Spotlight

 

Just watched Spotlight (2015) directed by Tom McCarthy. A movie on child molestation and sexual abuse in the Catholic Church at the hands of priests in the Boston (MA) area. And I must say it is so near home. Anyone who has been part of a church choir, or the altar boys, or even played badminton in the Stone Hall beneath the Chapel, or dusted and arranged the bookcases of priests, knows what I am talking of, and some of us have gone through suggestive words by these priests.

I am glad I was taught to be open and chat about the day, and I had a good dialogue with my mom who recognized the sentiments behind those words and stopped us from playing badminton, and spending extra time with the priests. I know of a newly ordained priest closer home, who had been sodomized and hence left the priesthood, just after his ordination, before his first Mass.  So I am talking Bombay and Goa – two heavy bastions of the Catholic community.

So what the Spotlight movie talks of is real. A couple of years back the Pope Benedict XVI apologized for these pedophile priests. Never mind that those priests were finally taken away and put in glorious places in the Vatican. The trauma that his flock instilled in their community is here to stay. It is a known fact, yet hidden by Catholic Guilt. Not only are children subject to victimization, even nuns too. A former nun published a book on it, “Amen – The Autobiography of a Nun” by Sister Jesme (Penguin).

A lot of Catholics take priests to be representatives of God. But do they follow the holiness? Celibacy is one of the sacrosanct vows that they have to take. But as humans first and men, it is not easy to be celibate. It is easy to be tempted. I know of a lady following a priest to every parish he was stationed, in the hope of finally getting him. And I know of priests who have quit after years of being a priest and married their fellow parishioners too. But I also heard enough of priests and their shenanigans.

As the movie depicts, kids from poorer families, broken homes, disturbed homes these are the vulnerable prey. It is an indelible scar and very humanely portrayed in the movie. Men 30-40 years later breaking down and crying, urging the reporters to ‘get them.’

This movie is a reality that deserved to be brought to light. Dig in and you will find many more right in your city. It won’t surprise me.

Spotlight truly deserved the Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay Academy Award; the Oscars were this time, right on some counts.

 

 

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