Spotlight, a movie on the Boston Globe articles on child sexual abuse in the Church, debuted at the Venice Film Festival in September. It was set for a limited U.S. release November 6, followed by a nationwide release November 20. The drama from Open Roads Films is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy and features several notable actors and actresses: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci and John Slattery.
The picture has received good reviews, even from Vatican Radio, but regardless of how well the story is told, it will still be a painful reminder of the shame that the scandal brought on the Church, and the cost to the victims, to the faithful clergy, and to parishioners throughout the country and throughout the world.
Here is a statement from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):
“Since the publication of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, the Catholic Church in the United States has been a leader in its efforts to protect children and youth.
“Through safe environment programs, well more than 2.5 million people active in the church – clergy, vowed religious, lay ministers, teachers, coaches, administrators, volunteers and parishioners – have been trained to recognize and respond to signs of inappropriate behavior, thus preventing abuse. Programs like these give us the tools we need to protect children and combat abuse, equipping the Church to remain a powerful force for good.
“Within the past decade, new reporting guidelines and other mandates established by the Church are setting a standard of compassionate, pastoral care for victims and of zero tolerance for offenders.
“We acknowledge the role of the Boston Globe reporters in bringing this issue forward for necessary action, and we continue to pray for the victims of abuse and their families. All life is precious. As such, we must all remain vigilant and strive to embody the teachings of the Church and the example of Jesus.”
Since 2003, an Annual Report has been published on the progress made in implementing the procedures of the Charter. Those reports, based on annual independent audits, tell us progress has been made. Over 17,000 people abused by a cleric have come forward. Thousands of people have received pastoral care in hopes they can find healing. Roughly 99% of adults working or volunteering in our parishes and schools are trained and have had a background check. Of the millions of children in Catholic schools or religious education, 4.4 million of them are trained to recognize abuse and how to tell someone.
There is no doubt the child sexual abuse is a scourge on society. According to the USCCB, figures show that 25% of woman and 16% of children are victimized by the time they are adults. As now we know, and without question, the Church will keep up its efforts to prevent child sexual abuse in all areas of society.
Within the Diocese of San Jose, there is 100% compliance with background checks and Shield the Vulnerable training with clergy.
To report sexual misconduct within the Diocese of San Jose, please contact the Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults at 408-983-0113.