Holy Water-Gate: Abuse Cover-Up in the Catholic Church

2004     1 x 56 min     Color & B/W: Beta SP      English

A Mary Healey Film

In association with SBS/Australia, CBC/Canada and RTSI/Switzerland

Mary Healey
Louise Rosen

Mary Healey

Festivals and Awards:
2005 Best Documentary – Rhode Island Film Festival, Selected for the Cincinnati Film Festival

Bearing witness to a dramatic unfolding of historic events, the filmmaker spends over four years gathering stories from all sides of the clergy sex abuse crisis. Resisting simplistic or sensational explanations, Holy Water-Gate instead bravely investigates disturbing and unanswered questions of this tragedy, provid- ing razor sharp insight into the causation and consequences of the sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Holy Water-Gate has exclusive access to key players in the crisis: John Bambrick, a young priest who was himself molested by a priest as a young adolescent, then charged in 2002 in the canon court for speaking about the abuse he suffered; Francis Cardinal George, Chairman to the Vaticanís Commission on Sex Abuse Policy; and most shockingly, Father William C., an admitted perpetrator priest who explains the culture of the institution and the methods used by church and civil authorities to conceal his sex crimes against children.

“With swift, deft scalpel strokes, Holy Water-Gate lays bare hypocrisy and institutionalized abuse in the Catholic Church. The film shows this graphically, but also that humble, decent priests still do Christ’s work at grassroots level, and that some even risk everything to fight the snakes in their hierarchy.” – Michael Rabiger, Author, educator, filmmaker and recipient of the IDA Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award

“This film explores the cover up of clergy child abuse with tenacious journalism and a deft touch in giving textured portraits of the survivors, their reform movement and in one startling sequence, a priest perpetrator whose haunting persona speaks volumes on institutional decay.” – Jason Berry, Author, journalist