The Right Opinion

HBO Hates Popes, Loves Kennedys

By L. Brent Bozell · Feb. 15, 2013

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 1986 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.




I am not a fan of the Catholic Church, but there is no excuse for the distortion of facts.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 9:25 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

Marxists hate the church because it exposes the evil that Marxism truely is. In league with Satan, how could they think otherwise?

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

sfj in Alabama said:

This is why I'll never have HBO on my TV. It's nothing but trash or re-runs of hollywod garbage. As for kennedy, what a POS! He should have died in jail, not at home.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Jim in Western NC said:

@ wjm - The Marxists also hate the Church because it is a traditional social institution. This is why the Church, the military, scouting, the nuclear family, etc. are always their primary targets. Their brave new world cannot exist with viable (and much better) alternatives.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:41 PM

wjm in Colorado replied:

So true Jim, so true.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Shad Carson in Eugene, OR said:

Seriously - there is no more defense for the Catholic Church. The pope is a criminal - and did cover up sex crimes. It's time for the church to totally come clean and stop the idiotic backward thinking and join this century. It's views on birth control, women, abortion, gay marriage, etc. are all abhorrent and the fact that they are so messed up with regard to sex is probably whats led to so much pedophilia in its ranks

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:04 PM

John in Matamoros said:

Bozell paints all of the documentary as lies by the bigoted leftist film-maker Alex Gibney, then he writes this commentary and does the same thing about Gibney's documentary. Bozell may be correct in some of his assertions, but he overlooks the main point that is proven about pedophilia and molestation being rampant in the Catholic church. And the part about the Catholic church being compared to the Nazi's,... well there is the Inquisition that was responsible for thousands and thousands of executions for being a heretic (not being a believing Catholic) that was created and carried from the Vatican at the direction of the Vicar of Christ, the Pope. And why does Bozell do the same thing that the Catholic hierarchy does. How can he evade the many hundreds just in the Murphy or Geogan crimes. He doesn't, he washes all of the documentary as a leftist attempt to destroy the Catholic church. The truth is that the Catholic church is and has been a political monstrosity masquerading as the church of Christ ever since the early Catholic church fathers instituted the difference between the "clergy" and the laity. Not enough room to keep going, but the one thing the Catholic church is not guilty of is giving the Bible and the Bible alone as the supreme authority; instead they gut the Bible and give us the Magisterium and the tradition of the "fathers" and oh by the way, here is the Bible, but don't you dare attempt to read it or interpret it on your own. That's only for the "Holy Father" and his cadre of "Holy" priest to do. If you disagree and you are Catholic then according to them, they can consign you to hell by their "powers".
Can't people see that this in no way represents what Christ said. But they will continue on because they do not read the Bible.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 7:57 AM