Spotlight: A Film About Corruption Within the Catholic Church


“Spotlight”, a new movie that is now playing in theaters, is based on a true story about how the Boston Globe uncovered the unfathomable scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. The Globe did not only open up Boston’s eyes to this scandal, but also exposed the hard truth about child molestation within the Catholic Church, an issue that’s evident across the world. This changed the church, as well as the way people view Catholicism.

“Spotlight” is the name of an investigative research team at the Globe, one that’s willing to spend months, years or as long as it takes to uncover a story. Spotlight’s new editor, Marty Baron, (Liev Schreiber), exposed the team to this church scandal. At first, many were hesitant because the Catholic Church is very influential in the city and is extremely close to The Globe. The people of Boston often idolize the church and view priests as God himself. Knowing all of this, the team treaded carefully upon this issue. Until, of course, they uncovered just how horrific and large scale the scandal was.

The Spotlight team started out by asking around and looking into cases that victims had filed years ago — they interviewed molestation victims and learned about their stories. The priests would target families that were going through hard times and whom had a great devotion to the church. One man who had been molested as a child didn’t have a father. The priest groomed him, leading to the rape, and the child went along with it because he was a kid who was told to always do what a priest says. The priests not only took away this child’s innocence, but also his faith.

Gage Skidmore Photo, Courtesy of Flickr.
Gage Skidmore Photo, Courtesy of Flickr.

One cruel leader in the scandal was Bernard Francis Law, Archbishop emeritus of Boston. He knew about the rapes and did everything in his power to cover them up. He had victimized families by making them sign confidentiality agreements to keep quiet, and he promised to bring justice to the situation, but all he did was move the molester to a new parish. In this sense, Law gave the priest new victims.

Spotlight was able to identify the priests involved in these cases because there was a book in which a record of the priests’ histories was kept on trial. Every priest that molested a child or several children would be placed as classified, under sick leave. The team interviewed the victims and got the names of their abusers, which matched all the priests that were put under the category of sick leave. This was a turning point in the case.

This is what then led to the unraveling of so many molestation cases in Boston and throughout the world. Reporters took their time to nail everyone involved in this scandal, before rushing to print the story. When they were finally ready, journalists printed the story and waited by the phones for callers. Following this, many victims contacted The Globe to share their stories.

The movie ended by featuring a list of the cities and countries where scandals and cover-ups just like the one in Boston took place; this made the audience speechless. “Spotlight” is a must-see because it shares a true story about an incomprehensible cover-up that everyone should know about.

Feature Image: tfxc Photo, Courtesy of Flickr URL