DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2006)- Movie Review

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A compelling exposé about the ongoing pedophilia of Father Oliver O’Grady and extensive child abuse by the Catholic clergy.

Fall From Grace

In her Academy Award nominated (2006) documentary, Deliver Us From Evil, director Amy Berg uses gripping testimony by victims, interviews with expert witnesses and archival footage to reveal the Catholic Church’s shocking cover up of ongoing incidents of child abuse by members of the clergy.

The film focuses specifically on the case of Father Oliver O’Grady, the notorious pedophile priest who raped and sodomized hundreds of boys and girls aged nine months through adolescence, and one adolescent victim’s mother, over the course of 20 years.

During this time, church superiors avoided exposure to scandal by reassigning O’Grady from one California parish to another, never punishing him, failing to prevent his ongoing predatory behavior and never protecting parishioners from his ongoing abhorrent abuse.

Adequate Punishment?

O’Grady was eventually tried and put in jail. After being released from prison, he was deported to Ireland, where he currently lives comfortably in retirement. He is still ordained, enjoys his pension and roams freely.

Berg’s recent interviews with O’Grady show the priest’s flippant attitude. Oozing indifference, he is utterly without remorse about his heinous behavior and the devastation he caused his victims and their families.

In contrast, as they recall O’Grady’s actions, the victims and their families erupt with anguish and anger-—and enormous frustration that there’s been no prosecution of Los Angeles’ Cardinal Roger Mahoney who, according to the film, knew of O’Grady’s crimes but did nothing to stop them.

After seeing and listening to the victims’ testimony about what happened, it is very easy to understand and empathize with their rage: Mahoney still rules the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Supreme Denial

The film traces the trail of deceit and shame all the way to Pope Benedict XVI, who has been accused of conspiracy to cover up the crimes. According to the film, the Vatican asked President Bush to grant the Pontiff immunity from prosecution—-and got it.

Yet, the film shows us that when O’Grady’s victims and their families traveled to Rome to petition the Pope for mercy and justice, they were turned away from the Vatican without an audience.

The Church declined to be interviewed for the documentary.

Calling for Public Awareness

Like many documentaries, Deliver Us From Evil has a focused and transparent agenda. Director Berg wants to raise public awareness about the unacceptable situation. She reinforces and substantiates her important message by interviewing theologians, lawyers, psychologists and other experts about clergy child abuse.

Especially alarming are experts’ statements that the Church’s only solution for ending child abuse by its clergy has been to scapegoat homosexual priests–although, as the film reports, there have been no known cases of pedophilia by gay clergy.

Further, as victim Leslie Sloan points out, Church superiors indicate they consider molestation of boys “obscene,” while they deem abuse of girls to be “normal curiosity.”

Deliver Us From Evil stands out from the pack of moralistic documentaries because of its compelling stories of individual victims and their families who were devastated by O’Grady’s abuse.

Bob Jyono’s expression of pain and guilt about not suspecting that his daughter was being raped by his trusted family priest and friend is heartbreaking, as is his daughter’s confession that she’s not been able to forget, forgive, nor marry because of what O’Grady did to her.

The film manages to deliver viewers to the point of moral outrage regarding clergy abuse—Catholic or not.

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