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Gibney's misrepresentations and speculations betray either an ignorance of how the Church works and what it actually teaches or a willful intent to vilify. Deplorable sins of commission and omission were committed, that cannot be denied; innocent lives were desecrated; trust was inexcusably betrayed; faith was shattered. But while shedding light on these shameful acts is one thing, there's something exploitative, or at least disingenuous, about appropriating tragedy for polemical purposes.

There is another line in the Confiteor which asks pardon for "what I have done and what I have failed to do." In his zeal to connect the dots, Gibney fails to offer any sense of proportionality in assigning blame. Ironically, a film that sets out detailing how a call for justice fell on deaf ears, is itself deafeningly silent on certain inconvenient truths. But I don't expect Gibney to offer his own mea culpa.

Talk About It

1. Do you think the filmmaker treated the subject matter fairly, honestly and with objectivity?

2. What do you think Christian justice demands in the case of crimes involving children?

3. What role does forgiveness play?

4. Have you ever been hurt by someone in authority that you trusted? How did you respond?

The Family Corner

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God is rated TV14 for adult content and adult language, including some explicit descriptions of sexual abuse of minors. It also includes several reenactments of the crimes, though nothing explicit. The victims' stories are disturbing, and the entire film deals with mature subject matter.

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Mea Maxima Culpa