Movies – Spotlight



“Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams lead a critically acclaimed cast in this gripping true story about the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation that uncovered a scandal that rocked one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. Delving into allegations of child abuse within the local Catholic Archdiocese, a tenacious team of Boston Globe reporters exposes a decades-long cover-up that reaches the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment.” (Universal)


Recently a friend gave us a dvd player. Quickly I bought a copy of Spotlight, the only movie I’ve wanted to see for a long time. “Spotlight” refers to the Globe Spotlight Team, and this is the story of one of their most significant projects. 

Obviously the subject limits the audience and I wouldn’t watch it with a mixed gender group. It’s not that scenes are explicit but that victims relate accounts of their abuse. Just a heads-up for anyone who intends to watch it, because it is worth watching. For it shows the work that due-diligence necessitates as well as the fight that breaking a story like this can entail. It also reveals the dedication of the team and the compassion of many who fought to make the truth known and to obtain some justice for the victims. Christians who want to be informed in order to pray may benefit from watching it. 

Because of the subject matter, the exposure of abuse and its deliberate coverup, the movie was engrossing. But because of that same subject matter a lot of the drama of journalistic discoveries and the win against the powerful archdiocese and other powers that be was lost – we know how things turned out, Cardinal Archbishop Bernard F. Law resigned. One of my favorite aspects of the movie is watching how Archbishop Law is foiled when the new Editor of the Globe – an outsider who can’t be managed – maintains his allegiance to the standards of his profession instead of to the city of Boston.

Spotlight demonstrates once more that child abuse and coverup are endemic in the Catholic Church. Tragically, the same treachery against the innocent happens in Evangelical and Protestant churches, where the true Gospel is preached and ministers can marry. Exposure of the tragedy in the RCC is part of what will help bring it down, I believe, and help people leave it. God help those who do leave, to come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ! Exposure of abuse in Biblical Churches compels us to pray and remain vigilant and humble. Sin happens everywhere, but especially in the institution that self-styles itself as “Holy Mother Church.”

Matthew 18

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said,“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Bernard F. Law in a private audience at the Vatican. The pope made no public comment.

A church seeks healing: Pope accepts Law’s resignation in Rome

By Michael Paulson GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 14, 2002


A history of secrecy, coverups in Boston Archdiocese

“Note: This article is from the Globe’s original online special section on the Spotlight investigation into clergy sex abuse.”

OCTOBER 13, 2015


25 thoughts on “Movies – Spotlight

  1. Thanks, Maria. A very important movie. I served as an altar boy for four years. I’m grateful that no priest ever approached me but I was very aware in my young mind that some of the priests were not “normal” men. My heart went out to Ruffalo’s character who had put his faith in the Catholic church only to be greatly disappointed and embittered.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Ruffalo’s character expressed this and I wish the film could have explored this kind of thing more. There were a majority of Catholics on the team, I think. Suburban Philadelphia, where I grew up, had lots of Catholics and Jewish people also. The smaller Catholic school I attended was all girls and the teachers were mostly sisters. I never knew of abuse but it was a sad place for me.

      I’m grateful that for you, Tom, Catholic church and school were safe places. Maybe this was because your family was intact. As the movie illustrated, families without Dads were more at risk. Christ saved us out of this present evil age. Praise Him forevermore!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Maria. In a sense, I’m grateful for my Catholic upbringing. They were right on some of the basic doctrines, but not the most important ones. Yes, the film helped us understand how the predators selected their victims…some boys were especially vulnerable. Such a terrible betrayal of trust. As I mentioned previously, several of the priests I served with as an altar boy were not like the “normal” men I knew from their mannerisms, etc. But there was one priest who seemed to be very normal; a regular nice guy. A few decades later he was removed from public “ministry” because he had had a “relationship” with a teenage girl younger than eighteen.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. But the worst abuse of all – was never telling us how to get saved.

    Romans 1:17-19

    17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sage, my feeling about this is that our Catholic teachers – often nuns and brothers – couldn’t give us what they didn’t possess, the Gospel that reconciles us to God through Jesus Christ. So sad! Whether they actively suppressed the truth, I don’t know. They were deluded into thinking they must work to be saved by obedience to their mediator, the Catholic church. That is, to be in good standing with the Catholic church saves if we maintain it till death.The end result is to remain in darkness.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Chris – lives are at stake. Sometimes victims destroy themselves later on too – so they are not only ruined but do this to themselves.

      Jesus spoke so forcefully against this sin of causing little ones to stumble. We must be instructed by His bluntness, if I can use that word: it would have been better not to have been born than to sin in this way, and to prevent such sin he counsels extreme measures. There is forgiveness though – He forgives those who have sinned in this way but repent and turn to Him in faith. But there must be consequences for the perpetrator, whether forgiven or not. This is just and necessary.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maria, thank you for sharing about this movie. I’ll look for it.
    While not exactly the same situation I think this post ministered to me concerning a church problem right now with our church. We must always do what is right. Never compromised. Never.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I went through a lot of psychological/emotional abuse from my dad. I was raised in a very Irish Catholic family. I told the local priest (Tom Nash) what I went through, but he just laughed it off. He wasn’t going to confront my dad, who was one of the biggest donors of his parish (St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church in Algona, Iowa).

    When I think of all the cover ups of abuse, it reminds me of the sin of abortion. Abortion covers up sin like fornication and adultery. The world calls abortion “birth control”. Abortion is murder and is a blood sacrifice unto the devil.

    Obedience: The Bondage Breaker

    Liked by 1 person

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