The film Spotlight follows the story of The Boston Globe investigation that verified and published an unthinkable systemic child abuse cover-up by The Catholic Church in 2002. This blow came to Boston just months after the dust of 9/11 settled on New York.
The film was not easy to sit through. Having been raised Catholic, stories of misconduct in the church had many of us leaving the organization, but not the actual faith. The Catholic Church has changed a lot in the time I’ve been alive, yet it clings tightly to its rules – that seemed to go overlooked in regards to its priests.
But thank God for men like Mitchel Garabedian, played by Stanley Tucci, an abuse lawyer who, to this day, defends victims like a pit bull. Garabedian didn’t take time to marry “because the work is too important.” He doesn’t wear a collar, but took an oath to uphold the law, and seems to be the only man any abused child in Boston can trust. In the film, he admitted to remaining Catholic even after all he’d witnessed – Catholic by faith, not by association with the institution of men. To paraphrase one quote in the film, “If it takes a village to raise a child, you can be sure it takes a village to fail a child.”
Think what you will about lawyers, but the world needs more like him. I fell in love with his principles. To know that there are real people like him fighting for the rights of the victims restores some of my faith in men.
It’s important to note that the Spotlight team verified nearly 6% of Catholic priests in the Boston diocese alone had been moved due to abuse accusations. That still leaves 94% of them to be, hopefully, good vow-keeping men who honorably go above and beyond to serve their community.
But that statistic can’t be of consequence to victims.
One victim described that when a servant of God is the abuser, he not only destroys the innocence and self-worth of his victims but their faith in anything. Because if “God” is hurting them, who is left to turn to? Abuse breaks any spiritual foundation they had.
Men fail at being human every minute of every day. Catholics believe that if they are truly remorseful and repentant, God will forgive them. But does God forgive repeated offenses? And for men who act as His representatives? I think He’s got some restructuring of “the organization” to do.