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  • Last night I saw Spotlight.

    Today I feel numb! 

    Spotlight is a 2015 American drama film directed by Thomas McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer.

    The story is about The Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team, a newspaper investigative unit in the United States. The real Spotlight Team earned the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

    The story takes us back to 2001, when a team of journalists from The Boston Globe methodically uncovered a pattern of sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Massachusetts and an ongoing cover-up by the Boston Archdiocese.

    Cardinal Sean O'Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston said Spotlight illustrates how the newspaper's reports prompted the church "to deal with what was shameful and hidden."[1] 

    Vatican Radio, official radio service of the Holy See, called it "honest" and "compelling" and said it helped the U.S. Catholic Church "to accept fully the sin, to admit it publicly, and to pay all the consequences."[2]

    Luca Pellegrini on the Vatican Radio website wrote that the Globe reporters "made themselves examples of their most pure vocation, that of finding the facts, verifying sources, and making themselves—for the good of the community and of a city—paladins of the need for justice."[3]

    My father grew up in Boston.  He was born in 1929 at the onset of the depression.  He has seen and experienced many things in his life.  He has travelled internationally.  At 86 years of age, his opinion means so much to me for I believe much of who I am today is very much because of his drive and determination. It was his opinion that nudged me to go and see the film instead of Star Wars or the new Christmas film. He said to me, “Melodie, this is one moving film!!  It is a MUST SEE by you and your entire staff! Seeing the film will motivate and drive your team members to a greater commitment and renewed calling to move Plan to Protect® to even higher levels of promotion. It will compel you to continue to raise awareness of 'why' your work is in existence and needed within society today. …All that is necessary for evil to triumph - is for good men to do nothing!!

    The film was indeed excellent!  The journalists’ initial unbelief, the journey to awareness and recognition, their commitment and desire to uncover the truth, their kindness and sensitivity to the victims, their dedication and persistence, their questioning of established religious systems were all so compelling.

    I could not help but identify with so much of what they were experiencing in the film. For the story of these journalists is so similar to my journey of unbelief and ignorance of the extent of the issue of abuse, to become an advocate for the prevention of abuse and the protection of the vulnerable sector.

    After the credits and the list of cities where clergy abuse had occurred rolled across the screen, I sat in silence in the theatre.  I cried leaving the theatre, heart broken that the problem is so big.  My friend and co-worker Lynda wrapped her arms around me and hugged me.  I feel numb!

    There are some things in life that everyone in the West should experience.  When visiting Germany, we visited the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.  When we lived in Austria, we visited high concentration Refugee Camps.  When we visited our daughter in Kenya, we had tea in a mud hut.  These things are on my bucket list, for they humble me and have moved me to speak on behalf of the oppressed and those that experience injustice. 

    Today I am grateful that my father challenged me to see Spotlight.  In our comfort, we can sit back and watch Real TV or Entertainment Tonight. We can protest and say, “I can’t visit a Concentration Camp, it will be too emotional.” “I don’t need to visit a Refugee Camp to imagine the atrocity of being packed in like sardines in a tented community,” or, “I don’t want to pay to watch a movie where I learn about the atrocity of child sexual abuse.”  However, if we are not moved to action to speak out against these things, our souls will not be awakened to injustices that are crying for our attention and action. 

    Today, I am extremely grateful that I went to see the film.  So much so, that I am dedicating a blog entry to encourage my readers also to go and see the movie. I am today cheering the fact that God is calling men and women in all segments of our society to speak to these issues. 

    When I started Plan to Protect® a verse from the Bible jumped off the pages, in Nehemiah 9:27b, “And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies.”

    My one concern in watching the film is that viewers may further reject faith in God because of the acts of those that seemingly or initially set out to represent Him.  The Bible says we are, “Created in God’s Image.”  We all have a choice to either represent our Creator or distort His image.  You will see in this film that many clergy did the latter.  I believe when we are compelled by a desire to know the truth, and moved by justice and compassion; we truly reflect the heart of God. 

    "The Fear-of- GOD is a spring of living water so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.   … You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless; when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God. (Proverbs 14:27, 31 MSG)"

    "But I am full of the courage that the LORD’s Spirit gives, and have a strong commitment to justice. This enables me to confront Jacob with its rebellion, and Israel with its sin. (Micah 3:8 NET)"

    [1] Wangsness, Lisa (October 29, 2015). "'Spotlight' shows how church was impelled to act, O'Malley says". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 3, 2015.

    [2] Allen Jr., John (October 23, 2015). "Vatican Radio praises movie on Boston Globe coverage of clergy abuse". Crux. Retrieved November 3, 2015.

    [3] Pellegrini, Luca (September 4, 2015). "A Venezia il film sulla pedofilia nella diocesi di Boston" (in Italian). Retrieved December 1, 2015.

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