The Real Elephant in the Room on Oscar Night

By this time, you should know that the film Spotlight took home the Oscar for Best Picture. The film tells the story of the journalists of the Boston Globe and their investigation into the Archdiocese of Boston’s handling of pedophile priests and the scandal of sexual abuse of minors by priests including John Geoghan. The scandal rocked not only the local community, but the entire Catholic world. It drove Catholic-convert Rod Dreher, who was a journalist covering the scandal, to Orthodoxy and many more to run for cover. It also resulted in Cardinal Bernard Law’s resignation as the diocesan administrator and brought in then Archbishop (now Cardinal) Seán O’Malley.

This movie highlights a time of great pain for the Church not in the scandal of the revelation but the facts of what happened. Priests had done horrific things to children, and in the Church, this was covered up.

I cannot and will not excuse what happened in the Archdiocese. The fact that these things have come to light is ultimately a good thing, despite the pain. Dioceses across the US have “safe environment” training now. Even our confessionals have a window in the doors now. The bathrooms children use in our Catholic schools are not to be used by any adult under any circumstances.

I haven’t seen the film Spotlight yet, and don’t know if I will but what I did see and hear last night, was this:

“This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican,” said producer Michael Sugar, who accepted the award with his co-producers. “Pope Francis, it is time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

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Wait, what? Like Joan Desmond said in her article, I was confused. Very confused. Apparently, as Desmond herself surmises, Sugar simply thinks and believes that the Boston Globe journalism is where this story ended. Ahem. As a faithful Catholic, I suggest Mr. Sugar take a long hard look at what’s been going on in recent years and his own industry.

This award was given to a movie that tells a true story of horrors by a group of electors whom we all know ignored actors of color this year but who also awarded child-rapist Roman Polanski Best Director for The Pianist in 2003, the year John Geoghan was murdered in prison. Polanski has stayed out of the US so that he would avoid prosecution for his crimes.

And let’s not forget this is an industry that sexualizes young children in films and the countless young women who’ve felt they’ve had no choice but to sleep with men under duress for jobs. That’s also known as prostitution.

Apparently, Mr. Sugar believes that abuse is only abuse if a priest does it or it occurs in the Catholic Church. Because it’s the price of doing business in Hollywood.

As Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway put it:

Hollywood, feel free to make movies about scandals that bring attention to abuse, human trafficking and other controversial topic, but before you begin to lecture anyone on these topics make sure you have the complete story.