Pope's commission on sex abuse sits down to watch Spotlight

Actors Billy Crudup, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Michael Keaton, Brian d'Arcy James and Mark Ruffalo (L to R) pose backstage with their award for Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture for the film Spotlight at the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California.Reuters

Members of the Pope's commission on child sex abuse began their latest meeting by sitting down to watch Spotlight, the story of the journalists at the Boston Globe who investigated and exposed Catholic child abuse.

The film, nominated for six Academy Awards, relates how the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Boston Globe pursued relentlessly the stories of abuse and cover-ups.

Peter Saunders, who was abused by a Catholic priest as a child and who is a member of the commission, which meets twice a year, told the Guardian that all 17 of them sat and watched it together in Rome on the suggestion of another member. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who heads the commission, had already seen it but watched it again.

"We got in touch with Phil Saviano – one of the characters in the film – and he got in touch with the producers in LA," said Saunders, who described the film as "extremely worrying".

He said the film should be seen by Pope Francis, who is encountering criticism from some survivors who want him to do more to hold bishops and cardinals to account for their failure to protect children.

 The Catholic news website Crux reported on concern at the recent resignations of two bishops who had been criticised for their handling of abuse cases. The reasons for their resignations have not been made public. 

The Vatican has not commented officially on the film but it has been praised by Vatican Radio as "honest" and "compelling".