Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Alex Gibney (2012)

15 Certificate


Our Score
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.


Documentary about a campaign to bring Milwaukee-based Catholic priest Fr Lawrence Murphy to justice for molesting more than 200 deaf children in his school. The film reveals how the case brought to light secret documents within the Vatican relating to child abuse, and examines similar cases in Ireland and Italy. Featuring accounts of four of Lawrence's victims who led the fight to expose the truth, with voiceovers by actors.

Cast & 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
Director Alex Gibney
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Other Information

Language: English, Italian +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Element PicturesGuidance: References to child sexual abuse. Released on: 15 Feb 2013