Sunday, November 15, 2015

Spotlight [2015]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (4 Stars)  RogerEbert.com (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B+)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing

NCROnline.org (Sr. R. Pacatte) review

CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review
RogerEbert.com (S. O'Malley) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review  

Spotlight [2015] (directed and screenplay cowritten by Tom McCarthy along with Josh Singer) is a testament to the value of "Checks and Balances" and then specifically of a Free / Independent Press.

Writing out of Chicago, with its decades-long history of corruption scandals big and small, I've long valued the scrappy reputation of Chicago's "second paper" The Chicago SunTimes.  Obviously, it's not as if corruption has come to an end in my fair city as a result of the SunTimes' screaming tabloid- format front page, but I can't help but feel that it has had at least SOME deterrent value: "NO ONE wants to be pictured on the front page of the Sun Times," I've joked over the years to friends.

In this regard, the Catholic Church in the U.S. has had a similar paper, a well-written if ever screaming _independent weekly_ called the National Catholic Reporter, which the U.S. Bishops have chosen to try to ignore for the last 20-30 years rather than recognize it for what it's always been: A PAPER WRITTEN BY / OF THE LOYAL and STILL BELIEVING "Church-going opposition/dissent."   AND WE HAVE CERTAINLY PAID FOR THIS WITH THE SEXUAL ABUSE SCANDALS which were being ROUTINELY REPORTED THERE _FOR YEARS_ prior (!!!) to the Boston Globe's exposes celebrated in this film.

The NCR has _also been SCREAMING FOR YEARS_ for the Catholic Church to RE-EVALUATE its teaching on Women's Ordination as well as on Homosexuality.  WHY?  BECAUSE IT'S STILL WRITTEN BY _BELIEVERS_ WHO DON'T WANT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO BE RUN-INTO-THE-GROUND BY A _COMFORTABLE_ / INTELLECTUALLY-LAZY CLUB OF YES-MEN.

We may be at a time (with a definitely DIFFERENT THINKING POPE and EVEN WITH THE RELEASE OF THIS FILM) WHEN THINGS COULD ACTUALLY CHANGE.

Yes, there are things to criticize in the film.  Its own statistics -- 50% of priests supposedly violating their vows or even 6% of priests being pedophiles (presumably defined in the more general sense of being attracted to minors rather than more strictly to prepubescent children) -- actually make the Catholic priesthood sound very much like a "cross-section of society" -- After all, we live in a society where over half of marriages end in divorce USUALLY BECAUSE OF INFIDELITY and half of all children molested appear to have been molested by their own parents (and this actually fits my own pastoral experience: In each of the three parishes where I've served since my diaconate, I've known at least one adult woman who had been molested as a minor by her own biological father).  A fairly extensive survey of statistics on the matter of child molestation has been collected here.

Still, the film BEAUTIFULLY PRESENTS HOW "SOFT POWER" within _A CLOSED SYSTEM_ works to suppress (and frustrate action on...) embarrassing / "inconvenient" information EVEN TO THE POINT OF DAMAGING / DESTROYING LIVES ... But WHAT LIVES?  Well those "outside the loop ..."

Anyway, it took an "outsider," a Jewish editor named Marty Baron (played by Liev Schrieber), coming to the Boston Globe from Miami to shake things up in largely Catholic Boston enough to break the story open.

Can we listen to our still loyal opposition now as well?


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