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Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012)

TV-14 | | Documentary | 16 November 2012 (USA)
Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican.


Alex Gibney


Alex Gibney
Won 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Gibney ... Self - Narrator (voice)
Terry Kohut Terry Kohut ... Self - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1960-1969
Gary Smith Gary Smith ... Self - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1954-1970
Pat Kuehn Pat Kuehn ... Self - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1969-1973
Arthur Budzinski Arthur Budzinski ... Self - St. John's School for the Deaf, 1953-1964
Lawrence Murphy Lawrence Murphy ... Self - priest, St. John's School for the Deaf, 1950-1974 (archive footage)
Richard Sipe Richard Sipe ... Self - Former Benedictine Monk / Mental Health Counselor
Scott Kuehn Scott Kuehn ... Self (archive footage)
Angela Kuehn Angela Kuehn ... Self (archive footage)
Patrick Wall Patrick Wall ... Self - Former Benedictine Monk (as Patrick J. Wall)
Bob Bolger Bob Bolger ... Self - St. John's School for the Deaf (archive footage)
John Conway John Conway ... Self - Counselor for the Deaf
Jim Heydendahl Jim Heydendahl ... Self - Senior Boys' Dorm Supervisor, 1972-1974
Geoffrey Robertson Geoffrey Robertson ... Self - Human Rights Lawyer (as Geoffrey Robertson QC)
Jeff Anderson Jeff Anderson ... Self - Attorney for Gary Smith & Terry Kohut


Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney exposes the abuse of power in the Catholic Church and a cover-up that winds its way from the row houses of Milwaukee Wisconsin, through the bare ruined choirs of Ireland's churches all the way to the highest office of the Vatican. By investigating the secret crimes of a charismatic priest who abused over 200 deaf children in a school under his control - the film shows the face of evil that lurks behind the smiles and denials of authority figures and institutions who believe that because they stand for good they can do no wrong. Written by Jwelch5742

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Did You Know?


The film won 3 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming, Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming and Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. See more »


The narration states "In 1929, a cardinal, soon to be Pope Pius XI, signed the Lateran Treaty with the Fascist government of Mussolini to create the Vatican State." Actually, in 1929, Pius XI was already pope, having been elected in 1922. See more »


Featured in 2013 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (2013) See more »

User Reviews

A repugnant story that must be told
23 November 2012 | by barkingechoacrosswavesSee all my reviews

This film does a fine job of documenting the groundbreaking, courageous and tenacious efforts of a group of deaf men to expose a pedophile priest who ran a school for deaf children and preyed on those children for many years.

The nature of the crimes and the pervasive lack of action by the catholic church to discipline the criminal priest and aid his victims is truly disgusting. Similar circumstances in Ireland are also reviewed where priests were well known to have abused children in their churches and yet they were never appropriately disciplined either by the church or turned over by the church to the civil authorities. It is extremely important that these heinous crimes and the institutional resistance in the church to deal with them are made known by films such as this one. The story of how these men who courageously pursued their search for justice prevailed despite tremendous church inaction and resistance is inspiring.

My only quibble with the film is when it uses contemporary dramatizations to give viewers a feeling for what it would have been like to have been a child in these environments. These are not so much dramatic re-enactments as brief glimpses very much at the periphery of the actual abuse. Still, I thought they were unnecessary as the testimony and documentary footage provided ample information and were more than enough to make my blood boil.

Do see this film and support it for the important work it does in exposing a very serious abuse of trust by an institution of tremendous power that still doggedly refuses to hold itself accountable for so many horrendous crimes.

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Release Date:

16 November 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God See more »

Filming Locations:

Vatican City See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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