Inside the agony of the Catholic Church's child sexual abuse scandal

A new Canadian film called Fall explores the Catholic Church's child sex abuse scandal, with the story of an aging priest grappling with an incident from his past. When the film begins, Father Sam seems to be living contentedly in a Niagara Falls parish. But all is not well; he has just received a letter that upsets his previously serene...
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A new Canadian film called Fall explores the Catholic Church's child sex abuse scandal, with the story of an aging priest grappling with an incident from his past. When the film begins, Father Sam seems to be living contentedly in a Niagara Falls parish. But all is not well; he has just received a letter that upsets his previously serene life. It is a from a dying man who wants clarity on an encounter that took place one night between himself and Father Sam, when the man was a teenager. As Father Sam struggles to recall an incident from 40 years ago, the question that haunts the aging priest is: did he sexually abuse the young man all those years ago?

The film provides no easy answers, but raises troubling questions about what it means to be a dispenser of God's grace, and at the same time, to be truthful with oneself and with others.

Fall, directed by Terrance Odette, was recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival Theatre. Afterwards, Michael Enright moderated a discussion about the issues it raised.

The panellists: 

Michael Murphy, veteran actor, who plays the role of Father Sam

Michael Higgins, vice president for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut

Deirdre Pike, a Catholic and an organizer in Hamilton, Ontario's LGBTQ community

Benjamin Williams, a psychologist at Southdown, a residential treatment centre in Ontario that addresses the needs of the religious and clergy around addictions and mental health issues.

Fall has received 5 Canadian Screen Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Edit and Best Actor for Michael Murphy.

For more information about Fall, please click here.





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