Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018
ROME

New movie casts Church in bad light over sex abuse scandals

English
© ANSA

Rome, March 18 - The Catholic Church, Pope Emeritus
Benedict and former Pope John Paul II see their reputations
attacked in the documentary "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the
House of God" by Alex Gibney on the various sexual abuse
scandals which the church did its best to cover up.
In the movie, which hits Italian cinemas Wednesday, the
Church appears to do nothing other than attempt to deny,
minimize and censure the various scandals of pedophilia within
its ranks, beginning with the case of four deaf children
sexually abused by a priest in Milwaukee.
The film recounts the stories of Terry Kohut, Gary Smith,
Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinksi, now adults, victims in their
childhood years of sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy,
director of the St. John's School in Milwaukee, in the U.S.
state of Wisconsin.
Between 1950 and 1974 Murphy sexually abused some 200
deaf-mute children, without the church taking any remedial
action and letting him continue in his position until his death.
The film begins with the case of the four then covers other
cases of child sex abuse in the United States and Europe,
including those of Father Walsh in Ireland and Marcial Maciel -
a friend of John Paul's - in Mexico.
Underlining how the Church's highest ranks were complicit
in the scandals, Gibney points out how Cardinal Josef Ratzinger,
the future Pope Benedict, was for 25 years the head of the
Church's Confederation of Faith, and as such was aware of the
events taking place.
As Pope Benedict, Ratzinger then reiterated the need to
maintain secrecy during the ensuing investigations and trials.
Meanwhile Ratzinger's predecessor John Paul is accused of
both knowing about the abuse crimes and of maintaining his
friendship with Maciel despite the latter's criminal actions.
Maciel was deprived only in 2006 of all Church office
responsibilities for sexually abusing underage seminarians in
his congregations.
Then pope Benedict approved the decision to strip Maciel of
his duties.
According to Vatican expert Marco Politi, "Pope Ratzinger
did a lot of work on these pedophilia cases, but he didn't
create real transparency and he didn't open the Diocesan
archives, something which happened in Germany, Belgium and the
United States."
"The new pope will also have to deal with this problem. In
Italy you can count some 3,000 hidden cases considering there
are around 200 dioceses and no one ever carried out an
investigation, aside from the one in Bressanone, which led to 15
charges," Politi says.
Reflecting on Benedict's surprise resignation from the
papacy, Gibney said it is "the most important act of his
Pontificate. In this manner he showed he was unable to deal with
these things, (that he is) really a man. Let's hope Pope Francis
is the right one."

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