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November 23, 2015

Spotlight

by Anne Paddock

Many years ago, there was a postal carrier who delivered mail to our home nearly every day. A quiet guy who rarely spoke, the mailman often looked at the ground as he walked from house to house delivering letters, bills, catalogs, and packages. One day, the local newspaper carried a story about a group of adults who came forward claiming they were sexually abused by priests in the Catholic parishes they attended as children. Filled with shame and often told to be quiet, many of these children grew up deeply disturbed and troubled, unable to reconcile the sexual assault or the way their families and the leaders of the church treated them. Our mailman was one of those children and it was heartbreaking to be a bystander and read about the personal violation of a person we both knew and didn’t know in the local paper.

SpotlightOn Friday, November 27th, the movie Spotlight will be released nationwide in theaters (limited release started this past week). The film is the true story of how a group of investigative reporters – called the Spotlight team – working for the Boston Globe newspaper uncovered the systematic coverup of sexual abuse within the Catholic Diocese in Massachusetts, in 2002.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003, the Spotlight team was initially assigned to investigate the allegations that a priest molested 80 young boys – primarily poor and/or fatherless kids – in the Boston area. What the journalists uncovered was explosive and shocking even to the Bostonians who knew some of what was going on.

A 128-minute film with an all-star cast – Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Lev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, and Brian d’Arcy, Spotlight is a film that not only exposes the pedophiles in the Catholic church but also the powerful people who protected the priests at the expense of the boys who deserved so much more from their parents, the church leaders, the lawyers, politicians, and the people who fought for years to keep the truth from the public.

At the end of the film, the lights will come up in the theater and you may ask yourself:  Why did it take so long for so many people to stand up for what was right?

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