Popcorn and Inspiration: ‘Spotlight’: Was Communism Responsible for Destroying Catholic Faith?

Healing in the Catholic Church
November 29, 2020 Updated: November 29, 2020

R | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 20 November 2015 (USA)

I’m pretty sure it was Tom Wolfe (author of “The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test”) who said something like: “The collective subconscious of America is like an old church lady.”

We in America like to tut-tut things such as Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” publicly, but then watch tons of Internet porn on the sly (actually not so much on the sly anymore). A sanctimoniousness attitude, and denial of one’s own wrong-doing—often go hand-in-hand. It’s a dangerous combination. Which is why Dana Carvey (as the Church Lady) was such a big hit on “Saturday Night Live.”

She once lambasted popstar Madonna’s over-the-top sexuality, claiming Madonna “Doesn’t quite … live up to … her namesake.” Which is of course true. But the running gag of the Church Lady was her denial of her own repressed sexuality, which leaked out in her obvious delight in salacious subject matter, fueling her false piety.

America enjoyed tsk-tsk-ing Bill Clinton’s foibles; publicly and loudly (and righfully) shaming him, but delighted perhaps a bit too much in slicing and dicing the salacious details. Carvey’s Church Lady was a lightning rod for this American tendency that stems from our puritanical past.

2015’s Best Movie

Speaking of Madonna, “Spotlight,” the best movie of 2015, is about how the Catholic Church, in covering up its pedophile-priest problem, not only didn’t live up to its object of veneration—the Madonna—but blasphemed the Madonna mightily every time a frocked pederast prescribed “Hail Marys” to sinners.

This line from the movie says it all: “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to molest one, too.” Subconscious-church-lady syndrome: sanctimoniousness and denial. Very dangerous.

woman and two men at desk in "Spotlight"
(L–R) Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in “Spotlight.” (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films)

What ‘Spotlight’ Spotlights

“Spotlight” is an indictment not only of pedophile-priests but also the wagon-circling psychology of religious institutions such as the Catholic Church that harbor secretive wrong-doing (such as Mormon pedophile-bar-none, Franklin Curtis).

In the same way Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler laments at the end of “Schindler’s List” that he didn’t save more Jews from Nazi death camps, one leaves “Spotlight” wishing someone had spotted, defined, and addressed the problem earlier. As is usually the case, people suspect these things go on. This is the story of the crack team of world-class journalists who took it on. “Spotlight” is riveting from beginning to end.

How It All Began

In 2001, editor Marty Baron (Liev Schrieber) moves to the Boston Globe newspaper from the Miami Herald. He’s brought in because broadsheet newspapers are having a difficult time competing with the Internet.

The Globe has a small, elite investigative department known as “Spotlight.” Headed up by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), it’s made up of four reporters who spend lengthy amounts of time (months) investigating a single story. Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) are the workhorses.

While on a story involving the police department, they suddenly catch wind of a different story about a local priest abusing multiple children. They start looking into it. Soon, many victims, and a high-level hush-hush conspiracy are revealed. They end up having to actually sue the Catholic Church to obtain the court documentation.

Due to the unprecedented immensity, shock-value, and drama of this particular story, boss Robby rolls up his sleeves, dusts off his investigative pick-axe, and joins in the unearthing of facts, along side his underlings.

Newspaper reporters in newsroom in "Spotlight"
(L–R) Michael Keaton as Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson, Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfieffer, John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in “Spotlight.” (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films)

As we now know, that one instance became a nine-headed Hydra that sprouted thousands of heads worldwide, and had been allowed to fester unseen by officials going up very high in the Boston Diocese, as well as the vulture, jackal, and hyena lawyers who benefited from all the hush-ups and denial.

Engrossing Minutiae

woman reporter asks questions in "Spotlight"
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight.” (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films)

“Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy demonstrates that the story is all about how you tell it. Because legal document scanning, periodical perusing, legalese-spewing, along with reporter meetings, reporters sitting in stuffy offices waiting for interviews, and so on, are all otherwise guaranteed yawn-fests. “Spotlight” contains nary a boring second.

Using the tools of well-explained details, and the clarifying broad strokes of capturing the proverbial thousand words with pictures, McCarthy displays the impact of all this heinous priestly wrongdoing on innocent children in stunning fashion. Needle-tracks on a grown victim’s arm bespeak metric tons of depression; utterances of the word “suicide” carry new meaning.

woman and man crying in "Spotlight"
Rachel McAdams (L) and Michael Cyril Creighton, in “Spotlight.” (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films)

Perhaps most powerful of all is the lapsed-Catholic journalist’s monologue (by Mark Ruffalo). Backed by cozy shots of a children’s choir singing “Silent Night,” he speaks bitterly of how he’d hoped one day to go back and recover the lost innocence of his child self that had loved going to church. His dream was forever dashed by Spotlight’s discoveries. 

Why Best Film?

“Spotlight” was the best-told story, hands down, of 2015, except for “Creed” and “The Revenant.” But more than that, it does what art should do and attempts a healing and an uplifting through the systematic dismantling of this particular wall of secrecy. We’re only as sick as our secrets, it is said.

An ascetic path containing conditions such as the Catholic priestly vow of celibacy is as fraught with danger to the soul as soloing a 20,000 foot Himalayan mountain is dangerous to the body. Such celibacy is absolutely no joke, and is not for lightweights, dilettantes, and fakers. It requires a do-or-die warrior mind-set. Anything less is religious quackery at best. Per “Spotlight’s” revelation, demonic usurpers in the house of God are exposed like scurrying roaches in a tenement slum.

The sheer magnitude and extent of the corruption begs the question: how can all that be coincidental? Academic and writer Chuck Morse says the following:

“Two former Communists, Bella Dodd and Manning Johnson, spoke on Communist infiltration of the Catholic Church … stating that the Communist infiltration was so extensive that in the future “you will not recognize the Catholic Church.”

Dodd also asserted that: “In the 1930s, we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within… Right now they are in the highest places, and they are working to bring about change in order that the Catholic Church will no longer be effective against Communism.”

That is what we know for sure. Now, the following is just my conjecture—but what are the odds that those weren’t known pedophiles, who were chosen for infiltration? Doesn’t this set up a perfect syllogism?

A) Eleven hundred men were put into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.

B) The destruction worked like gangbusters, and the reason was that it was rampant pedophilia, molestation, and rape that destroyed faith in the Catholic church, from within.

C) Therefore, the 1,100 men had to have been chosen because they were pedophiles.

two men, one woman look at newspaper article in "Spotlight"
(L–R) Michael Keaton as Walter “Robby” Robinson, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfieffer, and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in “Spotlight.” (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films)

Director Tom McCarthy, at the time he directed “Spotlight,” probably could not have foreseen the 2020 mainstream news domination by pedophile figures like Jeffrey Epstein and Keith Rainere. Or that the pedophile “community” would be making a serious bid to have their own flag; a vile, pastel-colored version of the LGBTQ rainbow flag. Why pastel, you ask? Those are kindergarten colors. Isn’t that lovely? Isn’t that nice? One Love! Yeah right.

The first gift of this film is how it understands that things of a spiritual nature are of utmost importance to humans.

The second gift is that it’s also a harbinger: In the same way our minds were blown when the Catholic priest scandal was exposed in 2002—which we now know was most likely the Communist agenda—stand by (and again, this is just conjecture) to witness a similar mind-blown state when the extent of election fraud perpetrated in 2020 becomes clear. America may very well discover it was also Communist infiltration behind the curtain, pulling the levers.

As Karl Marx once said: “I shall howl gigantic curses on mankind…”

Director: Tom McCarthy
Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James, John Slattery
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2015
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Follow Mark on Twitter: @FilmCriticEpoch