The sins of the Catholic fa­thers

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d’Arcy James) – peel back lay­ers of lies, pay­offs and cover-ups to start to re­alise the ex­tent of the scan­dal and how high up the church hi­er­ar­chy it goes ... and just how many vic­tims there are in their home city.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, pres­sure is ap­plied by var­i­ous pow­er­ful Catholics and there are some scary mo­ments – such as when Car­roll dis­cov­ers that one of the treat­ment cen­tres for th­ese preda­tor priests is a few houses down in his neigh­bour­hood.

It isn’t easy to make a film about a group of peo­ple dig­ging through ar­chives, at­tend­ing court cases and in­ter­view­ing peo­ple into com­pelling view­ing – that McCarthy and his ac­tors do so is why they walked off with the Screen Ac­tors Guild award for best en­sem­ble cast last week.

This is an im­por­tant film for many rea­sons, but even if you don’t want to see it for any of them, it is just a strong story about a sub­ject that touches us all – religious or not, in­ter­ested in news or not. It is about un­cov­er­ing the abuse of au­thor­ity and hold­ing the pow­er­ful to ac­count. It is about giv­ing vic­tims a voice.

Un­for­tu­nately, since the Spot­light team broke the story in 2002, there have been an­other 105 sex scan­dals in dio­ce­ses in the US and an­other 102 in dio­ce­ses else­where, in­clud­ing in Cape Town. Arch­bishop of Bos­ton Car­di­nal Bernard Law, who the Bos­ton Globe said was “the cen­tral fig­ure in a scan­dal of crim­i­nal abuse, de­nial, pay­off and cover-up that res­onates around the world”, is cur­rently en­joy­ing his re­tire­ment in the Vat­i­can.

“He is liv­ing out his el­derly age just like many el­derly car­di­nals who are in Rome or else­where do, and the way we prob­a­bly will too if we make it over 80 years old,” Fed­erico Lom­bardi, the Vat­i­can spokesper­son, told The Guardian.


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