Vatican paper lauds 'Spotlight' for giving voice to abuse victims

Writer  director Nate Parker centre stars as 1800s slave rebellion leader Nat Turner in The Birth of a Nation a film that deliberately takes its title from D.W. Griffith's 1915 silent opus

She said she thinks it's "wonderful" that "Spotlight" won the best picture award.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican's former chief prosecutor of clerical abuse crimes, insists that all bishops and cardinals see the film.

Catholic Church abuse movie Spotlight was named best picture, the top award at the Oscars ceremony, after a night peppered with pointed punchlines from host Chris Rock about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has dominated the industry.

Spotlight's double win at the Oscars has highlighted the brilliant work undertaken by The Boston Globe's investigative team to expose the widespread child sex abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church.

It gives "a voice to the shock and profound pain of the faithful who confront the discovery of this disgusting reality", said an opinion piece by columnist Lucetta Scaraffia. The series won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2003.

Alexa MacPherson was abused in a Boston parish for more than six years starting when she was 3. "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 Oscar win by "Spotlight" came as Cardinal George Pell, who serves as Pope Francis' financial adviser, testified to Australia's royal commission into sex abuse.

But while many would assume that The Vatican would rush to defend itself, angered by the victory, the response from its official newspaper has been quite the opposite. Scaraffia also referenced producer Michael Sugar's Oscar acceptance speech for Best Picture, saying that Sugar's direct address to Pope Francis suggested that there was "still trust in a faith that has at its heart the defence of victims, the protection of the innocent".

Vatican Radio also praised "Spotlight" as a "rigorous and authentic" reconstruction.

"The movie shows how the instinct - that unfortunately was present in the church - to protect a reputation was completely wrong", Scicluna told an Italian newspaper.

"The range of victims coming forward now is anywhere from 25 to 80 years old", Garabedian said.