AWARDS: * Special Jury Prize - Cartagena
* Audience Award - Créteil
* Prix Spécial du Jury au Festival International de Carthagène Inde
* Best Film - Festival Mix Mexico
* Special Jury Mention - Festival de Krakow IFF
* Best Documentary - Havana Film Festival
* Mention Spéciale du Jury au Festival International de Guadalajara
* Mention Spéciale du Jury au Festival des Rencontres du Cinéma Latino de Toulouse
Agnus Dei: Lamb of God
Human Interest, Religion, Sexuality, Social Issues, Youth
Running time |
84’ - 52’
La Femme Endormie, Imcine & Pepa Films
Agnus Dei, Lamb of God is a documentary that interweaves the life of Jesús Romero, the life of
José Barba, and the life inside a Minor Catholic seminar.
Jesús Romero was an acolyte when the priest of his church sexually abused him when he was
11. His mother, a very devoted catholic, yearning for his son to one day become a priest, leaves
him at Church where the abuses continued for several years.
One day Jesús finds out that the priest exchanges nude photos he had taken of him in a child
pornography ring; he also finds out that he is sexually abusing other children. After going
through contradictory crises and syndromes, product of the trauma derived from this love‐hate
relationship with his aggressor, he decides to legally denounce him, face him in person, and
make public his story.
The story of Jesús is a victim's story, undertaking a battle against the indifference and
corruption of the Catholic Church, against the complicity of the judges obstructing the legal
process to protect predatory priests, and also a battle against himself, trying to leave behind his
fragility as a victim and face his aggressor to break free of the past that stole his childhood and
Jesús tries to rebuild his life; tries to get back the love that he once had for Doña Esperanza, his
mother, who, trying to give her son to God, gave him to a priest who is still preaching in spite of
the scandal and the legal process against him. Doña Esperanza is still a devoted Catholic, she
sees her son's painful story as a test God put her through. Jesús actually studies psychology
trying to understand the labyrinths of his life and to rescue other childhoods in order to save
himself and re‐invent his own life.
José Barba is a 75 year‐old man that studied in the Colegio Massimo de la Legión de Cristo in
Rome, where the chosen disciples are "taught into Christ's style and distinguished as the King's
sons," according to those same Legionnaires.
José narrates that his school was run with tight discipline, a “soul control”. The spiritual guide
and founder of the Marcel Maciel Legion controlled their readings, for not all religious texts
were approved. The incoming and outgoing mail was supervised without questioning, the
student's coexistence had to be minimal and discrete. José narrates that this was like
"something like an archipelago of loneliness, where nothing belonged to anyone, not even their
own words. Each one of those young Legionnaires lived consumed by their own silence."
A year and a half later after enrolling in school, José is sexually abused by father Maciel, who
commands him silence and justifies himself to the boy by telling him that he suffers from
several pain in his lower abdomen. The experience repeats itself a second time one Holy
Saturday, when Maciel calls José into the infirmary.
This time he didn't have to ask for silence. After being in the dark for several hours he just said
"the choirs can be heard now in the chapel. Go upstairs, put on your uniform and join the
Several teens were abused systematically by father Maciel, it's said that there were more than
200 children and young men. Now most of them are old men over 75. More than forty years had
to pass for them to finally denounce him legally. José Barba is the one who first dared to do so,
and the one who reunites the other former Legionnaires, they come together to ask for justice
by narrating the tragic stories that marked their existence.
Father Maciel has died and the Vatican offers only indifference and forgetfulness while José
Barba can't leave things behind; instead, he spends a large part of his life writing articles and
giving conferences about the Legion of Christ and corruption in the highest hierarchies of the
Some images of life in a Minor Seminary go by as José’s and Jesus’ stories interweave. The
spiritual guide of the seminary, Father Ramón, teaches his disciples about the need to mortify
the body, about how terrible it is to live in an erotized world, and about chastity and celibacy as
the most important qualities of Angels; while young men, almost children, take notes on how to
learn to be like Christ on Earth and someday become priests themselves.