Upcoming Screenings

October 12, 2008
New Orleans Film Festival
In Attendance: Jason Berry, Tim Watson
Canal Place Cinema, 4:30PM

October 9, 2008
Fairfield University, Fairfield CT
Center for Catholic Studies, Black Box Theatre, Quick Center for the Arts, 7 PM

September 27 & 28, 2008
Screenings in Mexico City for the DOCS DF festival
Vows of Silence Spanish version, titled: LEGIONARIO DE CRISTO
with narration by Carmen Aristegui
Saturday September 27th, 16:45, Cinemex Insurgentes, sala 2
Sunday September 28th, 14:15, Jaima Río de Janeiro

April 22, 2008
University of Rhode Island
Screening and lecture by Jason Berry
Kingston, Rhode Island, 7 PM

April 23, 2008
Georgetown University

111 St. Mary's Hall, 3700 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington DC, 7 PM

view map

April 29, 2008
Contemporary Arts Center
New Orleans, Louisiana, 7 PM

May 2-3, 2008
Documenta Madrid Festival
Madrid, Spain


Jason Berry, author, documentary filmmaker, will “sneak preview” his film Vows of Silence on March 13 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, Manhasset, NY, starting at 7:30 pm.

Based on a 2004 book by Berry and the late Gerald Renner, Vows of Silence trains a lens on the Vatican’s internal handling of abuse accusations against high church officials. The film follows the saga of Father Marcial Maciel founder of a controversial religious order the Legionnaires of Christ. Maciel won the favor of Pope John Paul II despite a 1998 canon law case filed by eight former Legionnaires who accused Maciel of sexually abusing them in seminary and asked Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to excommunicate him. The film explores an internal struggle at the highest levels of the Vatican before Maciel was ordered out of public ministry in 2006.

With location shoots in Rome, Mexico City and several American cities, the documentary probes the role of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State under John Paul II, who tried to abort the case. In early 2004, the pope died and Ratzinger was elected pope, taking the name Benedict XVI. In May 2006 the Vatican ordered Maciel to withdraw from public ministry. The film follows the journey of Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the investigator sent by Ratzinger to America and Mexico, through profiles of key figures who gave testimony. The documentary includes a former Vatican official who breaks his silence after leaving the priesthood, discussing the cult-like atmosphere in which Legionnaires took secret vows never to criticize Maciel. It traces the rise from post-war Mexico in the 1940s as he gained support from the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, to build an international order of educators with schools and Universities on several continents. The Legion budge is $650 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Maciel cultivated the support of Carlos Slim of Mexico City, reportedly the world’s richest man. His American supporters include Father Richard John Neuhaus, publisher of First Things magazine; former drug czar and CNN commentator, William Bennett; Catholic League director William Donohoe, and Harvard Law professor, Mary Ann Glendon, currently U. S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Also speaking at the LIVOTF meeting will be Juan Vaca, LIVOTF member and Suffolk County resident. Mr. Vaca is a psychology professor and former Legion priest who filed complaints with the Vatican against Maciel in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jason Berry , a New Orleans author and independent producer, is renowned for his pioneering investigative reports on the clergy abuse scandal. His 1992 book “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” exposed a nationwide pattern of bishops concealing perpetrators and is still used in many newsrooms. Berry is often interviewed in the national media on the church crisis and recovery issues in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. The book “Vows of Silence” will be available for signing after the film presentation.

Documentary on child abuse and justice in Catholic church
to be shown at Vanderbilt March 12

A documentary about the justice system of the Vatican in a case of child abuse will be screened at Vanderbilt University, followed by a discussion with the director.

Vows of Silence will be presented at 4:10 p.m. in Room 101 of Buttrick Hall on the Vanderbilt campus on Wednesday, March 12. Director Jason Berry will attend and lead a discussion after the film.

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, and the Vanderbilt Center for Community Studies.

The film tracks the case of Father Marcial Maciel, a church official and founder of the Legionaries of Christ congregation, which has centers in 20 countries. Maciel retired in 2006 after being accused of sexual abuses. It follows a book on the case of the same title by Berry and Gerald Renner.

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