Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

September 9, 2007

Deliver Us From Evil

Filed under: film, religion — codesmithy @ 8:11 am

“Deliver Us From Evil” is a documentary that investigates the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic church, although it centers around Oliver O’Grady and a few of his victims.

Oliver O’Grady is a sick man. The most striking aspect of his personality is how he disassociates himself from his acts. As if, he is sorry that they occurred, not because he actively caused them but in much the same way one would be sorry if a friend’s parent had died. He willingly admits culpability and blame, but it seems more from a rational aspect, that he realizes that the acts he committed serve all the preconditions for being wrong, not because he has some deeper remorse. This is especially apparent when he writes letters and seeks to meet with some of his victims; it rings hollow of an honest atonement.

In that respect, O’Grady is a broken individual. Although, some would argue that he could have an epiphany and come around. In reality, it seldom occurs in such cases. This sickness was bred into his behavior, so we are left more with forensic questions of: how did he become this way? How was he able to continue to victimize people?

The “how did he become this way” seemed to be more of a function of environment. O’Grady was also a victim of sexual abuse from a priest. He was also abused by his brother. The connection between the priest and the older brother is unknown. But, O’Grady later abused his sister. In this context, he goes into seminary and becomes part of a sexually repressive organization. An organization of men, who must maintain their celibacy, yet who are supposed speak on God’s behalf when it comes to number of children in the family, contraception, abortion, stem-cell research and homosexuality.

By his 30’s, O’Grady starts abusing children. Although, it seems to build. The abuse goes undetected because of the unquestioning trust that the victims have towards their priest. However, when the abuse is reported, the bishops, instead of confronting the problem, place O’Grady in another community and the cycle repeats. The sexual repression in the Catholic church also makes the issues difficult to discuss. Imagine asking the Pope if he knew about the sexual abuse, many people would object to even asking the Pope that question.

From a holy perspective, it is sacrilegious to ask the Pope about sexual abuse scandals. From a secular perspective, a true separation of church and state perspective, it is not, especially since the current Pope was in charge of division in charge of handling those allegations previously. The unflattering answer is that he probably did, although he would probably give typical “I don’t recall” responses. The organizational response of the Catholic church was to deny, cover-up, then quick admit and say it is all behind us. In that respect, I can’t help but see parallels between the church and the Bush administration. Would it then be of any surprise that the State Department under Bush grants the Pope immunity from charges stemming from sexual abuse cases?

The sad fact of the matter is the abuse is not behind the Catholic church. As an institution, they haven’t gotten to the root of the problem and weeded it out. It is a cancer, and it will resurface. When a new generation of victims arise, I’m sure people will be shocked and appalled. I don’t see why. The whole truth is that the church knew, had chances to reflect and address the issues, but instead chose to do nothing. Given the institution has a 1,600 year history, it takes a leap of faith to believe this is anything new or hasn’t happened before. The only reason it is exposed now is because of the weakened power of the Catholic church. In the past, they might have been more successful in keeping it quiet.

I would highly recommend watching the film. Although, I do feel there is a deeper message about trust and power that transcends the particular horrifying circumstances that are examined.

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