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Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:25 PM

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

February 4, 2013

Alex Gibney on his documentary investigating the Roman Catholic Churchís handling of child sex-abuse cases

By Scott Horton

Documentary producer Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for his 2007 film Taxi to the Dark Side, will premiere an explosive new film on Monday, February 4, at 9 p.m. on HBO. Titled Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, it studies the child-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and the Vaticanís institutional failure to address it. I put six questions to Gibney about his new film:

1. Your film centers on the tale of a group of young men who silently endured abuse while they were students at a church school for the deaf in Wisconsin. Later in life, they decided to challenge the authority of a church that sheltered their tormenter. What led you to their story?

I read and was moved by Laurie Goodsteinís account in the New York Times. I was drawn to do a movie about it for three reasons. First, the story itself ó about a Milwaukee priest named Lawrence Murphy who abused 200 deaf children ó was particularly appalling. It also happened to be the patient-zero case of modern clerical sexual abuse: so far as we have been able to determine, the leafletting of the Milwaukee Cathedral by three young deaf men in 1974 is the first public protest over clerical sex abuse in the United States.

Second, many stories had been done about particular cases of abuse, but this story is one in which the cover-up within the Vatican can be documented. The Vaticanís policies on abuse are at the core of my film, and this story makes that clear. For years, the Vatican maintained that, when it came to clerical sex abuse, the bishops were on their own to adjudicate the cases. The correspondence in the Milwaukee story puts the lie to that. When Archbishop Rembert Weakland moved to start a canonical trial, he had to appeal to Rome. Then, in the midst of the process, the Vatican decided to abate the trial out of concern for Father Murphy. So it was the Vatican, rather than the bishops, making the key decisions.

in full: http://harpers.org/blog/2013/02/mea-maxima-culpa-silence-in-the-house-of-god/

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Reply Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (Original post)
Jefferson23 Feb 2013 OP
southernyankeebelle Feb 2013 #1
Jefferson23 Feb 2013 #2

Response to Jefferson23 (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:29 PM

1. I watched it just yesterday on HBO. It was really good. You know that Pope


knows where all the little bastards are and I bet they are still in the priesthood.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:33 PM

2. I agree on both counts..yes. Lots of bastards in the Vatican. n/t

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