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Movie Review

Deliver Us from Evil

Reviewed by: Rev. Bryan Griem

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 13, 2006
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lions Gate Films

Sexual Abuse of Children by Catholic priests, article written by a survivor—Go


About the Roman Catholic priest system

A former priest explains why he left Roman Catholocism to better follow Jesus Christ

I think I was sexually abused, but I’m not sure. What is sexual abuse, and what can I do to stop the trauma I am facing now? Answer

Stories of sexual abuse

Does God feel our pain? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

Featuring: Monsignor Cain, Oliver O’Grady, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Nancy Sloan, Marie Jyono
Director: Amy Berg
Producer: Amy Berg, Matthew Cooke, Frank Donner, Hermas Lassalle
Distributor: Lions Gate Films

“For the victims, there’s no such thing as salvation.”

While not a theatrical movie with a contrived plotline and happily-ever-after conclusion, no viewer will be less than attentively rapt for the duration of “Deliver Us From Evil.” Much like witnessing a train wreck or freeway pile-up, it is hard to turn aside as the tragedy that is the subject of this film unfolds. It is a sober documentary that will at once jerk tears and raise ire among all.

Rather than a mere exposé of the recent Catholic Church pedophile scandals, director Amy Berg gets up-close and personal by focusing on just one particular Irish pedophile priest named Oliver O’Grady. O’Grady committed hundreds of sexual acts against children ranging in age from infancy to pre-pubescence. Appearing like a sort of kindly Mr. Rogers, he ingratiated himself innumerable times to unsuspecting Roman Catholic families in California, violating their trust, their faith, and their children.

Instead of removing this shameful predator from his “ministry,” the Church hierarchy chose instead to transfer their wayward son from parish to unsuspecting parish, where he would simply pick up again, abusing children, raping boys and girls alike. There is no denying the truth of the case, as the documentation and court appearances of influential Catholics are presented for all to witness, including O’Grady’s own admission.

It is incredible that this finally defrocked priest, having been deported back to his native homeland, has been so forthcoming with the lurid details of his crimes. He recounts his obsessions and behaviors with all the calm of someone half missing. Is he insane, or is this simply the final result of perversion given its full reign in a human being? Yet, he is not alone. While it finally comes out that O’Grady himself was molested as a child, and repeatedly as an altar boy by itinerate priests long ago, he is not some rogue case, that having been discovered may be simply done away. No, he is one of what may be tens of thousands of such religious wolves the world over, fully ordained as ministers of the Roman Catholic Church (according to expert testimony in the film). One particular Catholic seminary was tracked for having a full 10% of its graduates turn out as known pedophile offenders. If that is what is known, what is unknown? And what sort of spiritual climate gestates such a class of alumni?

The result of Father O’Grady’s career reads like the aftermath of a hurricane; families are torn apart, devout believers now doubt God’s existence, and emotional scars remain as open wounds in grown adults who were once innocent children. Tremendous guilt burdens the once unsuspecting parents, and unending mental anguish remains for those abused. This film will cause a stir to action, if any can.

As for language, there were a handful of expletives; the F-word about three times, greater and lesser slang for excrement, and the vulgar term for a child of an unwed mother, but somehow coming from the mouths of rape victims, especially one young man who was repeatedly sodomized, it was raw, worldly, and completely understandable. This is not a movie for kids, but for astute adults who desire to know truth, and can handle such a tough topic with vulgar reality. While most viewers have learned of the problem through the news media, those coming away from “Deliver Us From Evil” will have learned about the problem, and it will change them.

While holding a child in his arms, Jesus once said that “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt. 18:6 NIV). As well, James warned with “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1 NIV). It is a dreadful thing just contemplating the ultimate fulfillment of these dire words of God, let alone having a visual image of one man who might realize them in his own life (not to mention the illicit multitude of unnamed others who lurk about the accouterments of religious vocation).

All sin is odious before God, but it often takes a close look at human depravity to own up to ours. If anything else, the Christian who views this film will walk away with renewed resolve to serve God more faithfully. I recommend this film.

Deliver Us From Evil DVD cover
DVD cover, released May 8, 2007

Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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