Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

  • 15
  • Alex Gibney (2012)
  • US (SUB)
  • 106 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Only the victims emerge with any credit in Alex Gibney's harrowing exposé of child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, which reveals the extent the Vatican has been actively involved in covering up crimes committed by priests. The central case is built around the activities of Father Lawrence Murphy, who assaulted boys at St John's School for the Deaf in Wisconsin for a quarter of a century before four ex-students decided to take a stand in the 1970s. However, Gibney (an Oscar winner for his 2007 documentary Taxi to the Dark Side) is also keen to denounce the failure of popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to admit to the prevalence of the problem and punish known offenders. The evidence he presents is persuasive and is backed up by plenty of compelling first-hand testimony, but the melodramatic methods employed to reconstruct Murphy's predatory nocturnal prowling are badly misjudged and distract from the appalling revelations.

Plot Summary

Documentary by Alex Gibney that tackles the conspiracy of silence, apparently presided over by the Vatican, in regard to numerous allegations of sexual abuse made against Catholic priests.

Cast and crew


Terry Kohut
Terry Kohut
Arthur Budzinski
Arthur Budzinski
Gary Smith
Gary Smith
Pat Kuehn
Pat Kuehn
Terry Kohut
Jamey Sheridan
Arthur Budzinski
John Slattery
Gary Smith
Chris Cooper
Pat Kuehn
Ethan Hawke


Alex Gibney

Other Information

English, Italian +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
Element Pictures
References to child sexual abuse.
Released 15 Feb 2013