Vows of Silence

VOTF (Voice of the Faithful) & SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) present

A FREE Milwaukee Advanced Screening of

Vows of Silence directed by Jason Berry

Thursday April 3rd, 7:00 p.m.

Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church

1529 Wauwatosa Avenue (76th Street)
(This church is located 1 block north of Starbucks in the village area and is directly across from St Bernard's Catholic Church.  Parking is in the rear.)

Panel discussion with the director to follow screening

 Based on the 2004 book by Jason Berry and the late Gerald Renner, Vows of Silence explores how the Vatican justice system deals with sex abuse charges against high church officials. With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the documentary follows the haunting saga of Father Marcial Maciel, who won the favor of Pope John Paul II despite a long trail of pedophilia accusations. Maciel, one of the church’s greatest fundraisers, founded the Legion of Christ, a religious order with a $650 million budget and a history of controversial recruitment tactics. In 1998 eight former Legionaries filed a canon law case Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s office, seeking Maciel’s expulsion from the church. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State, tried to abort the case. In late 2004, with Pope John Paul dying, Ratzinger ordered an investigation.

The film follows the journey of a Vatican investigator, Msgr. Charles Scicluna, as Irish, Mexican and American witnesses testify about Maciel’s psychological tyranny, imposing secret vows never to criticize him or the Legion. 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 support from the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, forging ties with Vatican officials after a 1956 suspension from his duties for drug addiction. Maciel went on to build an international movement of schools and universities. A key figure in the film, Christopher Kunze, a native of Elm Grove, WI and graduate of Marquette, is a former Vatican official who broke his silence on-screen after leaving the priesthood, discussing the cult-like atmosphere within the Legion.

Pope Benedict XVI approved a 2006 decision allowing Maciel to leave public ministry for “a life of prayer and repentance.” The film, which probes issues left unanswered, enters distribution as Pope Benedict XVI prepares for his first papal visit to America on April 15. Boston, epicenter of the abuse scandal that rocked the church for several years, is not on the pope’s itinerary.

Jason Berry is renowned for his pioneering investigative reports on clergy sexual abuse, Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992) and a consultant for ABC News.  Vows of Silence (2004) received the 1998 Theodore Driscoll Investigative Award.

 Questions, call Mary Guentner, SNAP Milwaukee, 414.418.3191/megmeg@execpc..com

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Directions to 1529 Wauwatosa Avenue (76th Street) – WAUMC

Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church is located in the Wauwatosa Village on Wauwatosa Avenue (or 76th Street), a half block south of Milwaukee Avenue.  Parking is located to the west, behind the church, on Underwood Avenue in the two-level parking structure or surface lot located to the south of the structure. This church is located 1 block north of Starbucks in the village area and is directly across from St Bernard's Catholic Church.  

From the east, go west on I-94 to 68th St. exit.  Turn right (north) on 68th Street. Take a left (west) on State Street.  Turn right (north) on Wauwatosa Avenue.  Church will be on the left.  For parking, turn left (west) on Milwaukee Avenue.  Then turn left (south) on Underwood to the two-level parking structure located at the back of the church.

From the west, go east on I-94 to 84th Street exit.  Turn left (north) on 84th Street, which turns into Glenview Avenue.  Continue on Glenview Avenue. Turn right (east) on Harwood Avenue.  Turn left (north) on Harmonee Avenue (which jogs to the east).  The second street on the left is  Underwood Avenue.  Turn left (north) on Underwood to the two-level parking structure located at the back of the church.

From the north, go south on Hwy. 45 to the North Avenue east exit.  Go east on North Avenue to Wauwatosa Avenue (76th Street).  Turn right (south) on Wauwatosa Ave.  At the first stop light, turn right (west) on Milwaukee Avenue. Go one block to Underwood Avenue.  Turn left (south) on Underwood to the two-level parking structure located at the back of the church.

From the south, go north on Hwy. 45 to the Watertown Plank Road exit.  Turn right (east) on Watertown Plank Road, which turns into Harwood Avenue.  Continue east on Harwood Avenue Turn left (north) on Harmonee Avenue (which jogs to the east).  The second street on the left will be Underwood Avenue.  Turn left (north) on Underwood to the two-level parking structure located at the back of the church.

 

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