Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2013)

Let’s put this straight out there: Alex Gibney’s documentary about the abuse of power in the Catholic Church is a powerful and sobering affair.

The film focuses on the first known case of clerical abuse made public by four deaf men, who were systematically abused during their formative years during the 60s. However, as it begins to spiral outwards, the realization of how far this goes is jaw dropping as we travel from America to Ireland, to Italy and even give a nod to Africa.

Emotions run high as the men talk openly about what happened to them and those they knew. A tale about how, during camping trips, they would choose who would have to share a bed with an abusive priest is chilling, if simply because of the frankness to which they admit to deliberately choosing the same boy day after day.

Whilst the subject matter is horrific, Gibney ensures the film does not become an exercise in rubber necking. Like We Steal Secrets, his later documentary about perma-blond Julian Assange, Gibney lays out the facts as they stand. It is obvious that this documentary will offend the religious and non-religious alike. There will be people who will be angry at the accusations. However, it is an important and brutally honest film that must be seen.

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