90mins and 52mins versions available starts in German cinemas October 31, 2019
DEFENDER OF THE FAITH tells the story of a man who has dedicated his life to preserving the Church but instead led it into its greatest crisis: Joseph Ratzinger, the German 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 modernization in the 1960s. The 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 advisors – many of who 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 Catholic Church and that contemporary society was lost if it did not rediscover its Catholic values, was forced in a moment of heightened crisis 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.
2019 DOK.fest Munich - DOK.panorama IFF Cologne
Cast and Crew
Director Christoph Röhl
Producer Martin Heisler
Director of Photography Julian Sarmiento G., Julia Weingarten