Vatican Commission on Sex Abuse Holds Private 'Spotlight' Screening

The three-day meetings will aim to find ways to protect children from clergy abuse.

A new commission at the Vatican to combat sex abuse within the Catholic Church kicked off Thursday with a private screening of the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, a searing look into the story of the journalists who uncovered the abuses that persisted for decades within the Boston Catholic Church.

"The film is extremely worrying about the cover-up of abuse in the Catholic Church, and I think it would be a good moment for the pope to see it," Peter Saunders, an anti-abuse campaigner and member of the commission told the L.A. Times.

The commission was set up by Pope Francis in 2014 and aims to find ways of protecting children from clergy abuse. The pontiff also set up a new tribunal last year to prosecute bishops accused of covering up for priests. But the leader of the Catholic Church has also been accused of not doing enough, as well as of promoting people who have covered up crimes.

At Spotlight’s premiere in Venice last year, director Tom McCarthy called on the Vatican to take further action. "I remain, after making this movie, pessimistic toward change within the Catholic Church," he said. "I was raised Catholic. My family is very Catholic. I think I understand it to some extent. But words are one things and actions are another. I have high hopes for Pope Francis but I think what actually changes remains to be seen, so I guess we just have to wait."

Actor Mark Ruffalo said at the time: "I hope the Vatican will use this movie as a perfect opportunity to begin to right these wrongs, not just for the victims and their destroyed lives, but for all the people who have lost a way to order a chaotic world for themselves."

A request for comment from the Vatican has not yet been returned. 


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