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25 November 2015

ARCC News 25 November 2015

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Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates.
                                          _  Patrick Edgar, ARCC President
 
 
Thanksgiving
 
Some things we have been reading  
Francis eschews his own safety to back the 'three saints of Bangui'
John L. Allen Jr.       Nov.22, 2015
 
Francis departs Wednesday for a five-day trip to Africa, one that's supposed to take him to Kenya and Uganda before ending with a Nov. 29-30 stop in the Central African Republic.

One has to say "supposed to" because it's still not certain that Francis will actually make it to the war-torn CAR. The Vatican on Thursday insisted the pope fully intends to go, but also acknowledged that it is monitoring the security situation.

Assuming Francis proceeds, the trip will mark the first time a pope has visited an active war zone. The CAR descended into violence two and a half years ago when mainly Muslim  rebels seized power, backed by forces from Chad and Sudan, sparking reprisal killings by largely Christian militias.

Some 5,000 civilians have died in the conflict, and one-quarter of the population of 4.6 million has been displaced. Just last week, 22 more people were killed in gunfights in rural villages.

Against that backdrop, Francis's visit represents one of the bolder things a pope has done in recent memory. His roll of the dice is even more dramatic given his current plan to visit a mosque in a Muslim neighborhood considered a no-go zone because it is dominated by jihadist forces.

Part of the reason for the pontiff's resolve lies with his hosts, especially the "three saints of Bangui," referring to the capital city.

The three are the Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyame-Gbangou, president of the Evangelical Alliance; Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, president of the Islamic Council; and Archbishop Diedonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, president of the Catholic bishops' conference.

They represent the main religious options in a country where 50 percent of the population is Protestant, 30 percent Catholic, and 15 percent Muslim. Remarkably, they were fast friends even before the conflict broke out, and they've only deepened those bonds since.

Together, they've traveled the country visiting areas plagued by violence, holding community meetings to rebuild trust. They promote a string of "peace schools" where children of all religions can study, as well as health care centers open to all faiths.
. . . .
The three men repeatedly have put their lives on the line. Last February, for example, they visited a Bangui church for a dialogue session. When they arrived, an outraged crowd was instead planning a lynching, after learning that an imam had been driven to the site by a former member of the Seleka.

The clerics escorted the man into the church and refused to surrender him. They were surrounded by an angry mob from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., without food or water, until peacekeepers came to their rescue.

The risks aren't occasional, but constant.
. . . .
If peace comes to the Central African Republic, most observers believe the three saints of Bangui will deserve a strong share of the credit. In an era in which religion is often seen as a source of conflict, they offer a powerful counter-example that it can be every bit as much a part of the solution.
It would seem that for Pope Francis, shining a spotlight on this remarkable inter-faith friendship is worth running a few risks himself.
Some African Catholics call on pope to let priests marry
Tonny Onyulo       Nov.23, 2015
 
Throngs of Roman Catholics are expected to greet Pope Francis when he visits East Africa this week.

But the Rev. Anthony Musaala won't be a part of the official welcoming delegation.

Two years ago, Ugandan Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga suspended Musaala indefinitely - barring him from administering the sacraments - when Musaala wrote an open letter that challenged his priestly vows of celibacy, condemned sexual abusers among the clergy and criticized priests who father children and abandon them.
. . . .
Since then, the priest, a popular gospel singer and LGBT activist, has become a champion of efforts in Uganda to overturn church celibacy rules and oppose anti-gay laws.

"We will ensure the pope hears our voices on the issues of celibacy," said Musaala.
. . . .
Musaala and his supporters pushed unsuccessfully for repeal of Uganda's infamous 2013 "Kill the Gays" law, which called for life sentences for "aggravated homosexuality" and seven-year prison terms for the promotion of homosexuality. The country's constitutional court overturned the law last year on technical grounds. Ugandan lawmakers are now considering new legislation.

The petition drive advocating marriage for priests comes as the Ugandan Catholic Church has been cracking down on Musaala and his fellow activists. Last month, Lwanga suspended several other priests for suggesting that Catholic priests should marry.

