Monday, 24 April 2017
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
(still from the film)
The 5th documentary film I’ve watched this year about paedophilia/ child sexual abuse, and the 2nd one about child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God details the 1st known protest against clerical sex abuse in the US, by 4 deaf men, exposing Lawrence Murphy, the priest that abused them in the 1960s at St. John School for the Deaf. Similar to Deliver Us from Evil, the film starts from the cases of 1 priest and expands to the whole Catholic sex abuse cases in the US and around the world, and “the policy” in the Catholic Church and in the Vatican to keep it quiet. What they usually do when there are accusations against a priest is that they cover it up, then transfer the priest to another church or monastery, where he continues to have priesthood and to have access to children, without either the new church/ monastery or the local authorities knowing. That means that Oliver O’Grady (in Deliver Us from Evil) and Lawrence Murphy (in Mea Maxima Culpa) and lots of other priests can continue molesting and raping children over decades, and never get punished.
The film is chilling and haunting, because Murphy abused deaf kids, yes, deaf kids, and picked the vulnerable ones whose parents didn’t know sign language and who couldn’t tell anyone. The Church chose the priest over the disabled, vulnerable and helpless children. Not only so, it’s Murphy’s self-defence that is truly infuriating. In Deliver Us from Evil, Oliver O’Grady talks about his paedophilia and the molestations. Mea Maxima Culpa can’t feature Murphy, who was dead, but includes a few lines he wrote to defend himself and justify his own actions—it’s cruel, hypocritical, shameless and infuriating.
And yet this is an inspiring and powerful film. It’s 4 deaf men that broke the silence.