Several of our recent posts have discussed the critically acclaimed movie “Spotlight,” which tells the true story of Boston Globe reporters who brought international attention to the problem of clergy sexual abuse. The reaction (to the movie) from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. But among leaders within the Catholic Church, reactions have been mixed. Some stubbornly continue to prioritize the church’s reputation over its accountability.
Thankfully, some prominent figures within the Catholic Church have argued that the institution’s very survival depends on its ability to be transparent and to atone for its own sins. This was the sentiment expressed recently by a man named Charles Scicluna. He is now the Archbishop of Malta, but he previously worked for 10 years in Rome as the Church’s head prosecutor in sex abuse cases brought against priests.
Commenting on Spotlight, Scicluna said: “All bishops and cardinals must see this film, especially those in charge of souls, because they have to understand that it is the complaint that will save the Church, not the conspiracy of silence.”
Scicluna added: “The film shows how the instinct . . . to protect the Church’s good name, was totally wrong. There can be no mercy without justice.”
Since Francis became Pope, he has managed to soften the Catholic Church’s image, in part, by promoting the idea that the Church cannot continue to hold moral authority unless its representatives practice the values that they preach. Hopefully, that sentiment is the first sign of real and lasting reform.