Just hours before the start of the Oscar Awards, Mark Ruffalo, an actor in Spotlight, protested outside a Catholic Church.
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight‘s director, and writer Josh Singer also joined Ruffalo in the protest.
During the protest, Ruffalo tweeted his support.
“Standing with the survivors of Priest sexual abuse!”
Spotlight is up for six nominations at the Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Catholic Church sex scandals have been an ongoing issue for many years. BBC once reported on a case in Boston, in particular, when a series of child sex scandals appeared involving the archdiocese of Boston. Two Boston priests, John Geoghan and Paul Shanley, caused a public outrage in the 1990’s, and suspicions came to light that Church leaders tried to move accused priests from post to post in an effort to cover up their crimes.
Allegations continued through 2002, even after the Pope at the time, John Paul II, held an emergency meeting regarding the crimes. By the end of the year, Archbishop Bernard Law had resigned due to the scandal, even after giving an apology.
BBC further reports that, by September 2003, the archdiocese of Boston had agreed to settle more than 500 civil suits by paying out $85 million. The civil suits accused priests of sexual assault, as well as the church officials of concealing the abuse.
The next year, the church commissioned a report that said over 4,000 US Roman priests have faced allegations involving sexual abuse in the past 50 years, more than 10,000 of them involving children, mostly boys.
Large payouts have been made to victims made by the US diocese. The largest payout in the US was $660 million from the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
The Huffington Post recently posted regarding the Catholic church not doing enough to stop child abuse. In many cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, their clergy continued to let the abusive priests continue to have contact and work with kids, allowing for more attacks.
The Church’s new pope committed to “righting the church’s wrongs when it comes to child sex abuse.” He met with victims, apologized for the the church’s complicity, and said that God weeps for the children who had to deal with sexual abuse.
Allegations continued in New York back in 2014 at Moore Catholic High School, the New York Post reports. Richard Postiglione, an athletic director, was stripped of his duties after two female coaches allegedly bedded students who were underage. Instead of completely getting rid of him, the school made him head of finances and operations. Many teachers and parents were very angered.
“Parents are worried. They wanted to make sure Rich was out of the picture. Now people are up in arms. Unless they make a clean sweep of all the people he put in, it’s never going to change.”
Now, going back to Mark Ruffalo, LA Times reports that a Vatican panel gathered Thursday to watch a private viewing of Spotlight.
Spotlight expresses the worry of Catholic churches covering up sexual abuse. Peter Saunders, a member of the commission and an anti-abuse campaigner, thinks it would be great for the pope to see it. Saunders was a victim of abuse by a Catholic priest when he was growing up in London.
Vatican Radio commented on Spotlight as being compelling and honest, although the Vatican has not commented officially.
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