By denying priests permission to marry, the church is rejecting thousands of young men who otherwise would heed the call to holy orders in Africa, home of the world's fastest-growing Catholic population, Musaala is convinced. Meanwhile, he added, numerous Ugandan priests now live openly with wives and families anyway.
. . . .
At the shrine in Namugongo, where Francis is slated to address around 1,000 lay Catholics on his visit to Uganda, Vincent Ogalo elicited cheers as he spoke before a crowd of petition supporters.

"I prefer priests to marry to avoid cases of adultery in our churches," he said. "My wife was snatched by one of the local priests after having stayed together in marriage for five years."

Religious women are especially targeted by sexually frustrated priests, Ogalo continued. He believed the solution was properly satisfying the priests' desires. 
 . . . .
"We have always trusted them with our wives and daughters, who usually help them with various work in churches," added Ogalo. "They're not good people if allowed to stay without marrying. They are a threat to us."
. . . .
Catholics in Africa hold on to traditional societal values that are at odds with some church doctrines, said Zacharia Wanakacha Samita, of the department of philosophy and religious studies at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.

"People who choose not to marry, whether for religious reasons, as celibacy in the Catholic Church, or other practical reasons, do not easily find social acceptability in African society, largely because marriage and having children remains a core value," he said.
Using God's name to justify violence is 'blasphemy,' Pope Francis says
Elise Harris      Nov.15, 2015
. . . .
"I wish to express my deep sorrow for the terrorist attacks which on Friday evening covered France in blood," the Pope said in his Nov. 15 Angelus address.

"Such barbarity leaves us shocked and makes us wonder how the human heart can conceive and carry out such horrible events, which have shaken not only France but the entire world."

Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said that when faced with such "intolerable" acts of violence, one "cannot but condemn the disgraceful affront to human dignity."
. . . .
"I wish to forcefully reaffirm that the path of violence and hate can never solve the problems of humanity!" he said, adding that "to use the name of God to justify this path is blasphemy."
Major changes coming for Roman Curia
Robert Mickens       Nov.24, 2015
 
Pope Francis goes to Africa tomorrow for a six-day, three-nation apostolic journey that is supposed to culminate next Monday in Central African Republic, a country still in the throes of a brutal civil war.
. . . .
No matter how the trip unfolds, Francis will not be coming back to anything remotely considered "peace and quiet" in Rome.

Among other things, in the coming days and weeks he is set to announce some major personnel and structural changes in the Roman Curia and other Vatican-related departments.
. . . .
First of all, it appears that Fr. Federico Lombardi, who has headed the Holy See Press Office since 2006, is going to retire by the end of December.

The 73-year-old Jesuit has also been running Vatican Radio since 1991 as its program director and since 2005 as its general director.

It's still not clear if Francis has decided to replace him at the press office with another member of their order, 49-year-old Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, or if he's opted to name Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, 56, to the post.
. . . .
But it is structural changes in the Vatican's media operations that will be turned up a few more notches next month when the newly created Secretariat for Communications leaves its temporary home at the Vatican Radio building and takes over the offices of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication. It's not clear if Mgr. Dario Viganò, the secretariat's prefect, will be named a bishop. The 53-year-old Milan priest, who is not related to the apostolic nuncio to the United States with the same name, is a specialist in film and television.

It seems this change of offices is confirmation that the pontifical council will be suppressed and its president, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, given a new post -- likely with the promise of a red hat. The career papal diplomat (he served in the Vatican nunciature in Argentina, among other places) will not be 75 until next July, but it's possible that he could be named Archpriest of St. Mary Major. The current titleholder is Cardinal Santo Abril y Costelló, a former nuncio who turned 80 last September.
. . . .
In the coming days Archbishop Angelo Becciù, who has been the Sostituto or Deputy Secretary of State for internal affairs since 2011, will be appointed prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The red-hat post is a done deal for the 67-year-old Sardinian and former nuncio to Cuba. He will replace Cardinal Angelo Amato, 77, an Italian Salesian who was the No. 2 at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2002-2008.

And who will get Becciù's job?

