Movie Review- Spotlight; a must see

By Elizabeth Prata

Growing up, I didn’t know that the Catholic Church wasn’t a church. I thought it was THE Church. I thought all churches were the same, except that the Catholic Church was the biggest. Then as a middle-aged woman I was saved and I learned the difference between orthodoxy and heresy.

The Catholic Church is a heretical “church”, therefore it is a non-church entity. It is the longest-lived organization on the planet. The Roman Catholic Church is also an absolute monarchy. Its head is a king, with exclusive powers given for life that cannot be taken away and do not end until or unless he dies (or in recent years, resigns). It is the richest organization on the planet. It is also the most secretive.

Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Source- Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Acton’s observation was that a person’s sense of morality lessens as his or her power increases. However, we know that prior to salvation, all flesh was already corrupted by the curse of sin. Not all people are as bad as they could be, but all flesh is corrupt. We have seen varying levels of corruption in dictators, tyrants, CEO’s, divas, and more. Hitler, Idi Amin, Gaddafi, Ashurbanipal of Assyria, Caligula, Ivan the Terrible, etc are all examples of this quote played out in history.

Without the internal guidance of the Holy Spirit who brings truth and light to a depraved mind, the more a person is separated from the moral reigns of accountability, the more he is insulated from even superficial accountability, the more his flesh will run rampant with seeking to fulfill its desires, whatever those desires may be. And the flesh has a lot of desires.

The Papacy is an absolute monarchy, as I mentioned, and the Vatican, which is a nation with borders and recognized by the UN as well as a global organization with tentacles in most every nation, is a place where unspeakable desires have been allowed to run wild over many centuries.

I was a journalist in New England from 2000-2006. The Boston Globe story about the pedophile priests broke in January 2002. It was huge. Words cannot explain the impact that story had on Catholic New England. It was like a bomb went off.

I was grieved to read of the new scandal of pedophile priests in Pittsburgh.

Catholic Priests Ran Child Porn Ring Out Of Pittsburgh Diocese
August 15, 2018 By Michael Stone

New grand jury report shows Catholic priests in Pittsburgh ran an extensive child porn ring where children were sexually exploited and groomed for abuse. In a growing and horrific story out of Pennsylvania, a breathtaking grand jury report released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court documents rampant and pervasive child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, listing more than 300 accused clergy and over a 1,000 confirmed child victims.

Spotlight_(film)_poster
Source

Is there anything worse? Is there anything more evil that sexually abusing children, while using Jesus’ name as a cover? No.

 

The Pittsburgh news made me think of the Boston pedophile priests all over again. I looked into the old newspaper series and found that in 2015 a movie was made about the reporters who broke the story. It chronicled the lead-in to the Globe’s publication of what would eventually be a 600-article series covering the issue for most of that year. It’s called Spotlight, named after the team of investigative journalists who spend time digging and researching and exposing Boston corruption in whatever form. The newspaper won a Pulitzer for the series.

The movie showed how the reporters got onto the track of the story, their disbelief when the disparate leads turned into a pattern, then their horror, shock, and speechlessness when it was evident that the issue wasn’t just a few priests around Boston but was indeed a global, systemic problem.

In the movie Spotlight, it was shown that former priest, psychotherapist, and author named Richard Sipe clinically studied the RCC rule of priestly celibacy & the molestation issue for 30 years and found it to be a clinical “phenomenon”. He found that the celibacy rule was part of the problem. Over half of priests weren’t celibate but most who were active had sexual relations with adults. However his metric found that in any given location, 6% of priests would be molesters. In Boston in 2002, that meant of the 1500 priests active in parishes, about 90 would be molesting children.

This figure was confirmed in Boston, where given the number of active priests, Sipe had predicted 90 would be pedophiles. The Globe found 87 pedo-priests. Imagine the metric of how many victims that expands to! One priest in Boston had molested 80 boys. Compound that over the entire world. Indeed, at the movie’s end credits, they flashed all the cities where scandals of this sort had erupted. The priest-molestation issue is not insulated, sparse, or an anomaly. It’s widespread. Worse, it is systematically covered up by Cardinals Church Attorneys, policemen…

The movie stars Michael Keaton as the Spotlight editor, and the cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci, among others. I appreciated that the film captured what devastation molestation does to a person’s psyche, and retained a grave and honorable dignity while interviewing the victims. I also appreciated that though the movie did by necessity spell out a few details, it didn’t overdo and kept that aspect of the scene to an understated minimum.

As the movie revealed the problem layer by layer, the director had done a good job of showing the world through the reporter’s increasingly jaded perspective. A silent look at a church, with a playground across the street no longer held charm for the reporters, but instead was a scene of potential horror. As the list of victims expanded, some on the team discovered people they knew had been molested, or had been unknowingly in contact with priests who had been active. One reporter discovered that a house down his own street held defrocked priests. As he leapt up from his computer and ran out into the street in his socks to look for himself, he ran past boys on bikes and playing ball, another scene of subversive horror rather than neighborly comfort.

Worst of all, as victims described the grooming process, it became apparent that priests traded on their authority to gain access to the boys most of whom were from broken homes, marginalized, and poor. The authority the priests traded on was God.

As I watched, I became incensed and grief-stricken. I mourned the many children who were raped or molested, and prayed and wailed for the Lord to return. I also became incensed, because of the grossness and horror of the use of God as a cover for normalizing this perversion.

I have avoided the issue since I came in contact with it in 2002, but given the news of the priests in Pittsburgh, I decided to look it full in the face. It’s an unsavory topic, and an unwelcome one. But its importance to me at least, was to illustrate the utter depravity of the Catholic Church, which is not a church. It is a den of perversion and evil, from moral to spiritual. Partnering with the RCC in any way taints a Christian utterly. Yet I had to force myself to remember the horror of sin in all of us is worthy of hell, and my own sin would have launched me there unless the Lord had elected me to salvation.

Spotlight is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Its relevance increases day by day as more information comes out about Pittsburgh. As a Christian, I think Spotlight is a must-see.

On Netflix.

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