“Must watch” videos about the faith based abuse crisis

In more recent times, videos and documentaries about the abuse crisis have started to appear. We can only thank the people and the organisations that have undoubtedly had to push so hard to create and publish these works.

If you have other video resources that you think should be here then please use our contact page and let us know!


Revelation : An ABC Australia three part documentary

Deals with abuse in: Australia and New Zealand

Published: Mar 17, 2020

ABC's revelation with Sarah Ferguson

A three part documentary that interviews two of the worst pedophile priests and brothers. Watch this with someone you love as this is VERY confronting

Key points

  • A view inside the mind of these religious that would harm children, how they did it, what they feel about it.
  • Exploration of the cover up by those in power
  • Interviews with brave survivors
  • A view inside the court room, how they construct their defense… to the indefensible

Ballarat’s Children

Deals with abuse in: Australia

Published: 2016

A compelling podcast series by Peter Hoysted from “The Australian”. If you don’t know about Ballarat then you need to go and find out as it was probably “ground zero” for the some of the worst offending in Australia. What is fascinating at about this series is that it explores the how senior Police tried to prevent investigations of clergy.

Key points

  • Episode 1 – “The Ballarat Diocese of the Catholic Church became the epicentre of an epidemic of clerical paedophilia. The obvious question is: how could thousands of children be abused without coming to the attention of police?” – The fact is that Police knew but senior Police stopped the investigations
  • Episode 2 – “In the wake of the Ryan-Day episode in 1972, rates of clerical offending exploded in the Ballarat Diocese. Priests and religious figures preyed upon children with impunity, and victims did not know where to turn.” – Children suffered terribly, many are no longer with us.
  • Episode 3 – “For decades, victims of clerical paedophilia in Ballarat had suffered in silence. With the first conviction of Gerald Ridsdale in 1993, the wall of silence began to break. Victims were encouraged to come forward and have their day in court. But what is the price of justice? ” – 6% of cases result in a conviction. Half of those get overturned on appeal. How can a 3% conviction rate for the brave survivors that come forward be considered just?

By the Grace of God

Deals with abuse in: France

Published: 2009

We haven’t been able to watch this one yet as it’s not available in and we missed it when it was on during the film festival. The movie is a dramatisation of true events and follows the journey of three victims to bring their priest and abuser Bernard Preynat to account. This is ongoing.

Key points

  • Bernard Preynat (the priest) attempted to block the release of the movie in France. This was unsuccessful.
  • On 4 July 2019 he was found guilty of “criminal acts of a sexual character on minors younger than 16” by an ecclesiastical tribunal convened by the Archdiocese of Lyon. They have asked the congregation for the doctrine of the faith to defrock him.
  • On March 7, 2019, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was convicted for his part in the cover up. This conviction was there overturned. Pope Francis has since accepted Barbarins resignation.
  • On 16 March 2020, Bernard Preynat was successfully convicted and given a five-year sentence.

Reckoning with clergy abuse: Is the Catholic Church falling short on its commitments?

Deals with abuse in: USA and South America, along with mentions of basically the rest of the world

Published: Dec 5, 2019

Fascinating panel discussion organised by Associate Press (AP)

Key points

  • A very balanced panel with a survivor, two journalists, an ex Catholic Review board member, a current diocese lawyer
  • The abuse crisis is not over. It’s starting to emerge in countries like Mexico, Africa and parts of Asia
  • The Catholic Review boards created after the Boston Globes Spotlight investigation in 2002 were not allowed to investigate the Bishops
  • Social media is giving survivors a voice they’ve never had

The Hon Peter McClellan AM QC: Human Rights Day Oration 2019

Deals with abuse in: Australia

Published: July 2019

The chair of the Australian Royal Commission gives a moving and thought provoking speed on Human Rights Day

Key points:

  • He wraps up the frightening statistics from the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • Thanks to the in depth research that the commission conducted, we now have a much better understanding about the reporting of childhood sexual abuse.
  • It is fair to say that Justice McClellan is not enamored by the response of the Catholic Church to the part it played in the horrific abuse of Australian Children

Examination of Conscience – Netflix

Deals with abuse in: Spain

Published: July 2019

examination of conscience netflix

Documentary series that explores allegations of child sexual abuse in Spain’s Catholic institutions. With the Catholic Church so intertwined into Spanish Society, survivors have found it difficult to gain justice. The crisis is examined in interviews with survivors, clergy, journalists and other experts.

Key points:

  • The Catholic Church is woven deeply into Spanish society and this creates massive issues for victims
  • It’s disturbing to see how the Catholic Church uses “silos” of control, so that religious in one order can claim they “didn’t know” about issues in other areas.
  • Educational settings are used by the Maristas (Marists) to prey on children.

