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Vatican newspaper praises Spotlight following Oscar win


Story by Jack Foley

VATICAN newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has praised the film Spotlight for its convincing attempt to show abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic Church.

The newspaper published a front page editorial on Monday following Spotlight‘s Oscar triumph as Best Picture.

Insisting that Tom McCarthy’s film was in no way “anti-Catholic”, the editorial went on to say that the film faithfully presented the church’s attempts to defend itself in the face of “horrendous realities”.

The film focuses on the group of Boston Globe reporters who first uncovered abuse by Roman Catholic priests who subsequently won the 2003 Pulitzer prize for public service.

Accepting the Best Picture prize at Sunday’s Academy Awards, Spotlight producer Michael Sugar said he hoped the film had given a voice to the survivors of the abuse that would “become a choir that would resonate all the way to the Vatican”.

He went on to make a direct call to the pontiff, saying: “Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

But far from shying away from the comments, L’Osservatoire Romano’s editorial insisted such pleas “should be seen as a positive sign,” adding: “There is still trust in the institution, there is trust in a Pope who is continuing the cleaning begun by his predecessor.”

The editorial’s author, Lucetta Scaraffia, also wrote: “Not all monsters wear cassocks. Paedophilia does not necessarily arise from the vow of chastity. However, it has become clear that in the Church some are more preoccupied with the image of the institution than of the seriousness of the act.”

Spotlight has enjoyed an open relationship with the Vatican since being screened privately for staff working for a new commission set up by Pope Francis to fight sex abuse within the Catholic church. It is hoped that by raising further awareness of the issue, such scandals will never be allowed to get buried again – and that any continued abuse is highlighted and stopped.

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