Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Movie Review

There's a reason this expertly shot and edited documentary is skimming under the radar: no one wants you to see it. The hugely skilled Gibney is taking on the world's biggest corporation, the Vatican, with a lucid, personal exploration of child abuse in the Catholic church. And while a first-person approach draws us in, it's the wide-ranging evidence against the top echelons of the church that takes us aback. This film is exposing one of the biggest ever conspiracies without ever shouting about it.

The main focus here is four men (Kohut, Smith, Kuehn and Budzinski) who were abused by a priest while they were students at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee. One of them blew the whistle in a 1972 letter, but the priest was never brought to justice for his crimes. It seemed like the local diocese was covering up his actions, but an investigation showed that the orders to stay silent came right from the Holy See in Rome. And as years passed, similar stories emerged from Boston, Ireland and Italy itself. In each case, the Vatican ordered the churches not to report the abuse to the police. 

Yes, this conspiracy goes all the way to the top, although Pope Benedict has tried to remain outside the fray even though his previous job was to investigate these cases.  And in looking at this careful outline of the events, it's clear that the real problem stems from the Catholic church's insistence that priests should never answer to earthly powers, which is why parents are so reluctant to believe their children's accusations against a holy man. In other words, the church is more concerned for the office of the priesthood than the victims of abuse.

But Gibney goes even further than this, digging up a scandal that's darkly sinister. He explores the shaky nature of the Vatican itself, which is treated as a nation state even though it has no characteristics of an actual country (such as a government with checks and balances). Throughout the film, Gibney continually tries to return to those four men and their specific story, but the scandal is so much bigger that the film itself seems to expand a bit uncontrollably. So the exposure of systematic criminal activity, as vitally important as it is, feels almost like a distraction from the emotional resonance of the Milwaukee story. But as a global call to justice, this film is essential viewing.

Rich Cline

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , Alexandra Johnes, Kristen Vaurio, , Todd Wider

Starring : Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn, Arthur Budzinski, Bob Bolger, , , ,


Comments

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 15, 2012

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Trailer Is Here: Was It Worth The Wait?

The moment Fifty Shades of Grey fans have been waiting for is finally...

The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Trailer Is Here: Was It Worth The Wait?

Alec Baldwin (Mostly) Off The Hook On Disorderly Conduct Charges

Alec Baldwin was in court on Tuesday, facing charges of disorderly...

Alec Baldwin (Mostly) Off The Hook On Disorderly Conduct Charges

Pitbull feat. John Ryan - Fireball

Pitbull drops his eighth studio album 'Globalization' later this year and...

Pitbull - Fireball Video

The British Film Institute: 'There Are Too Many Films'

The BFI have condemned the amount of films released in British cinemas...

The British Film Institute: 'There Are Too Many Films'

What The Critics Are Saying About Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'

Early reviews of Scarlett Johansson’s new movie Lucy are piling up...

What The Critics Are Saying About Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'

Dwayne Johnson Battles His Way Through Non-Stop Absurdity In "Hercules"

It’s Hercules time! So we know that Dwayne Johnson made a lot...

Dwayne Johnson Battles His Way Through Non-Stop Absurdity In
Advertisement

Arty Ft. Angel Taylor - Up All Night [Lyric] Video

Russian musician Arty has collaborated with Angel Taylor on his latest single 'Up All Night', released on...

Arty - Up All Night (Lyric Video) Video

Those Colin Farrell for 'Iron Man 4' Rumors Refuse To Die

Rumors are abound that seminal Iron Man actor, Robert Downey Jr, will not be...

Those Colin Farrell for 'Iron Man 4' Rumors Refuse To Die

Marvel Announces Release Date for Unknown Movie - What Could It Be?

Last week Marvel studios took the unusual step of announcing five upcoming...

Marvel Announces Release Date for Unknown Movie - What Could It Be?


More recommendations

Advertisement