(RNS) Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the Archdiocese of Boston, whose record on clergy sex abuse was uncovered by The Boston Globe and portrayed in this year’s Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” has praised the movie for forcing the Catholic Church to acknowledge its “crimes and sins.”
“Spotlight is an important film for all impacted by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse,” said O’Malley, who was named to the archdiocese after Cardinal Bernard Law was forced from office in 2002 following revelations that church officials protected abusive priests.
“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,” O’Malley said in a statement released Tuesday (March 1).
“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,” he said.
The cardinal went on to detail the steps the church has taken to protect children and said, “We continue to seek the forgiveness of all who have been harmed by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse.”
“Spotlight” won the best-picture prize at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
The film has won praise from many Catholic leaders, and Vatican media on Monday lauded the movie and insisted that it is not anti-Catholic.
Cardinal Law, 84, is living in retirement in Rome. O’Malley is one of Pope Francis’ top advisers and has become a leading advocate for the hierarchy’s efforts to combat the sexual abuse of children by church workers.
(David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS)
David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.