Vows of Silence: El Legionario de Cristo (2008)
PG-13 · 1h 1min · Documentary · 7 October 2008
Vows of Silence is an anatomy of the Vatican justice system, following the haunting saga of Father Marcial Maciel, who won the favor of Pope John Paul II despite years of pedophilia accusations. The greatest fundraiser of the modern church, Maciel founded the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order with a $650 million budget and history of controversial tactics. The film becomes a mystery story as it tracks abuse complaints filed in the Vatican against Maciel dating back to the 1950s, moving on to 1998 abuse charges against Maciel filed with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, tries to abort the case. In 2004, with Pope John Paul II dying, Ratzinger finally takes action. The film follows a secret Vatican investigator as witnesses testify about Maciel's sexual abuse, psychological tyranny, and the secret vows he imposed to secure Legionaries' silence. With location shoots in Rome, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee and New Orleans, the film tracks Maciel's rise from war-torn Mexico, gaining the support of the Spanish dictator, Franco, and cementing ties with Vatican officials. A former Vatican official breaks his silence in an interview criticizing the Legion's cult-like atmosphere. As the evidence mounts, Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict XVI, must decide the price of justice.
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