I have just finished watching a wonderfully done yet singularly disturbing piece: the HBO documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. In it, writer/director Alex Gibney exposes the depravity of the catholic church regarding sexual child abuse by priests, particularly but not exclusively in its defense of one Father Lawrence Murphy, who had a two-decade history of such abuse at the St. John’s School for Deaf Children near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
There is no way I can convey in a few words the level of horror represented by what Fr. Murphy and literally thousands of other priests are documented to have committed against children, as reported by this film. Watching it has made me unspeakably angry, though I doubt anywhere near so much as those who attempted to gain a response from the hierarchy of the RC church to their abuse, to the failure of both church and civil authorities to respond initially to that abuse, and to the incomprehensible fact that this is a problem not years or decades old, but, indeed, centuries. Worse, this is a problem which is well-known to the current vicar of Christ, Joseph Ratzinger, himself, as he personally directed during his tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that all cases of priest child abuse were to be vectored through his office. He MUST know what has been going on as regards this perfidy and know it in detail … yet he fails to be in any way forthcoming with that knowledge.
As upsetting and dislocating as this documentary is, I must recommend it, strongly and fervently. If you have access to HBO, watch it. If not, find someone who can record it for you and see it that way. And get angry, get very, very goddamned angry … because this business demands anger.
And it demands action.