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MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD

Director: ALEX GIBNEY

106 minutes, U.S.A., 2012, Colour, D-Cinema


Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) begins his film with the case of Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy, who for decades abused students in the school for the deaf in which he worked, and builds to an indictment of the global culture of secrecy and concealment within the Catholic Church, all seemingly sanctioned by those most powerful within the Vatican.

The initial focus is on interviews with four of Murphy’s victims, who initiated what may have been the first attempt in the U.S. to publicly expose clerical abuse, claims met with disbelief and ignored by local law enforcement. From here, Gibney interviews those involved in comparable cases for their insights into how similar investigations were handled; one such interviewee even worked as a ‘fixer’, buying victims’ confidentiality. The recent wave of international scandals is addressed, including those of Ireland. It is at times a harrowing film, but one of undeniable power, importance, and, tragically, resonance for an Irish audience. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

 

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