There is strong speculation that Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, who turns 57 in March and is currently papal nuncio to Lebanon, is the leading candidate to become the next Sostituto. He was the Assessore(or deputy to the Sostituto) from 2002 up until 2009 when he and his counterpart in the foreign section (does the name Pietro Parolin ring a bell?) were both sent away from Rome and into exile. Pope Francis wisely brought Parolin back to be his Secretary of State. By appointing Caccia he would be reuniting a duo that -- for at least their time -- successfully prevented the numerous disasters that would later plague the previous pontificate.

Meanwhile, the current Assessore, Msgr. Peter Wells of Oklahoma, is frequently mentioned as the next papal nuncio to the United Nations organizations based in Geneva, Switzerland. The witty and highly competent diplomat is 52 years old and due to be promoted to the episcopacy. He would replace Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, 75, who has held the extremely important U.N. post since 2003.

Pope Francis finally announced last month what everyone had known for more than a year -- that three existing structures would be combined to make one big office to deal with issues concerning the laity, family and human life. But up to now he has not said what exactly the new body will be (such as a congregation or a secretariat) or who will head it.
. . . .
These are just some of the personnel changes Pope Francis will be making. There will be more, included with the official announcement that several current departments will be dissolved and folded into one big office for charity, justice and peace.

Expect other surprises, as well.

Up until now Pope Francis has purposely moved at a slow and deliberate pace. But it looks like he's about to hit the accelerator.
Five Indicted in Leak of Confidential Vatican Documents
Elisabetta Povoledo      Nov.21, 2015
 
Vatican prosecutors on Saturday formally indicted five people in connection with the theft of confidential documents used to write two tell-all books describing purported mismanagement in the Roman Catholic Church's bureaucracy.

The five defendants were charged with "illegally procuring and successively revealing information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the state," the Vatican said in a statement issued Saturday.

Msgr. Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda, and Francesca Chaouqui, a laywoman, were  part of a commission set up by Pope Francis to examine the Vatican's financial holdings and affairs. They were  also charged with criminal conspiracy, as was Monsignor  Vallejo Balda's assistant, Nicola Maio.

The authors of the two books - Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi - are accused of "demanding and exercising pressures, above all on Vallejo Balda, to obtain confidential documents and information, that in part they used to draft two books," according to the statement.  The books, Mr. Nuzzi's "Merchants in the Temple" and Mr. Fittipaldi's "Avarice," were published this month.
. . . .
The trial is to begin on Tuesday, and the defendants could face up to eight years in prison if convicted.
Vatican's foolish response to leaks
Thomas Reese      Nov.24, 2015
 
The Vatican appears to be responding from the wrong playbook to the leaking of confidential documents. It is acting like a state rather than a church.

True, Vatican City is a state that can enact and prosecute laws, but it is also the central office of the Catholic church. In this case, it should act like a church not a state.
. . . .
At the 70-minute initial hearing in a Vatican courtroom, the reporters protested that the trial violates their rights as journalists recognized in Italy, Europe, and by the United Nations.
The International Association of Journalists Accredited at the Vatican issued a statement Tuesday expressing "consternation and worry" that two journalists were being prosecuted for publishing leaked documents when "publishing news is exactly their work."
. . . .
Vatican employees who leak documents should not be prosecuted; they should be disciplined like any church employee who leaks confidential information. In the extreme, they could be fired, stripped of all titles and privileges, and even banned from working for any other church entity.
. . . .
Prosecuting journalists is even worse. It puts the Vatican in the company of authoritarian regimes who have no respect for freedom of the press. This is stupid and wrong. In addition, if the Italian journalists were convicted it is unlikely that Italy would extradite them to the Vatican. Why go through this farce?
. . . .
The government prosecution of the leaking of state secrets (with whistleblower exceptions) is legitimate depending on the damage the disclosure causes. If lives or national security are put at risk by the disclosure, criminal prosecution would be merited.
The financial documents leaked from the Vatican do not rise to the level of national security secrets.
 Only if they make it impossible to prosecute financial crooks in the Vatican, would they rise to the level of a crime.
Certainly no one should be surprised at being fired for leaking confidential information (with whistleblower exceptions). This is true in government, business, and churches.
Pope steady despite a crazy, messed up month of scandal
Nicole Winfield      Nov.12, 2015
 
The Vatican is no stranger to drama, intrigue or scandal. But even by Vatican standards, this has been one hell of a month.
Ever since Pope Francis returned from his triumphant visit to the United States, nearly every day has brought surreal revelations of bishops behaving badly, cardinals resisting reform and ideological battles over everything from the theology of marriage to the Vatican's cigarette sales.

