DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

Pope Benedict XVI led the Catholic Church into its greatest crisis since the Reformation: the global child sex abuse scandal. We tell the story of his rise and fall which is symptomatic of the failings of the Church.

We tell the story of a man who dedicated his life to preserving the Church but instead led it into its greatest crisis: Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. During his 30 years working within the Vatican he was the key figure in restoring fundamental Catholic doctrine after a brief period of modernisation in the 1960s. Our interview partners, who have all worked within the clerical system, describe how Ratzinger’s policies contributed to the dramatic loss of moral authority that the Church suffers from today. The film deals with Ratzinger’s past to understand his mind-set. We treat his key advisers – many of whom were involved in the cover-up of the global child sex abuse crisis and were implicated in corruption scandals. This is an epic story, with
a tragic hero in the central role. Ratzinger, who believed that truth could exclusively be found in the teachings of the Catholic Church and that contemporary society was lost if it did not rediscover its Catholic values, was forced to acknowledge that his greatest enemies were inside the Church, even amongst his inner circle. By the time that he became aware of his errors, he found himself surrounded by chaos and enemies, his whole world crumbling around him.

Feature Documentary / Current Affairs
Film by Christoph Röhl
Length 90’/52′ HD
Co-Production Flare Film with ZDF/3Sat and RBB, with the support of the German-Italian Co-Production Development Fund of FFA and MiBACT, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, nordmedia, German Federal Film Fund, 2019
Original Title Defender of the Faith