Deliver us from anti-Catholic documentaries

Deliver us from anti-Catholic documentaries

Charlotte Allen reviews “Deliver Us from Evil,” the documentary on the Oliver O’Grady pedophile priest case. Allen says that the basic premise is good—to examine how a bishop and a hierarchy could allow one sick man to prey upon children for so long. Unfortunately, the filmmaker Amy Berg gets bogged down in her own anti-Catholic prejudices.

Had Berg stuck to this quadrangle of O’Grady, Mahony, the victims, and their parents, she would have had a riveting film. Instead, she decides to turn it all into a generalized anti-Catholic screed. Talking heads appear and reappear, mostly disaffected Catholic priests and victims’ lawyers, who blame priestly celibacy for the O’Grady and numerous other sex-scandals that have recently torn apart the church.

I would have thought that lack of celibacy was the problem, but the idea is that if only priests could marry, they would leave minors alone. My first thought was: So what was Mark Foley’s excuse? If only congressmen could marry…. Another culprit cited in the film is the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, the teaching that the bread and wine at Mass become Jesus’s body and blood. How’s that again? Somehow there’s supposed to be a connection, one of the talking heads explains, between denying holy communion to a politician who supports abortion and molesting a youngster.

She adds that the movie is also boring in many parts, being at least a half hour too long. Yet what it does deliver is a riveting look into the face of unrepentant evil.

... “Deliver Us From Evil” contains one not-to-be-missed episode: When O’Grady gets back into the smarmy letter-writing game and make amends to his victims by sending each an individually penned letter inviting him or her to come to Ireland for a face-to-face meeting with him. The victims’ response when they get the letters: Blechhh! My sentiments exactly.

[Thanks to Kathy Shaidle for the link.]

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1 comment
  • I would agree that the film had an agenda against celibacy, however, I would classify it as more anti-clerical, than anti-Catholic. Father O’Grady was allowed to have his say more than once, and there were taped interviews of Cardinal Mahony. Also, the hero of the movie was a Catholic priest,  Father Tom Doyle, as he went out of his way to help the victims. The movie was not perfect, but it did succeed in pointing out the negligence on the part of some Catholic bishops and their indifference to plight of children sexually abused by Catholic priests.