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American Bishop on Spotlight: praise for the media

Wednesday 25 November 2015, by SIGNIS

Kansas City, Brussels, November 25th, 2015 (Tom Roberts/NCR/SIGNIS) At the Venice film festival, the SIGNIS Jury was confronted with the American film Spotlight directed by Thomas McCarthy. The film is about the role of the media in uncovering child abuse in the Church and how the hierarchy reacted to it.

In the USA the media came in for high praise in a blog written by an archbishop addressing Spotlight and sexual abuse in the Church. "The media was one of the major forces pushing the Church to respond in a way that it failed to do up to that point, and we are better for it," wrote Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a Nov. 12 blog post posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

With the release of Spotlight , he said, the role of the media will again be discussed, and he recalled a 2010 column in which he wrote: "I think we should acknowledge the role of the media in calling us to accountability and the firm resolve that is expressed in the Charter," a reference to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The document was approved at the bishops’ spring meeting in Dallas in 2002, following the revelations of abuse by clergy and cover up by the hierarchy in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Spotlight traces the work of the Boston Globe in uncovering the systemic nature of the crisis in which crimes of individual clerics were hidden as priests were moved from parish to parish without warning and payments were made to buy the silence of victims.

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