DOASKDOTELL MOVIE REVIEWs of Deliver Us from Evil , Hand of God, Doubt


Title:  Deliver Us from Evil

Release Date:  2006

Nationality and Language: USA

Running time: 101 min

MPAA Rating: NR given, but would correspond to R

Distributor and Production Company: LionsGate, Disarming Films

Director; Writer: Amy Berg

Producer: Amy Berg


Technical: Full 1.85 to 1    (regular stereo)

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site:   pedophilia, Catholicism

This chilling documentary gives the 25+ year history of the coverup of the massive pedophilia abuses by priest Father Oliver O’Grady in the central California valley. The diocese would “pass the trash” and move him around to keep the police and even the higher up officials from finding out, despite multiple complaints over many years.


O’Grady, now in his 60s and deported to Ireland after serving seven years in prison, sounds nonchalant about his crimes. He even contemplates writing them all and inviting them all to some kind of “reunion.”


Toward the end, many of the victims make a trip to Rome and attempt to get into the Vatican to take up the problem, but the Church refuses.


The film does document the philosophical issues well. The film maintains that nothing in the Gospels mandates priesthood celibacy, but that the Church instituted it around the 5th Century to keep church officials from passing on wealth to children. The Church would justify this with the idea that celibacy is a special spiritual calling from God for otherwise robust heterosexual men. (An associated practice for centuries would be simony and the sale of indulgences.) The practice of the church tended to preach sexual inhibition and to discourage the normal male heterosexual spontaneity that leads to interest in marriage, procreation and lineage – despite Church teachings on the virtues of these family values. In time, the priesthood tended to attract men who had difficulty with psychosexual maturity, gender complementarity, and with the competitiveness normally expected of men.


The Vatican, since the 1980s, has tried to characterize the pedophilia issue as a homosexual problem. O’Grady perpetrated a variety of acts against underage, pre-pubescent boys and girls, some of them graphically described in the film. A large percentage of priesthood pedophilia crimes have been against girls (heterosexual), contrary to popular conception. The film takes the position that the culture of the church itself hinders normal development in many young men.


The Vatican, we all know, makes a lot of openness to procreation and gender complementarity (along with abstinence until marriage) in its teachings, with the recoil that homosexuality is an “objective disorder” but perhaps genetic or biological and a special spiritual challenge for those “afflicted.” Emotional complementarity can be cast as a moral duty owed by anyone to his family for raising him or her. Those who shun it could fall into suspicion or guilt by association or prejudice. Nevertheless, the actual crimes committed during the priesthood scandal have claimed victims in the hundreds of thousands and cost the Church over a billion dollars in legal claims so far.


Jaqueline L. Salmon, of The Washington Post, reports on Dec. 4, 2006, "Herndon Warned of Accused Pedophile: Victims Groups Make Door-to-Door Visits," here, that "members of two groups representing victims of abusive Catholic priests" went door-to-door with 38-page packets in Herndon, VA (Fairfax County) with information about accusations against a 56-year-old priest by the diocese of Wilmington, DE. More details at this link.


Hand of God (2006, PBS Frontline, dir. Joe Cultrera, website) is a documentary of the coverup of the sexual abuse of  Paul Cultrera, and explanation of how in the 1960s the priest would gradually manipulate boys in confession to bring them under his wing, and get them into intimate situations where he could abuse them. Then, many years later, he takes action against the archdiocese as the litigation based on past scandals mounts, even for incidents that happened thirty years ago. 


Doubt (2008, Miramax, dir. wr. play by John Patrick Stanley, 102 min). In 1964, a schoolmaster nun and priest face off when the nun suspects the priest of abusing an African American boy. It's a battle between Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep. Blogger.


Discussion of Catholic views of homosexuality

Related reviews:. Student seduction (and similar films)    The Confessor


Return to movies (reviews)

Return to home page


Email me at