Protest the Pope Campaign uses films to explore its objections to the Pope’s visit

As part of the protest the Pope Campaign, the National Secular Society is showing a season of films looking at some aspects of the Catholic Church’s activities that the Church will want glossed over while the Pope is in the UK.

The Protest the Pope Film Season will take place between 13 - 16 September. Buy Tickets.

The season starts out on Monday 13 September at 7.30pm with a showing of Sinners, a film about the Magdalene Asylums. It was here that ‘fallen women’ in Ireland were taken to be punished for their ‘sins’. It wasn’t just pregnancy outside of wedlock that qualified a woman for incarceration, but simply being flirtatious and sexy that could get her banged up with the nuns who used women as slave labour in laundries. The thousands of women who were abused and even killed in these institutions have never received an apology or recompense from the Vatican for their treatment. The last Magdalene Laundry closed only in 1996. The film will be introduced by the feminist writer and Independent columnist Joan Smith.

On Tuesday 14 September at 7.30pm Amy Berg’s devastating Oscar-nominated film about clerical child abuse Deliver us from Evil will be shown. It contains an interview with one of the abusing priests, Fr. Oliver O’Grady, whose serial child rape was hushed up by the Vatican under Cardinal Ratzinger, permitting O’Grady to be moved from parish to parish where he continued his abuse of children. He still remains unpunished. His victims, who also feature, are still traumatised and severely emotionally damaged by what happened to them. The film will be introduced by Sue Cox, herself an abuse survivor.

On Wednesday 15 September there will be two films. At 5.30pm Vows of Silence looks at the scandal of the Legionaries of Christ, a Catholic cult created by Fr Marcial Maciel. Maciel was himself a serial abuser – a fact that was known about by John Paul II who did nothing to curb him, and he went to his grave unpunished. The present pope has said that he will clean up the Legionaries, but this week in the Tablet a priest in the Mexican heart of the Legionaries says that nothing has changed and the order is as corrupt as ever.

Rev. Kevin Annett will be on-hand to discuss the abuse and murder that took place at the Indian Residential Schools in Canada and his campaign to gain recompense for the victims from the Vatican.

In the evening (7.30pm) we will see Unrepentant, a multi-award winning documentary by Rev. Kevin Annett about the abuse and murder that took place on an almost unbelievable scale at the Indian Residential Schools in Canada. It was in these institutions, mainly run by the Catholic Church that the children of the aboriginal population were taken to be ‘Christianised’. The catalogue of neglect, cruelty, abuse and murder is almost unbelievable, and Kevin Annett – who will be in attendance to introduce the film – continues his campaign to gain recompense for the victims from the Vatican.

On Thursday 16th we have a showing of The Crime of Father Amaro, starring Gael Garcia Bernal in the eponymous lead role as an idealistic young priest who is despatched to a remote parish in Mexico, only to find the church there riddled with corruption and hypocrisy. It isn’t long before he finds himself caught up in this web of evil, both personally and professionally. The Catholic Church in Mexico declared that seeing this film was a mortal sin – which did not stop it becoming the most popular film ever produced in the country.

Terry Sanderson, who has put the season together, said: “Film is an incredibly powerful medium for starkly illustrating issues that might otherwise be overlooked. To actually see the people involved giving their testimonies is quite different to reading them in newspaper articles. These films, courageously made by film-makers who want to show how easily religious power can be abused, are all extremely moving and enraging.”

All the films will be shown at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL and tickets are available online. Advance booking is advised as only one showing of each film is planned.