Arts & Entertainment

MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD

In this powerful film, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (Enron), details the astonishing cover-up of the widespread and systematic abuse of children by Catholic priests.

Beginning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Reverend Lawrence Murphy, the charismatic head of a boarding school for deaf children, is estimated to have abused up to 200 of his students over 20 years. Four of his victims, now adults, want their stories heard.

Gibney goes on to trace the wider conspiracy all the way to the Vatican, where the former pontiff was on permanent damage control.

The film seeks to answer some crucial questions, such as why are priests held above the law? Why is the abuse viewed by the Church as a sin and not a crime?

An evocative component is how Gibney films and narrates sign language in his interviews with deaf abuse victims. Amateur footage capturing an aged Murphy being confronted by one of his former victims really strikes at the heart.

A potent and edifying story, and one that needs to be told at a time when over a billion Roman Catholics worldwide herald a new Pope.

Essential viewing for people of all faiths. (RF)

****1/2

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