Breaking the Silence

by John McKiggan

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

For those of you that have not seen the “Explosive” Documentary About Sexual Abuse at a School for the Deaf CBC is now showing the documentary Mea Maxima Culpa online.

Given the widespread media attention given to priest sexual abuse scandals around the globe I am concerned that the public is becoming desensitized to the issue.

That’s why I think it’s important that everyone watch this documentary to understand the lengths to which the catholic church has gone to protect sexually deviant priests and to protect the reputation of the church.

200 Abused Children Over 20 years

The film focuses in particular on the Lawrence Murphy case. It is believed that Murphy molested approximately 200 deaf boys between 1950 and 1974. Even after many of the victims reported the abuse, the Vatican did not even defrock Murphy. It was not until 20 years after the allegations were first raised that a Cardinal requested a canonical trial against Murphy. The trial was eventually dropped against Murphy due to his poor health. Murphy died in 1998 never having answered for any of the allegations against him.

Other Notorious Priest Abuse Cover-Ups

The film also looks at several other notorious cases of abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church, specifically those of Tony Walsh and Marcial Maciel.

Maciel was a Mexican priest who founded the Legion of Christ, a Roman Catholic institute that has tens of thousands of youth members. In the 90s allegations came to light that Maciel had been abusing young boys since the 40s and 50s. He is alleged to have fathered 3 children with 2 different women.

Formal complaints about Maciel to the Vatican were reportedly shelved by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith – a group headed by the future Pope Benedict. Pope Benedict later re-opened the investigation and in 2006 Maciel was finally “disciplined” – he was asked to live “a reserved life of penitence and prayer” and to no longer practice as a priest. He was transferred to a house in Florida, where he lived until his death in 2008. No canonical trial was commenced against Maciel.

The program is available online until April 2 so watch it while you have the chance.

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