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“Spotlight” on the Institutional Abuse of Children

“Spotlight” on the Institutional Abuse of Children
By Kerby T. Alvy, Ph.D.

The compelling new film, Spotlight, deserves to be seen by everyone who cares about the safety and welfare of children!la-et-mn-spotlight-review-20151106-001

The film dramatically tells the true story of the Boston Globe’s uncovering and revealing of the sexual abuse of poor children by 70 Catholic priests throughout that city. It further details how the church shifted the priests to other locations and the institutional conspiracy to keep these cases unknown to the public.

These 2001 events eventually led to a worldwide scandal of enormous proportions.

A fine review of the film by Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, along with footage from the film, is available here. Mr. Turan closes his article by noting that “Spotlight is both damning and inspiring, depressing and heartening. Though it is set more than a decade in the past, it’s the “All the President’s Men” for our time, and, boy, do we need it now.”

The Catholic Church, however, is not alone in having some of its personnel engage in abusive actions with children and adolelecents. Other denominations have had their own secrets, as have other institutions that serve children, including public schools and juvenile justice settings.

Such abuses rank right up with those committed by the over three million parents who are reported each year for child abuse and neglect. All betray the basic trust in adults that that is crucial for the healthy development of children.

The film, of course, could not include the steps that the Catholic Church has been taking since the turn of the century in an attempt to remedy this horrible situation. In that regard, we alert you to an 2010 article, Pope to Sex Abuse Victims: I am truly sorry.” (Pope to sex abuse victims: ‘I am truly sorry’ | National Catholic Reporter). This balanced article includes the many actions the Catholic Church is now taking to halt these abuses and comments on whether they are doing enough.

Once again, we at CICC urge everyone to see this eye-opening film — and to become more aware of the need to protect all children from all forms of abuse.