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Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012)

TV-14 | | Documentary | 16 November 2012 (USA)
Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican.

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Won 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Terry Kohut ...
Himself - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1960-1969
Gary Smith ...
Himself - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1954-1970
Pat Kuehn ...
Himself - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1969-1973
Arthur Budzinski ...
Himself - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1953-1964
Lawrence Murphy ...
Himself - priest, St. John's School for the Deaf, 1950-1974 (archive footage)
Richard Sipe ...
Himself - Former Benedictine Monk / Mental Health Counselor
Scott Kuehn ...
Himself (archive footage)
Angela Kuehn ...
Herself (archive footage)
Patrick Wall ...
Himself - Former Benedictine Monk (as Patrick J. Wall)
Bob Bolger ...
Himself - St. John's School for the Deaf (archive footage)
John Conway ...
Himself - Counselor for the Deaf
Jim Heydendahl ...
Himself - Senior Boys' Dorm Supervisor, 1972-1974
Geoffrey Robertson ...
Himself - Human Rights Lawyer (as Geoffrey Robertson QC)
Jeff Anderson ...
Himself - Attorney for Gary Smith & Terry Kohut
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Storyline

Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

16 November 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den största synden  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

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Did You Know?

Goofs

The narration states "In 1929, a cardinal, soon to be Pope Pius XI, signed the Lateran Treaty with the Fascist government of Mussolini to create the Vatican State." Actually, in 1929, Pius XI was already pope, having been elected in 1922. See more »

Connections

Featured in 2013 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
You may just find yourself yelling at your TV as you watch this one!!
6 November 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

One of the reasons I watched this documentary is that I have a deaf daughter who herself attended a Catholic deaf school for a few years. The other is that I am an ex-therapist who used to work with sexual abuse victims and perpetrators (the latter, I came to realize are beyond the scope of therapy--hence my biggest reason for retiring from the field). Sadly, however, I cannot show this documentary to my daughter, as the folks didn't bother captioning the film--only what's being signed by the deaf folks being interviewed! This is ridiculous--how can they make a video that many of the victims cannot even watch and understand?! Crazy--and I can't think of a worse film to do without captions. Despite this HUGE problem, I still recommend the film to everyone--and perhaps deaf people could hopefully have an interpreter translate the film, though this is very unlikely. For this reason, the film loses a point.

"Mea Maxima Culpa" is a film that begins with a deaf school. During the tenure of a piece of human garbage (otherwise known as 'Father Murphy') at the school, he repeatedly sexually abused the kids. Not only did he victimize the most vulnerable population, within this group he targeted the most vulnerable--those deaf kids whose parents did not use sign language and/or had strained relationships. The saddest part of the film is NOT that the kids were abused by Murphy but the abuse by the Church--which repeatedly did everything it could to prevent Murphy and other pedophiles from being punished in any way. And, surprisingly, in this and so many other cases, the victims were threatened with excommunication if they came public*!! It's enough to make you want to toss something at your television and I found myself yelling at the film several times! In addition to the Murphy case, the film discusses a few other international cases (such as in Ireland, Italy and Latin America). And, it spends much of the time discussing the actions by John Paul and Benedict that impeded investigations and kept pedophiles in close contact with children.

Overall, this is a very well done documentary (aside from the captioning) and very, very compelling. It's hard to imagine anyone watching this without becoming energized--and that's a good sign of a documentary.

*In one case, the Church had a deaf adult sign a statement saying HE was sinful and was repenting for damaging the Catholic Church by 'lying' about the molestations. Many deaf adults are illiterate or nearly illiterate, so the notion that he had no idea what he was singing was very likely based on my experiences in the deaf community--plus they had no interpreter there during the meeting where he was asked to sign! Doing such a thing is further reason I found myself yelling out loud during the film. For shame!!


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