Segments in this Video

A.W. Richard Sipe (03:07)


Sipe is faithful to the Catholic Church. His investigations reveal that the hierarchy of the Church is as corrupt now as it was at the time of Luther. He reflects on treatment by some Church leaders.

Sipe's Background (07:37)

Sipe discusses religion in his childhood, education, and the “church mask.” He becomes a counselor after ordination and learns about priests' sexual activities; he questions celibacy and sexual identity. Sipe has been unsuccessful in getting seminaries to teach celibacy in an open, organized way.

Mental Health Work (03:58)

Sipe enters a fellowship at the Menninger Foundation and begins painting. He meets Marianne Benkert at Seton Psychiatric Institute where they treat thousands of priests; he sees many sexual abuse cases.

Success and Depression (03:37)

Sipe continues at Seton and becomes personnel director at his monastery. He begins recognizing patterns and struggles with depression and leaving the priesthood. Sipe recalls a priest abusing young kids in the infirmary and the underground sexuality.

Secular Life (04:18)

Sipe leaves the priesthood and Benkert leaves service; they marry. Needlepoint helps Sipe relax. Becoming a specialist on celibacy and abuse of minors defines Sipe's ministry.

Sexuality and the Priesthood (04:48)

Sipe delivers his data to Archbishop Pilarczyk. Two years later, he receives a call from "Newsweek." His book "A Secret World" makes international news. Sipe discusses priests learning about sex and celibacy. Approximately 10% of priests experienced sexual abuse by a priest.

Church Protection (03:49)

Sipe describes the first time he testified in an abuse case; the trial is a defining moment in his life. He reflects on the Church helping the victim and cardinal vows; the Church is corrupt.

Clergy Abuse (03:49)

Jeff Anderson has represented thousands of abuse survivors. Sipe discusses organizing a national meeting for victims at St. John's and reporting claims to Abbott Kelly. Sipe loses faith in the Church.

Church Cover-ups (02:05)

The sexual abuse of minors is only a portion of the Church's secrets; many sexual abusers hold administrative positions. Sipe can document events but cannot make them public because priests will not talk.

"Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis" (03:19)

Sipe's second book is more direct than his first. The Church tries to diminish the reality of sex in the system and fights the release of documents. "Boston Globe's" Spotlight team proves Cardinal Law is at the center of child sexual abuse cover-ups.

Documented Cases (05:27)

Sipe reflects on treating priests like people. Out of 5,000 cases of sexual abuse against minors, only 300 clergy have served time. He recalls a case involving indigenous people and a Jesuit priest. Amassing knowledge allows Sipe to help victims.

Faith and Family (06:14)

Sipe reflects on the pain of his journey. His sister disapproves of Sipe's work. His brother shares his feelings about the Church. Sipe is at peace and feels he has contributed to the understanding of issues within the Church. Sipe dies in 2018.

Credits: Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood (01:42)

Credits: Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood

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Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Sex, Lies, and the Priesthood is a documentary biopic exploring the journey of A.W. Richard Sipe — from the priesthood to becoming an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church. Sipe was a former Benedictine monk and Catholic priest, trained as a psychotherapist to deal with the mental health problems of the clergy. Over the years he worked with the records of over six thousand patients and recognized a pattern of behavior within the Church that eventually led him to exit the clergy. Upon leaving, Richard helped lift what he refers to as “the mask,” revealing the truth behind celibacy and its systemic connection to the sexual abuse of minors. In a series of provocative books, including Sex, Priests and Power, he wrote frankly and extensively about sexuality in the priesthood. He also became an expert witness for the prosecution in hundreds of clergy abuse cases. Richard has appeared in dozens of documentaries about priest sex abuse and celibacy airing on several major networks, and has been widely interviewed by news outlets and the media. He was the person The Boston Globe reporters called on for advice, as dramatized in Spotlight – the 2015 Academy Award Winner for Best Film. This is the first documentary to focus completely on Richard’s own journey. The film is directed by award-winning director Joe Cultrera.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL283011

ISBN: 979-8-88678-493-0

Copyright date: ©2021

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.