Life & Faith: Spotlight – 15 Years On

Why shining a light on injustice, wherever it may occur, leads to stronger communities.

In 2002, the Boston Globe’s investigative reporting team, Spotlight, published a series of reports exposing clergy child sexual abuse, and a cover up by the Catholic Church. As the horrific and heartbreaking instances of abuse and betrayal came to light, more stories of clergy sexual abuse and the Catholic Church’s effort to hide it began to unravel across the US, and all around the world.

“I don’t think any of us understood that this was a global phenomenon,” says Mike Rezendes, one of the Spotlight journalists who reported on the original cover up of clergy child sexual abuse in Boston. “None of us could’ve foreseen it, none of us did foresee it.”

Fifteen years on, a film about the original Spotlight investigation has, importantly, brought this issue to the fore once again.

“There’s no doubt that the Spotlight movie has inspired another wave of victims and survivors to come forward,” Mike says. “I think a lot more needs to be done, and I think the movie is letting people know that more work needs to take place.”

In this episode of Life & Faith, Mike Rezendes talks about his work on the Boston Globe investigation into the cover up of clergy sexual abuse, and the aftermath. He’s still a part of the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe, and continues to have a strong sense of social justice – which has a surprising origin.

Plus, we have a bonus interview with Professor James O’Toole from Boston College. He explains the complex relationship between the prominent and powerful Boston archdiocese and the people of the city, and why some local parishes grew stronger after the scandal broke.

“I think what was going on in people’s minds there was they had completely lost confidence in Cardinal Law, they’d lost confidence in the hierarchy and the leadership of the institution, but they were committed to their local parish church,” Professor O’Toole says. “In a sense they were saying, even after everything that’s gone wrong, they’re not going to take my church away from me.

SUBSCRIBE to ‘Life & Faith’:

READ MORE from the Spotlight investigation: