The Boston Globe has been known for being a leader in investigative journalism throughout modern news reporting. The Globe’s “Spotlight” team has existed since the 70’s and has a reputation for breaking open some of the most important stories in reporting history. When this Boston Globe team decided to look into some of the dealings of one of the most influential institutions in Boston, the Catholic Church, it caused quite a stir. The story of Spotlight travels through the investigation as the team searches for the truth behind allegations and the potential cover-up of child sexual abuse within this religious organisation.

The team takes a comprehensive look that spans from the initial enquiry to the the modern day situation and the challenges that extended beyond the borders of Bean town. The tight-knit reporting team is shown experiencing backlash because of the influence that the Catholic church has on the religious, legal and government establishments in Boston.

The team’s work was the spark that ignited the world-wide investigations of the the Catholic church and other organisations on these abuses against children.

Discussion Starters

  • What does Spotlight have to say about the power of truth, and the power of listening to people who have been silenced? Which groups of people might be vulnerable to being silenced in our own society? How could we make sure that their voices are heard?
  • What do you think it meant by the term ‘spiritual abuse’, and why is this an important part of the survivors’ stories? (You might want to read more about the characteristics of spiritual abuse.)
  • How are the Spotlight journalists each impacted personally by the investigation? In particular, how did you feel about seeing Robbie confronted with his own complicity? What different reactions might people have to discovering that they are ‘part of the problem’?
  • In your view, is it still possible to have faith in God in a world where religious institutions have been responsible for many atrocities? What are we left with when we’re failed by people we have trusted as examples of goodness or morality?  Is there anything, or anyone, you feel able to have complete faith in?

Further reading