The Vatican daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has praised Spotlight after it won the Oscar for best picture in it story about journalists exposing a clergy cover-up of child abuse, saying it is a courageous movie that is not anti-Catholic.
"It is not an anti-Catholic movie, as has been written, because the film succeeds in giving voice to the shock and profound pain of the faithful confronting the discovery of these horrendous realities," wrote historian and journalist Lucetta Scaraffia in an op-ed piece in the newspaper Feb. 29 the day after its Oscar win.
Spotlight "does not delve into the long and tenacious battle that Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as Pope, undertook against pedophilia in the Church," says Scaraffia, Catholic News Agency reports.
But "one film cannot tell all, and the difficulties that Ratzinger met with do not but confirm the film's theme, which is that too often ecclesiastical institutions have not known how to react with the necessary determination in the face of these crimes."
She notes, "Not all monsters wear cassocks. Pedophilia does not necessarily arise from the vow of chastity.
"However, it has become clear that in the Church some are more preoccupied with the image of the institution than of the seriousness of the act," the op-ed says.
Mike Reyes writes in Cinema Blend that while the Vatican newspaper praises Spotlight's work in bringing to light the story of sexual abuse perpetrated and hidden by the Boston Archdiocese, it missed an important item in its ultimate denouement.
"Most specifically, the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI and his 'long and tenacious battle' against pedophile priests was mentioned as an omission from Thomas McCarthy and Josh Singer's award winning screenplay."
It notes this was written off as a simple matter of the film not having the time to jump into all of the particulars.
"While this may sound a little back-handed, this is actually a pretty big step for The Vatican in terms of popular culture," says Cinema Blend.
CNN reported after the Oscars, "Spotlight" is basking in the golden glow of Oscar.
"Mad Max: Fury Road may have won more honors at the 88th Academy Awards, leading all films with six. The Revenant won some major prizes, including the first Oscar for actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
"But when the last award of the evening was read, it was the little film about Boston Globe investigative reporters digging into a sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests that was left standing.
Producer Mike sugar said, ""This film gave a voice to survivors. And this film amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican."
It was one of two awards Spotligh" garnered. The film also won for Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer's original screenplay.
Spotlight is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.