The 12 Best Documentaries About Priest Abuse

Sep 14, 2023 | Best Of, Crime, Religion

For many years, the Catholic Church in particular has been at the center of numerous scandals involving allegations of abuse. The issue speaks to a deeply personal level for millions of people around the world and has shed light on some devastating truths. Some of the most powerful stories have been told through documentary films, which provide an intimate look into these painful accounts while also inspiring hope for a brighter future. Here is our list of the 12 best documentaries about priest abuse and what they tell us about this ongoing issue.


1. Abuse in the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, for decades, had shrouded the issue of child abuse in secrecy. Victims could only watch helplessly as their cries for justice were continually stifled by powerful church officials. But eventually, the victims decided enough was enough and took matters into their own hands to seek redress. Their brave actions encouraged other victims of sexual assault to come forward and share their stories, forcing the Church to finally address this dark issue. It was their courage and determination that ultimately brought about a new era of transparency and accountability within the Church.


2. Abuse Documentary: The Shame of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is no stranger to scandals, particularly the ones surrounding sexual abuse. However, for far too long, the spotlight has been pointed at individual priests who committed these heinous acts rather than those in positions of power whose actions enabled such wrongdoing – namely, bishops. It is time that we stop looking solely at the perpetrators and start scrutinizing those who allowed or even encouraged such abuse to exist.


3. The Church: Code of Silence (Corrupt Priest Documentary)

Internal documents have exposed the dark truth behind Church officials’ attempts to cover up child abuse scandals. Dubbed by them as ‘the geographical solution’, priests accused of pedophilia would be moved from one country to another, sometimes even as far away as Africa. This practice continues to this day, and Pope Francis himself has been implicated in cases where he tried to influence the Argentinean justice system in order to protect a convicted priest. This disturbing trend shows how far those in power will go to keep their secrets hidden from public scrutiny. It is time for society to hold them accountable and put an end to this problematic behavior.


4. Megachurch Pastor Accused of Sexual Abuse is Still Preaching

Rickie Rush, pastor of the Dallas Megachurch, is a man who inspires thousands every week. His word seems to move mountains and his influence on the congregation is undeniable. But recently, Renee Phillips and Donna Fields have come forward with troubling allegations – ranging from physical abuse to sexual misconduct. Despite these claims, Pastor Rush continues to stand strong in his convictions and denies any wrongdoing.


5. Unforgivable | The priest sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is set to make a major announcement this month. They will release a list of priests accused of child sex abuse as part of an earnest effort to grapple with the ongoing priest sex abuse scandal that has long plagued the Catholic Church. While this move may provide some measure of solace and resolution for many, there are those who are not convinced that the list will contain every offender. This is their story. These stories of pain, suffering and injustice have been suppressed for far too long.


6. Abuse In The Catholic Church: Priests Protected By The Vatican’s Code Of Silence

The Church has long been accused of turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse committed by members of their clergy. But recently uncovered documents have exposed how they go about protecting priests guilty of these heinous crimes. This ‘geographical solution’ sees those responsible moved from country to country, sometimes as far away as Africa. Even Pope Francis is implicated, with reports suggesting he took steps to influence the Argentinean justice system in order to protect a convicted priest when he was bishop of Buenos Aires.


7. Catholic Church Tries To Hide Bodies Of 800 Children – Children Of Shame

TuTuam, a name forever etched into the souls of the Irish people. A dark secret that remained hidden for decades, until it emerged from the spring of 2014, tearing through the hearts and minds of its citizens like a jagged knife. Discoveries made on the former grounds of a home for single mothers revealed what had been kept in vain for so many years– a mass grave containing the remains of approximately 800 children. It was an unfathomable tragedy and one that shook the nation to its core.


8. The Complex Marriages Of The House Of Windsor

Being a royal wife is no small feat. It requires the utmost dedication and commitment to upholding the traditions and values of the British Royal Family. The women who marry into this illustrious family are expected to behave with grace, poise, and dignity at all times, no matter how challenging the situation may be. From attending high-profile events to representing their husbands in public functions, royal wives are held to the highest standards of both etiquette and style. They must also be prepared to handle the immense pressure that comes with being a public figure in a high-profile household.


9. The Paedophile Next Door

In this documentary, Steve Humpries dives deep into the murky depths of child sexual abuse. Re-examining past cases, the film takes a hard look at how current law protects kids from these devastating experiences and what psychological trauma survivors must endure. Additionally, it highlights ways to help prevent future generations from suffering in such deeply disturbing fashion. The documentary weaves together a compelling story of tragedy and hope, all while shedding light on an issue that is often too dark to talk about. Through personal accounts, the film gives voice to those who have lived through the most unimaginable experiences.


10. Faith, power, manipulation – The secrets of the Opus Dei sect

For some, the Catholic community Opus Dei is considered to be a diabolical sect; however, members of this group have always perceived it in a positive way. Though it has been difficult for outsiders to gain insight into the inner workings of Opus Dei, its name — which translates to “Work of God” — signals an important mission that its members are devoted to achieving. Through a combination of prayer, devotion and service to God, Opus Dei seeks to bring people closer to their spiritual goals and build a more just society in the process. Despite the polarizing opinions that exist about this ancient sect, there is no doubt that it has left an indelible mark on modern Catholicism and spirituality as a whole.


11. Would You Believe on clerical sexual abuse

MickMick Peelo discovered some Vatican letters that seemed to reveal a pattern of obstruction towards inquiries into clerical sexual abuse. As he read through the documents, it was clear that these letters were carefully crafted to keep investigations from making any real progress. While these pieces of evidence could provide invaluable insight into this dark chapter in Church history, it’s clear that those in power weren’t keen to face the truth. Peelo’s determination to uncover the hidden truth was a testament to his strength and courage – a reminder that justice will always find its way through even the darkest of shadows.


12. The Scandalous Truth Behind Pope Francis’ Inauguration

Pope Francis’s rise to the papacy was a long and winding path. In this documentary, Vatican experts and journalists reveal the untold story of his journey for the first time. From overcoming criticism over his silence on Argentina’s “dirty war” and the abductions that took place during it, to navigating a dark past to become Latin America’s first pope, viewers get a glimpse of the obstacles Pope Francis encountered on his way to leadership. Through candid interviews and never-before-seen footage, this documentary follows the pope’s journey from obscurity to world-renowned spiritual leader. With insight into how he overcame challenges, it is sure to be an inspiring tale for viewers everywhere.






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David B