The 88th Academy Awards reached all the way to the Vatican Sunday night as the cast of the film "Spotlight" publicly called on Pope Francis to ensure priests who sexually abused children are prosecuted for their crimes.
The film, which unexpectedly won the best picture award, is about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into Catholic priests sexually abusing children in the United States.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, a top official in the Roman Catholic Church, admitted in a sex abuse inquiry in Rome Monday that some allegations of abuse against children were dismissed in an "absolutely scandalous" manner by clergy.
Pell, who is the Vatican's finance chief, admitted that there was a strong tendency during the 1970s to dismiss allegations of abuse against children, as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse looked at cases stretching back decades.
Pell, the former archbishop of Sydney, said in his testimony that many allegations "certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances." more >>
"Spotlight," the movie about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of Catholic priest sex abuse of children, won Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday night, with producer Michael Sugar calling on Pope Francis to focus the Vatican's efforts on protecting children.
"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," Sugar said onstage, alongside cast and crew of the movie. "Pope Francis, it is time to protect the children and restore the faith."
The drama showcases the widespread pattern of abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston, which shook the Catholic Church in America and led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December 2003. more >>
The Vatican minister of foreign affairs has said Vatican envoys in Iraq and Syria are risking their lives amid bombings and terror threats to help people and find a way to end what Pope Francis has called a "piecemeal" World War III.
"Let's not be kidding ourselves about what the stakes are here: If we are going to bring peace, if we are going to reconcile nations, if we are going to secure countries and communities, particularly minorities, particularly people who are persecuted, we are going to have to make an unprecedented effort," Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher told Catholic News Service last week.
Gallagher noted that IS, which has captured vast territory in Iraq and Syria, has persecuted Christians and other minorities, driving out tens of thousands of believers from their homelands. Still, the Archbishop remained hopeful that negotiations will help resolve the conflicts in the region. more >>
The seven-months pregnant secretary of Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis was reportedly found dead at her apartment in Rome, with the Vatican calling on police to investigate the matter.
"Pope Francis had been informed of the death. We are all pained by this news," said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.
The Mirror noted that 34-year-old Miriam Wuolou, who is of Eritrean origin, had worked for years at the Santa Marta guesthouse, where the pontiff lives. Francis had opted to live at the more humble guesthouse instead of the lavish papal apartments when he was chosen as Pope back in 2013. more >>
Catholic League President Bill Donohue is calling on Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas to apologize this week for suggesting the Catholic Church doesn't come from God, but from a cult-like pagan religion inspired by Satan.
Donohue made the comments during a radio interview on "The Alan Colmes Show" earlier this week, when he was invited to speak about the controversy surrounding the Pope Francis–Donald Trump debate over the U.S. Mexico border and illegal immigration.
Donohue also spoke out against conservative commentator Ann Coulter, a Trump supporter whom he called a "mean-spirited, rampant anti-Catholic bigot." But then took aim at Jeffress, who in the past has suggested that the Catholic Church is a "genius of Satan." more >>