rigorous and authentic" reconstruction.

The reaction represents a dramatic shift by the Vatican from a decade ago, when the Vatican paper of record was a vehicle for ringing defences of how the Holy See had responded.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Despite Spotify change, R. Kelly's streams still intact

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Streaming numbers for R. Kelly have remained intact a week after Spotify announced it had removed the R&B singer's music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Source
  • Kensington Palace shares family portrait, other royal wedding photos

    Entertainment CBC News
    Kensington Palace has released three official wedding photographs taken of Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle shortly after their wedding. Alexi Lubomirski's images include a family portrait of the couple with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William and their spouses, as well as Markle's mother and the children who served as bridesmaids and page boys. Source
  • Billboard Awards show honours Texas and Florida school shooting victims

    Entertainment CBC News
    The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in Texas and Florida, while the night also featured show-stopping performances by iconic singer Janet Jackson and K-pop group BTS. Source
  • Taylor Swift is doing more to stop scalpers than Ontario's new ticket act: experts

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Step aside Ontario lawmakers, because Taylor Swift is giving you a lesson in how to deflect concert scalpers. As the province gets ready to introduce a new law on July 1 which puts a price cap on resales of live-event tickets, experts say it's the world-famous pop singer who's doing a better job squeezing out black-market opportunists. Source
  • Why Book Club's Canadian co-writer resisted when told to go 'younger'

    Entertainment CBC News
    It started as a gag gift and turned into a movie script. Canadian Erin Simms sent a copy of the novel Fifty Shades of Grey to her mother and stepmom in 2012 when the erotic romance trilogy was gaining popularity. The idea came from Bill Holderman, a co-worker who would soon become her co-writer and director for the script of the film Book Club. Source
  • School victims honoured at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

    Entertainment CTV News
    The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in Texas and Florida, while the night also featured show-stopping performances by iconic singer Janet Jackson and K-pop group BTS. Source
  • Janet Jackson, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande set for Billboard Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    After celebrating her 52nd birthday and the 25th anniversary of her groundbreaking janet. album, Janet Jackson will be capping off an epic week with her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards. Jackson will also receive the Icon Award on Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, where today's hitmakers will also take the stage, from Ariana Grande to John Legend. Source
  • 'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in $125M

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers. Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in $125 million according to studio estimates Sunday and ended the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers: Infinity War" at the top of the North American box office. Source
  • 'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in US$125M

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers. Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in US$125 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers: Infinity War" at the top of the North American box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. Source
  • Saturday Night Live re-imagines royal wedding reception

    Entertainment CBC News
    The royal reception of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was off-limits to reporters, but Saturday Night Live gave commoners a glimpse of what it might have been like.After delighting crowds, newlyweds Meghan and Prince Harry celebrate at private receptionIn a sketch during the comedy show's season finale, Mikey Day played Prince Harry in what he called the "official wedding video 2018. Source