By Wednesday, the Vatican had had enough and issued a series of statements disputing reports left and right, only to end the day with confirmation that two Italian journalists were now under investigation by Vatican magistrates for their involvement in the latest scandal over leaked documents.
. . . .
Francis' crazy month began with a monsignor from the Vatican's doctrine office outing himself as gay (boyfriend by his side) and denouncing the "hypocrisy" of the church's doctrine on homosexuality the day before Francis opened his big bishop meeting on family life.

Then, 13 prominent cardinals penned a (leaked) missive to Francis warning that the Catholic Church risked collapse if he went ahead with his reformist agenda at the synod.

The soap opera continued with a report (denied) mid-way through the meeting that the pope had a brain tumor.
. . . .
Hollywood couldn't make this stuff up - and yet Francis seems to be taking it all in stride.
. . . .
Despite the tumult, Francis has remained remarkably steady and determined, issuing an important mission statement this week outlining his vision of a church that shuns power, prestige and money in favor of solidarity with the poor and oppressed. Perhaps he knew that Italian prosecutors were just about to announce that the former abbot of the famed Montecassino monastery was under investigation for allegedly pocketing some 500,000 euros ($500,000), some of it public money destined for charity, to fund five-star hotel stays and dinners of oysters and champagne.
"He's not even afraid because he knows what he is doing," Francis' close collaborator, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, said of the resistance in an interview in New York. "He's a man of prayer. He is a man of God. And so he's never disappointed by this kind of thing."

Massimo Faggioli, an Italian church historian joining the Villanova University's theology department next year, said much of the headline-grabbing news of the past month can be chalked up to Francis' radical agenda, the opposition it has found in some conservative circles of the church and the politicized nature of Italian journalism.

"Italian media, especially television and newspapers, are an integral part of the political system," Faggioli said in a phone interview. "We know there is strong opposition to Pope Francis in some quarters, so what is happening, what has been published, is part of that resistance."
. . . .
The brain tumor report, Faggioli said, "is a symptom that they want us to think that this pope is doing things because he's losing his mind, that he doesn't have too long," he said. "It didn't work, but it tells you something about the environment."

The document leaks, by contrast, appear to only have strengthened Francis' hand by exposing the rot in the Vatican that he is trying to root out and the resistance he is facing by doing so. They also expose the internal power struggles going on as cardinals fight to hold onto turf and influence.
Catholics, Lutherans preparing joint Reformation anniversary event
Vatican Radio     Niv.15, 2015
 
Pope Francis' visit to Rome's Lutheran church on Sunday reflects the "very good" ecumenical relations that have developed as Lutherans and Catholics prepare to commemorate together the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

That's the view of Rev Martin Junge, General Secretary of the World Lutheran Federation which is working together with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on a joint 500th anniversary event to be held in Sweden in October 2016.

The event will build on the substantial progress presented in the 2013 joint document 'From Conflict to Communion' designed as a resource for Catholics and Lutherans marking both 500 years since the Reformation and 50 years since the start of the official dialogue between the two global Christian communities. That publication presents new perspectives on the theology of Martin Luther, explores controversial questions such as indulgences and sets out five ecumenical imperatives for witnessing to the Gospel together.
. . . .
Asked about the divisions and conflict provoked by the Reformation, Rev Junge says Catholics and Lutherans can now celebrate the Gospel together and also affirm the "positive contributions and insights that the Lutheran Reformation brought to the surface in the body of Christ". However he says we cannot be blind to the divisions and the way in which those conflicts became aligned with the political struggles in Europe of that time, causing a lot of suffering to families and communities.
Francis suggests Lutherans might discern taking Catholic communion individually
Joshua J. McElwee     Nov.16, 2015
 
Pope Francis has strikingly suggested that Lutherans married to Catholics can personally discern whether to take Communion in the Catholic church, saying it is not his role to give permission to such persons but to encourage them to listen to what God is telling them about their situations.
. . . .
The pope's words about the issue of communion for Lutherans will likely attract wide attention, as Catholic teaching currently prohibits members of other Christian denominations from taking communion in the church in normal circumstances.
Pope names first Catholic bishop to oversee Anglican ordinariate
 Elise Harris      Nov.24, 2015
 
Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Steven Lopes, a Catholic priest from California, as the new bishop who will head the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States and Canada, making him the first Catholic prelate to hold the position.

