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Mea Maxima Culpa

Showing @ Filmhouse, Edinburgh until Thu 04 Apr

Alex Gibney / USA / 2012 / 106 min

★★★★☆

With the recent appointment of Pope Francis, believers and non-believers alike wait to see what changes, if any, this newly chosen representative of God on Earth will bring to Catholicism. A combination of interviews and news footage Alex Gibney’s revealing documentary depicts how the Vatican has repeatedly aided and abetted paedophilic priests across the globe in continuing their role within the church and has actively worked to keep the many instances of child abuse away from public scrutiny.

This exposé is riddled with alarming and thought provoking statistics, substantiated by victims of molestation, priests who couldn’t hold their tongue and indirect confessions of the accused. It’s exceedingly uncomfortable viewing as those purporting to offer guidance extort their religious position of authority onto those weaker than themselves. Perhaps most disturbing, is the revelation that even after being informed of sexual crimes, so few men of the cloth are willing to speak out about them because of the tradition of keeping quiet imposed by the Vatican. The inability of the leaders of the largest Christian denomination on the planet, to speak openly and candidly about a problem that directly clashes with their excepted teachings. The fact that the policy on protecting child abusers is steeped in history and as yet appears unchanged implies this issue should be top of Pope Francis’ to-do-list.

Follow Callum on Twitter @CWMadge

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