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L. Brent Bozell
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HBO Hates Popes, Loves Kennedys


Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world on Monday morning by announcing he would resign at the end of February. For Catholics, there was sorrow and there was gratitude for a Holy Father who taught with such distinction and worked with such care to safeguard the church's theological traditions.

But there are those people who hate the Catholic Church, and they are ecstatic. Take documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, a man who clearly thinks he is holier than the Pope. He told the Daily Beast that Benedict is a "criminal." This helps explain why he's made a documentary for HBO, the home of toxic God-haters like Bill Maher.

Gibney's new film "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" centers on a heart-breaking story of a Wisconsin priest named Lawrence Murphy who mercilessly abused deaf boys, and how he was never officially removed from the priesthood. It is a stain, a blemish, and inexcusable.

It is equally inexcusable to distort the story to advance an anti-Catholic narrative. That is bigotry.

Within the first 15 minutes, Gibney displays his complete contempt for facts. He brings in a supposed expert and bitter former priest named Richard Sipe, touting a "25-year study" claiming that, "at any one time, no more than 50 percent of Roman Catholic priests were practicing celibacy."

On screen, you can even see his claim in print, accompanied with the words "I estimate." Gibney does not explain to the viewer in 2013 that Sipe's so-called "study" ended in 1985 or even how Sipe arrived at this fantasy of an "estimate."

This should give you a taste for the Sipe worldview, ignored by Gibney. In a 1995 book, he compared Catholic celibacy to the Nazis — "everything fits with Nazi theory and practice"— and blamed celibacy for the Holocaust. "I cannot forget that the people and forces that generated Nazism and the Holocaust were all products of one Christian culture and the celibate power system."

This is Gibney's and HBO's expert.

Gibney continues the assault. He's told the Daily Beast that not only is the pope a crook, but "what's peculiar about the Roman Catholic Church is that at the heart of its doctrine is a lie — the lie of forced celibacy." Every vow of celibacy is forced and a lie? This man needs to be checked for rabies.

Gibney, like his hero Sipe, believes the Catholic Church must "evolve" into the modern age and renounce its condemnation of masturbation, contraception, divorce, abortion, homosexuality and premarital sex, proving he fundamentally knows nothing about Catholic dogma. (Hint: You don't "evolve" from it.)

The country and especially the Catholic faithful are right to be outraged that abusive priests were not removed from the priesthood but were instead shuffled to other churches to begin another cycle of abuse. But Gibney again overdoses by bringing in another hanging judge, Rev. Thomas Doyle, who slanders the entire Church by declaring that some bishops' previous attitude against turning their priests over to civil authorities was so corrupt that "I don't know what they would have done if there were a slew of murders. "

Bringing this kind of lurid, factually unsupported conspiracy theorizing to the entire Catholic Church, besmirching every priest and every bishop and every cardinal and every pope as if it were a nonfictional "DaVinci Code" — welcome to HBO.

This is the big picture of the morally upside-down HBO documentary unit: Pope Benedict is portrayed as a vicious crook, but Ted Kennedy and his brothers are portrayed as secular saints.

Don't take my word for it. Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara was a fan of the Gibney screed: "The message of 'Mea Maxima Culpa' is clear: No member of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is innocent in this almost unbelievably ubiquitous wave of abuse and certainly not the man who sits in his cloak of infallibility at its head."

Then there was McNamara's review of "Teddy: In His Own Words" in 2009. "(B)iography quickly vanishes into mythology ... much more tribute than analysis. ... At its worst, the film can be blindly sentimental. Kennedy is portrayed as a man driven by devotion to service; base catalysts like personal or political ambition simply don't come up. Although the drowning of Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick is discussed, it is far more quickly dismissed by the film than it has been by many Americans."