Bishop-elect Lopes, 40, is originally from the Archdiocese of San Francisco in the United States, and currently serves as an official for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

He will be taking over for Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop appointed by Benedict XVI in 2012 to shepherd the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
. . . .
A married Anglican priest can be ordained a Catholic priest but not a bishop. Instead, as in the case of Msgr. Steenson, they become an "ordinary," who carries all the authority of a bishop except that of being able to ordain priests.

Msgr. Lopes' appointment, then, marks the first time a Roman Catholic bishop has been named for any of the worlds' three Personal Ordinariates: Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom; the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States and Canada and Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.
Catholic bishops revise voter guide after debate over 'Pope Francis agenda'
David Gibson      Nov.17 2015
 
The nation's Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 17) passed an updated guide for Catholic voters ahead of next year's elections, but only after airing unusually sharp disagreements on how much they can, and should, adjust their priorities to match those of Pope Francis.

More than any other item on the agenda of the bishops' annual meeting here, the debate over the lengthy voter guide, called "Faithful Citizenship," revealed deep divides among the bishops and provided a snapshot of the extent of the "Francis effect" on the U.S. hierarchy.

In the most impassioned objection to the voter guide, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy took the floor to argue that the document - which was a reworking of an 84-page treatise first written in 2007 - should be scrapped because it did not reflect the way that Francis has elevated the battle against poverty and for the environment as central concerns for the Catholic Church since his election in 2013.
. . . .
Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockon, Calif., agreed that "the times have dramatically changed" and said the "cumbersome" new draft needed to be scrapped.
But members of the committee that spent nearly a year-and-a-half reworking the voter guide rejected the pushback.

"We still think it's effective," a clearly irritated Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - chairman of the drafting committee and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops - told Blaire and the other critics.

DiNardo also told the 240 bishops that the committee was only fulfilling the mandate it was given by the USCCB and said the panel had done its best to update the guide with references from Francis - although, he added in a spiky rejoinder to McElroy, "perhaps not to your satisfaction, and to the rhetorical flourishes which you bring."
Another member of the drafting committee, Hartford Archbishop Leonard Blair, also rejected the critiques, and he echoed comments by other conservatives who were disturbed by the idea that Francis has ushered in a "revolution" in Catholicism that their documents needed to reflect.
"There is kind of a rhetoric of regime change that is going on in the church" in the wake of the election of Francis in 2013, said Blair. "I think we have to be very, very wary of that."
 
Daly on reform
Editorial: We need fearless discussion on women's ordination
NCR Editorial Staff      Nov.13, 2015
 
In an interview with The Irish Catholic newspaper, former Irish President Mary McAleese calls Pope Francis "by far the most intriguing pope of my lifetime." She says, "His greatest legacy to the church has been his welcoming of debate after the stultifying and suffocating imposed silence" of his two immediate predecessors.

"I think Francis is allowing the church to breathe and that is a wonderful thing," she says. Many of us agree with that sentiment, as well as with the qualification that follows: On the issue of women, Francis has been unwilling to include or accompany the largest marginalized group in the community.

"My church's long history of misogyny" has more than once driven her to "looking at options," said McAleese, but she's never been able to actually leave. "The Catholic church is woven into me, and I relate to it, and for all its messiness it calls me home."

Many Catholics, women especially, but also men, resonate with McAleese's statement. Despite recognizing the injustice that surrounds them, many can't bring themselves to walk away from their home. The church hierarchy has counted on this reluctance to leave as a final measure of control, but these constraints are weakening, especially among younger Catholics.

