DELIVER US FROM EVIL centers on the story of Father Oliver OGrady, the most notorious pedophile in the history of the modern Catholic church. Devoid of any sense of shame or remorse, OGrady used his charm and authority to befriend and violate dozens of faithful Catholic families across northern California for more than two decades. His victims ranged from a 9-month-old infant to the middle-aged mother of another adolescent victim.
Despite early warning signs and complaints from several parishes, the church, in an elaborate shell game designed to avoid liability and deflect criticism, lied to parishioners and local law enforcement, while continuing to move OGrady from parish to parish.
Remarkably, DELIVER US FROM EVIL filmmaker Amy Berg tracked down Father OGrady and persuaded him to participate in the making of her film. OGradys dispassionate account of the hundreds of children he molested is deeply chilling.
PREVIEW REVIEW: Such evil deeds need to be exposed. Not just the crime, but the cover-up, as well. It is an engrossing film, but a difficult one to view, for it doesnt just expose the evil of one man put in a position of trust, but of a leadership so bent on protecting their power that they ignore crimes toward their own congregations. Make no mistake; this isnt just about the corrupting power of the Catholic hierarchy. The higher ups of every denomination of the Christian faith tend to circle the wagons in order to protect their own. It is a sad lesson, but it is a reality sincere followers of Christ must face.
On the other hand, whens the last time you saw Hollywood spotlight a clergyman known for righteous deeds? Too often such exposures are presented not merely to correct an injustice, but to arm unbelievers with fuel against organized religion. Preferring to show evil deeds rather than righteousness may not totally be the medias fault. Good news never seems to attract the ratings that wrongdoers do. And the more prurient the action, the more viewers it seems to draw.
I burst into tears more than once, hearing the pain in the victims voices and seeing the sadness in their eyes. But what really got to me was the confession of an Asian parent who had told his little girl that if a man ever hurt her, hed kill him. After the girl was abused by the priest, she was afraid to tell her father, for fear he would go to prison. Therefore, she kept this crime buried in her heart, unable to tell others. When the father found this out, it nearly destroyed him. He now blames himself.
This same man says in the film that he no longer believes in God. When this is said on screen, you see his grown daughter burst into tears. Another critic, attempting to relieve the anger and tension we all felt, said, Maybe its time to check out Buddhism. The screening was just for critics and that statement brought some titters from others. I leaned over and said, No, this is when you need to keep your eyes on Christ, not man.
(Lest you think Im seeking a pat on the back, I only mention this because I like that man, a self-proclaimed agnostic. Please lift him up in prayer. And me too, so that I will be open to the Holy Spirit when around my colleagues.)
While it is important to expose the callous behavior of some religious leaders, it is important to be reminded of the sincere desire of the many who follow Christs commands to love God and one another.
Im not Catholic, but it has been my privilege to know many of that faith who were devoted to Christ and devout in their caring for mankind. There was a priest named Father Damien who gave his life in order to better the existence of people suffering from leprosy. He literally gave his life, having contacted the disease and suffering painfully until his death. Then there was Father Flanagan who formed Boys Town, believing Theres no such thing as a bad boy. There are men of God who turn their backs on the conveniences and comforts and materialism of this world in order to love and care for their fellow man. Sadly, we are living in an era where the exposure of mans crimes is glorified, while his spiritual victories are relegated to obscure websites.