Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 14, 2012
    Given the grievousness of their sins, one wonders why the church continues to shelter them. Might it not be more appropriate to excommunicate them, and refer them to the attention of the civil authorities?
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 15, 2012
    Gibney's narrative drags to some extent when the focus widens to explore the Vatican's overall policy for covering up sex scandals, but he successfully demonstrates the systematic failure of a system designed work flawlessly on the basis of spirituality that never existed in the first place.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Nov 15, 2012
    The movie revisits the themes (and some of the same characters) of Amy Berg's chilling 2006 chronicle "Deliver Us from Evil." But it reaches further, expanding from one American diocese to Ireland, Italy, the Vatican and the career of the current pope.
  4. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Nov 14, 2012
    Mea Maxima Culpa is not gentle about placing blame on a structure that elevates priests above the rest of mankind and prioritizes maintaining an appearance of pious perfection over addressing some grievous wrongs committed.
  5. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    Nov 14, 2012
    By turns moving, absorbing and downright rage-inducing.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Feb 14, 2013
    I am very careful how many documentaries like this I watch. I stay away from watching them because there is nothing that I can do right away to make an impact towards the main cause of the movie. Topics like starving kids in Africa, major corporations taking over the world, etc. those are all incredibly sad, yet overwhelming for a simple individual like me.

    However, this movie addresses a topic that has been covered for many, many years, and is present all over the world, particularly in the US: sexual abuse by priests, and the covering up of their actions by their superiors all the way to the head of their denomination (in this case, the pope). I have yet to decide which part is more monstrous the act, or the cover-up.

    From a technical point of view, the movie is very well done. The agenda is very clear, but it is not filled with hatred and anger. I found it wise that the producers quietly presented the facts from the victims themselves, and included trustworthy persons in the interviews (NY Times reporter, archbishops, former priests, etc.).
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 4, 2013
    If Dan Brown had written a novel about a cover-up in the Catholic Church on the scale depicted in this film, it would be treated as a great work of fiction. The trouble is, it’s all true and that’s the most shocking thing about it. It is a very well made film that has a compelling flow to the narrative and this is helped with some nicely chosen musical backdrops. The only thing that lets it down is a lack of balance, but then, as it says in the film, the Vatican refused to be interviewed for this film. Not that they could have put up any defence. I found it a gripping watch that did get a little emotional at times. Well worth a look whatever religion (or not) you are.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    My score: 8.8/10
    Full Review »