On HBO, over imagery of a priest holding up the Eucharistic host, Gibney explained that the problem with Catholics is "noble cause corruption," that somehow abusive priests could turn every perversion "into a holy act." But for the Left, their noble cause is never corrupt, no matter how reckless, vicious and dishonest their accusations are in the feverish pursuit of "reforming" the Catholic Church in their own Bill Maher-friendly image.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... I am Catholic, and I would rather be anti Catholic than be anti human... It took me about a second to decide, but by that point I had already delivered to much of my peace of mind to the Holy Mother Church... I will be like Erasamus, and leave my church when I find a better one, which will be about, never... But I would never be surprised if they should leave me, and I am always surprised that they leave the light on for me... As good or as bad as any institution can be, they are but forms, social forms that fill out moral forms with structures, laws, dogma, relationships, and reality... In any form, I see the relationships; but some people only see the form, the form, the form...
If the Catholic Church wants to preserve the institution, and I cannot imagine why, then they should look to the relationships within it...All the rules and nonsense they have held people to, and have released them from is meaningless... Some people could endure much more of sacrifice for the church, and many would prefer it to talk at them in a language they cannot understand...It is a fact that in this democratic age which is seeing the end of many events the church put into motion, that it is now time for the church to engage people in a genuine conversation about morality...
We would not have the law we have without the church... We would not have the individual as we know ourselves without the church... We would not have the modern nation state without the church... And it should be known that the Catholic Church was the first modern Western State with the first set of modern Western Laws... But the whole mechanism of it is feudal, and its ideas of law like its notions of human behavior is draconian and archaic...
Religion is literally a tie back to older times...Hoc es Corpus is hokuspokus; but we are not ignorant peasants living in some hovel with our dogs and sheep... The human mind and science have progresses since the days when Copernicus so feared for his life that he dared not tell the church about the revolution of the spheres until he was an old man, and saw death on his doorstep...
The church could stand to learn to treat adults as adults, reason with them, and make the moral argument... So soon as they spend their money and energy seeking coercive powers through government they reveal that monster that lit up the Spain with auto de fea's, acts of faith, burning human beings like matches...I think we have had enough of tyranny even if for the most resolute devotion...
God is big business... Churches of every stripe are just corporations, as lord Coke said: people without a soul... Such organizations which grew out of burial societies will bury this society... Look at how much of the world and how many societies they have put under their feet, and they dust themselves off, plant their shovel, make the sign of the cross, and go forth to dig another grave...The churches have such power and freedom in this land because they stood with the rich and landed against our own freedom...
If freedom will live in this land, and if this nation of people will survive, it will be with the churches as the mendicant servants of the people with no claim to privilage, and not as the mendacious champions of tyranny...Let them care for our souls, but have no say over them... We need a government that cares for our bodies, that looks out for our physical and moral wellbeing, and does not leave either to chance...
It has been many years since any churchman has given up his life resisting injustice, but many have grown fat and sensless on injustice... We do not need churches that will rule us by control of the state... We do not need churches that will take the money we give them to do good- to buy influence and power...
We may all at times need a moment to think in solitude about goodness, and hold the image in our minds of good people crucified because they were a threat to injustice... But each free person is responsible for their own moral welfare, and it should be a crime for anyone to put some one elses goodness before their own...
History should teach us how impossible is morality for a slave since they have given up the freedom no one can surrender but by choice, and then they become but a vocal implement of another's will... It matters not whether a person is the slave of a king or an idea, or as Christian means: a slave of Christ... When one person gives up the moral authority for his own actions to another he is no longer responsible or moral, and is no longer capable of making the sorts of moral choices that must endear a person to their God...
We know that most of those who drove humanity into gas chambers and burned their bodies in the death camps were Christians, and often Catholics... Luther drew a line between public and private morality, but the Catholic Church for the most part simply kept silent... Can we dare ask how much of human life these churches gave away in protecting their institutional prerogatives??? I won't bother to tell my church what to do... I am more theirs than they are mine... But if I were more than a Sunday Christian, I would do as Jesus said; and sell all I own and follow him...
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:22 PM
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