The constraints on those who would speak up while remaining at home are also evidently weakening. A group of 12 Irish priests has issued a statement protesting the "strict prohibition" against speaking about the question of women's ordination, rightly noting that the Vatican decree simply has not worked. It is all but inhuman to demand that people not think about or discuss a question that is so compelling for so many.
. . . .
Francis, while praising the "feminine genius" and calling for more roles for women in the structures of the church, has refused repeatedly to consider ordaining women, echoing his predecessors.
That door may be closed, but like the persistent widow in Luke's Gospel, we stand outside knocking and saying, "Render a just decision for me." We would urge Francis to lean heavily on that metaphor and perhaps find both reason and will to push the door open a bit.

He would find considerable support among Scripture scholars, theologians, quite a few bishops and probably even a cardinal or two should he allow the discussion to take place.
. . . .
We must be persistent in reminding Francis, who advocates bold discussions and fearlessness in pursuing the truth, of his own words. Most recently in Florence, Italy, he warned against seeking solutions in "obsolete conduct and forms that no longer have the capacity of being significant culturally."

He and other church leaders must be convinced of two things:

First, we need bold, fearless discussion on the question of women's ordination. Simple declarations that "the door is closed" cannot be the answer.

Second, Francis and other church leaders must see that a ban on full participation by women in the church is obsolete and is no longer culturally significant.
 
Francis cartoon

URL (click for larger image)

Ex-pastor Pohl pleads not guilty on child porn
Matthew Glowicki      Nov.24, 2015
 
A former Louisville Roman Catholic pastor accused of violating federal child exploitation laws pleaded not guilty in federal court Tuesday.

Stephen Pohl, 57, is accused of viewing child pornography using computers where he lived and worked at the St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church office and rectory between January and August of this year.

Days after he resigned in August, Pohl was arrested in Florida and charged with the child porn charge via a criminal complaint brought by a Louisville Metro Police detective.
. . . .
Prosecutors allege warranted searches of the church office and rectory, 7813 Shelbyville Road, revealed Pohl viewed multiple pornographic online images of nude boys ranging in age from infancy to mid-teens, according to a criminal complaint.

None of those images were of students from St. Margaret Mary, prosecutors have said, though investigators noted they found more than 150 photos Pohl snapped of clothed students, some of which constituted child erotica, according to the complaint. However, no criminal charges have arisen from that allegation.
René Noël Girard RIP
Michael Kirwan SJ      Nov.6, 2015
René Noël Théophile Girard was born in Avignon on Christmas Day, 1923. He died in California on 4 November 2015.

He leaves behind Martha, his wife of 64 years, three children, and nine grandchildren. As one of the most important Catholic thinkers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, he has left a precious intellectual legacy as 'the new Darwin of the human sciences', whose books offer a bold, sweeping vision of human nature, human history and human destiny.
Read more
Crackling true-life drama, "Spotlight," catches investigative journalism at its best
Lindsey Bahr      Nov.20, 2015
 
Mark Ruffalo never walks in "Spotlight." His very slowest is just shy of a flat out jog. It's a minor detail, but it's crucial to appreciating why this studied, smart look at Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the abuses of the Catholic Church is also utterly exhilarating.
. . . .
Of course, unlike an ongoing investigation, we know the outcome here already. The trick of "Spotlight" is making the potentially unsexy "how they got there" into not only one of the best movies of the year, but one of the best journalism movies of all time.
Spotlight refers to the paper's four person investigative team responsible for exposing the systematic cover-up of the pedophilia of more than 70 local priests - editor Walter "Robby" Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), and researcher Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James).

Director Tom McCarthy's movie presents a realistic, but still absorbing portrait of a close knit town and the well-meaning folks at the local paper who for years remained unwittingly complicit in the rampant abuse of power in the Church. "Spotlight" pulls off the tricky feat of detailing the tick-tock of it all, while also giving due respect to the victims, the enablers and the believers.

It takes the arrival of a true outsider to challenge everyone to look a little harder at what's happening. In this case, it's the Globe's new editor in chief Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber). One character who questions his arrival notes he's an unmarried Jew who hates baseball. But most damning of all - he's not a local.

Early on, the publisher warns him that over 50 percent of their subscriber base is Catholic. Baron retorts that he thinks they'll find it interesting, and he proceeds.
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