Tell no one

Deals with abuse in: Poland

Published: May 2019

A documentary by Tomasz Sekielski about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Poland. Turn on the Closed Caption option in YouTube so see english subtitles

Key points:

  • The Catholic Church in Poland wields incredible power in Polish Society
  • One of Pope John Paul II key advisers was an abusing priest
  • Despite saying they’ve moved abusing priests from ministry, the documentary unveils the chilling fact that these men still have access to children.

Silent Lambs: Jehovah’s Witness and child sexual abuse in New Zealand | Frame

Deals with abuse in: New Zealand

Published: July 2018

A documentary by www.thespinoff.co.nz and Amy Parsons King about the abuse of three women while part of the Jehovahs’ Witness congregation

Key points:

  • Jehovah Witness hierarchy is male dominated and terribly traumatic for a woman reporting sexual abuse
  • Members are told to take their problems to the Elders only. The outside world is considered evil.
  • Jehovah Witness apply the “two witness rule” whereby there is no investigation unless you have another witness to the events. This provides perpetrators with the perfect playground

Spotlight – the movie

Deals with abuse in: Boston, USA and then a mention to just about everywhere else in the credits

Published: 2015

Spotlight the movie on netflix

The Academy Award winning biographical drama film that details the Boston Globes “Spotlight” teams investigation of abuse in the Boston area in 2002

Key points:

  • Shows just how systematic the abuse is within the Catholic Church and how their influence in society and the halls of power allows them to cover up the abuse and to silence victims.
  • In the movie you’ll see how retired pedophile priests or those in treatment centres end up living in communities, close to schools, without any knowledge of the public.
  • Keep in mind that the Boston Globe broke this story in 2002. How much progress has the Catholic Church made in confronting this abuse Crisis in the last 18 years?

Australian Institute of Criminology – Keynote Speech – Justice Peter McClellan

Deals with abuse in: Australia

Published: 2015

Although quite academic, this address shines a light on why it’s been so hard and continues to be so hard for victims of childhood sexual abuse to heard and receive justice in the courts.

Key points:

  • Thanks to the research commissioned by the Australian Royal Commission, we now know that although some details of childhood abuse may differ from reality due to time, the essence of the allegation is very very solid.
  • Despite the growth of psychology and psychological research, members of the judiciary fail to keep up with the body of knowledge and fall back on gut instincts. These instincts are shown to be wrong and to the detriment of those that have been sexually abused.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in The House Of God

Deals with abuse in: USA

Published: 2012

An horrific story about the abuse suffered by deaf children at the hands of Fr Lawrence Murphy at St John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Milwaukee

Key points:

  • Details the courageous journey of  Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinski as they set out to expose their abuse at the hands of Fr Lawrence Murphy
  • The deaf children at this school were not taught how to sign, therefore they were unable to communicate their abuse.
  • A chilling aspect of this documentary is that when it was released, the same methods of abuse were being inflicted on children attending Provolo Institutes for the deaf in Verona and Mendoza between at least 2009 and 2016. See this Washington Post article when a survivor provide Pope Francis written documentation of the abuse. See this Guardian article on some of the abusers being recently brought to justice.

Betrayal : Abuse in the Catholic Church in Nova Scotia

Deals with abuse in: Canada

Published: 2010

An investigative documentary into abuse in Nova Scotia Canada

Key points:

  • The Bishop overseeing the attempt to provide justice for survivors ends up being guilty of child abuse as well
  • Despite the wealth of the global church, compensation money is gathered from parishes in the area. The parishioners had worked exceptionally hard to fund raise and gift to the church for works other than making amends for the shocking deeds of the clergy

Deliver us from evil

Deals with abuse in: USA

Published: 2007

A harrowing account of the abuse of 100’s of children at the hands of Irish Catholic priest Oliver O’Grady in the USA and the failure to stop the abuse and cover up by Cardinal Roger Mahony and Monsignor James Cain

Key points:

  • Oliver O’Grady abuses 100’s of young children while working as a priest in California. One of his victims was a 9 month old baby who he raped. Many of his victims were as young as 5. He predated on both girls and boys.
  • Cardinal Roger Mahony and Monsignor James Cain knew what he was doing, but didn’t put a stop it it, they simply assisted by shifting him and not telling the police.
  • O’Grady has a brush with the law that the church manages to negotiate away. He gets his own backwater Parish (yes, they promoted him to sole charge with no direct supervision) and is eventually apprehended by police that do a major investigation. At the 11th hour he perjures himself in order to not expose the cover up.  In return he gets an annuity from the church.  He’s sentenced to 20yrs, gets out after 7 and is extradited back to Ireland.
  • In Ireland, he is free to circulate in Society. Had it not been for the work of Thom Doyle, the Garda in Ireland would never have known O’Grady was a serious sex offender that needed to be monitored.
  • Tom Doyle meets with two of the brave survivors in Rome to assist them with taking a plea to the Pope. Their plea goes unanswered, just like what happened in 2019 with Darryl Smith.