What Hollywood Can Teach the Catholic Church About Confronting Longtime Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis has called an unprecedented “summit” of bishops to the Vatican to discuss for the umpteenth time the problem of sexual abuse by priests — this one is focused on the abuse of children. The summit starts Feb. 21 and ends on the night of the Academy Awards, Feb. 24.

I cannot help but see the significance between the revelations about abuse and power in the Roman Catholic Church mirroring the revelations of abuse and power in our community out here in Hollywood. Clergy sex-abuse survivors have been coming together and speaking out since 1988 through SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In 2002, the group helped the Boston Globe investigative team expose the Boston diocese’s practice of covering up for predators and moving them to new, unsuspecting parishes. Hollywood immortalized that moment in the 2016 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”

In Hollywood, the silence breakers of 2017 had their own “Spotlight” moment. They gave a new and different focus to the issue covering up and ignoring sexual abuse in our society, and the #MeToo movement gained serious momentum.

Whether simply a coincidence or the result of the burgeoning #MeToo movement, this past year a Pennsylvania grand jury exposed more than 300 “predator priests” in just six dioceses in that state and found more than a 1,000 victims. Since the report was released, more survivors have come forward and more clergy have been ex...

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