One day after Spotlight won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the Vatican newspaper published two stories commending the film.
Spotlight recounts the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church and how the Globe journalists unveiled decades of systematic cover-ups. In a news story recounting the Oscar results, L’Osservatore Romano said director Tom McCarthy’s film “has the courage to denounce cases which must be condemned without any hesitation. And it does so in detail, on the basis of a documentation substantially serious and credible.”
An editorial acknowledged that Spotlight is “not anti-Catholic” and that the film instead draws attention to the important issue of sex abuse and “manages to voice the shock and profound pain of the faithful confronting the discovery of these horrendous realities.”
The editorial, written by editor Lucetta Scaraffia, argued that the film doesn’t fully address Pope Benedict XVI’s efforts against pedophilia, but concedes that “one film cannot tell all.” Scaraffia also referenced producer Michael Sugar’s Oscar acceptance speech for Best Picture, saying that Sugar’s direct address to Pope Francis suggested that there was “still trust in a faith that has at its heart the defence of victims, the protection of the innocent.”
“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,” Sugar said in his speech. “Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”
Earlier this month, Spotlight screened at a Vatican panel on clergy sex abuse. However, critics charge that the Church still hasn’t made the changes necessary to correct a corrupt system, and an abuse survivor who was appointed to the Church’s select commision was recently dismissed, reportedly for expressing frustration at the slow pace of action.
Spotlight won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams were also nominated for their roles as Globe journalists.