Deliver us from evil

Deliver us from evil

A few days ago I mentioned Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles’ connections to a self-acknowledged serial pedophile priest (strictly speaking, he is a pedophile). In connection with that I said I would mention a new documentary about the case and others.

The movie is called “Deliver Us From Evil,” and while it focuses mainly on Mahony and abuse in dioceses where he’s been bishop, Los Angeles and Stockton, it appears to take a wider view as well. I’m afraid that while the documentary may have some good elements—including the videos of Mahony’s depositions—it may also be flawed because of the sensationalism it tries.

In the trailer at least, Pope Benedict is pictured as if he was part of the cover-up, rather than an important element in the efforts to deal with the Scandal.

What’s most disturbing though, is how the film crew interviews Oliver O’Grady, the laicized priest who exchanged friendly letters with Mahony after having been discovered as a pervert in Stockton in the 1980s when Mahony was bishop there. O’Grady was convicted and deported back to Ireland where the documentarians found him. They interview him at a playground surrounded by children as he leers at them and talks about his sexual urges toward them. It’s creepy, disgusting, and irresponsible on the part of the film crew. It’s like taking an alcoholic to a bar to talk about how much he wants to drink the beers he sees. He may not indulge on camera, but what happens after the film crew leaves and the feelings remain?

I think it’s fine to do a documentary on the Scandal as long as we have a reasonable hope that it will be truthful and evenhanded and that it isn’t lurid and sensationalistic. I’m not sure we can say that of this movie.

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1 comment
  • The movie is about Father Oliver O’Grady and his monstrous abuse of young girls and boys, and how their lives were destroyed by his sexual abuse and by the subsequent coverup by the Catholic hierarchy. In a disgusting admission, Father O’Grady admits on screen that he is a deviant who is attracted to children. It was disturbing to see the way that a Catholic priest such as Father O’Grady would molest and rape five year old children and then how in the movie he playfully described his subsequent confession of his sin. He speaks softly in an Irish accent as he describes on screen in graphic detail how he confessed a horrific sin against a child and then with a broad smile on his face he announces that he was granted absolution, and that his sin was absolved. The broad smile on his face seems to indicate that Father O’Grady thinks of the confession as a joke and the disgusting impression left by his description of the confession is that it was the easiest thing in the world to confess to these heinous and hideous crimes against children and be absolved from them. According to the movie, Cardinal Mahony knew of the monstrous crimes of Father O’Grady but chose to cover them up and to bounce Father from one parish to another. One nice thing about the movie was the portrayal of Father Tom Doyle, hard at work helping victims cope with the unseemly maneuvering of Churchmen.