'Spotlight' Win Comes As Senior Vatican Official Admits Catholic Church “Made Enormous Mistakes”

Just moments before Spotlight producer Michael Sugar gave an impassioned plea for the powerful exposé of rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests to “resonate all the way to the Vatican,” one of the Catholic Church’s most senior figures admitted in testimony that the church had “made enormous mistakes.”

Australian Cardinal George Pell, a close adviser to Pope Francis and the Church’s Secretariat for the Economy — reputedly the second-most powerful position in Rome — was giving evidence in a courtroom Monday morning to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The proceedings addressed the accusations of crimes committed in the town of Ballarat, where Pell was a priest.

“I’m not here to defend the indefensible,” Pell said via video link from Rome. “The Church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those, but the Church in many places, certainly in Australia, has mucked things up, has let people down.”

Although Pell is not under investigation or suspicion himself, he has come under fire for what critics have described as a systematic cover-up by the Church’s hierarchy to protect the criminal priests. Pell was known to have served as a consultant to Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who later was found to have moved Australia’s most notorious abusive priest, Gerald Ridsale, from parish to parish for many years. Ridsale ultimately was convicted of 138 offenses against 53 victims.

“I have just re-read the file of Ridsdale, the priest — ex-priest — and the way he was dealt with was a catastrophe,” said Pell, who also admitted, “I must say, in those days, if a priest denied such activity, I was very strongly inclined to accept the denial.”

Pell’s testimony, and the horrific acts of abuse against children laid out so chillingly by the prosecution, do give Michael Sugar’s speech — and Spotlight in general — even more urgency and relevance. Earlier on Sunday, Spotlight co-star Mark Ruffalo attended a sexual abuse protest outside Los Angeles Cathedral, along with the film’s director/ co-scribes Tom McCarthy and co-scribe Josh Singer, organized by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Hours later, they would be celebrating an upset victory at the Oscars that stands to give a powerful voice to those looked over for so long.

  1. God made “Spotlight” win the Oscar so that the world will see that the Catholic church isn’t “God’s church”.

    Jesus said the child rape was unforgivable in Matthew 18:6-14, and that you shoudl punish every pedophile priest and find every victim.

    As you watch “Spotlight”, at every situation where the Catholic church has a decision to make, ask “What would Jesus do”, and “What would satan do”. In 100% of cases, the Catholic church chose what satan would do.

    The Catholic church continues to sin every day by being defiant in evil, refusing to punish known pedophile priests, and refusing to find and help victims, despite so many victims committing suicide.

    Thanks to this win, every teenager will see Spotlight at some point, and it will be enough to prove that the Catholic church isn’t “God’s church”, and millions of future families will leave the Catholic church and never come back.

    Thank God for “Spotlight”.

  2. If you ignore denominations and add up all the molestation charges agains all Protestant pastors you will find they exceed what is being charged against the Catholic Church. Over 1,800 cases of abuse within the Methodist church in England alone have been uncovered over the last 60 yrs. Of course, teachers are the group that molests the most. The Guardian did a story on this last year. This in no way absolves any guilt for these horrific crimes, but the simple reason the Catholic church is always in the news concerning lawsuits is that is where the money is. No one sues an entity that cannot pay.

    1. No. The Church is in the news because there was a concerted cover up. Moreover, the scope of the issue spanned the world. Rapists priests preyed on children and their superiors blamed the children and their families.

    2. There will be pedophiles wherever children are gathered with adult supervision – the difference between what you list and the Catholic church is that the leadership of the catholic church knew about the crimes and were active in covering them up and protecting the criminals (and even helping them commit crimes again by moving them to a new parish) – it was institutional. When you can come back and say the the dept of education actively covered up and moved pedophile teachers to other schools then you can equate the situations.

      How the Catholic church got all that money is a different scandal altogether.

  3. “The world really pays the supreme compliment to the Catholic Church in being intolerant of her tolerating even the appearance of the evils which it tolerates in everything else.” GK Chesterton in The Thing: Why I am a Catholic

  4. Duh! Do you think you made some mistakes. Looks more like a cover up, intimidation, and outright lies. Great movie. See it and how far the church went.

  5. The Church has and will continue to wear this scarlet letter, as it should. However, for some whom rant on and say that the Catholic Church has made no progress to rectify this horrific isssue or to help those who have been abused either is ignorant of the facts or because it interferes with their underlying hatred of the Catholic Church.

  6. WE are so honored and proud to have worked these past 6 months on the awards season voters including lobbying Academy members to do the right thing and vote for SPOTLIGHT. Congratulations to everyone in our company including the volunteers in our office, and with the Survivors at SNAP (The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). The elation in knowing that millions of more people in the world will now watch Spotlight for the first time and see what the Catholic Church and some of the evil that exists there is still doing. Raping children, covering it up, hiding the perpetrators then harrassing the survivors is pure evil. Such courage to the survivors. This is YOUR WIN TOO. Edward Lozzi, Edward Lozzi & Associates PR

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