Vatican City, Feb 29: The Vatican newspaper praised Oscar-winning film "Spotlight" today as having given voice to the "profound pain" of the faithful over the reality of clerical sex abuse, and insisted it's not an anti-Catholic film.
L'Osservatore Romano dedicated two articles in its afternoon editions to the Academy Awards and the Best Picture won by "Spotlight," about the Boston Globe's 2002 expose of the hundreds of Boston children who were raped and molested by Catholic priests and the church's systematic cover-up of the crimes.
L'Osservatore quoted producer Michael Sugar's acceptance speech "Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith" â saying even his appeal was positive.
"It means there's still faith in the institution, there's faith in a pope who is continuing the cleanup started by his predecessor as cardinal. And there's still trust in a faith that has at its heart the defense of victims and the protection of innocents," said the piece by Lucetta Scaraffia, one of L'Osservatore's main columnists and the editor of its monthly edition on women's issues.
She said the film wasn't anti-Catholic "because it manages to give voice to the shock and profound pain of the faithful when confronted with discovery of this horrible reality."
Vatican Radio, which gave the film an enthusiastically positive review in October when it screened at the Venice Film Festival, also praised "Spotlight" in its Oscar wrap as a "rigorous and authentic" reconstruction, and cited Sugar's appeal.
The reaction marks a dramatic turnabout by the Vatican from a decade ago and even as recently as 2010, when the last convulsion of the long-running scandal flared as thousands of new victims came forward in Europe, Latin America and beyond.
Then, the Vatican paper of record was a vehicle for ringing defenses of how the Holy See had responded and criticism for the "unjust attacks" being hurled against its pope.