Deliver Us from Evil
Father Oliver O'Grady talks with a pleasing Irish lilt, but it's an uncomfortable experience to hear him speak. "I don't always do the right things, obviously not," he says. O'Grady is referring to his past as a pedophile. The priest spent over two decades preying on children in various Catholic parishes in California. O'Grady's remorse never seems to match the magnitude of his crimes, and his mild self-admonishment feels monstrous. In her Oscar-nominated documentary Deliver Us from Evil, Amy Berg tells the story of O'Grady's abuse, and the Catholic church's complicity in covering it up. Several of O'Grady's superiors at the church knew what he was doing, Berg asserts. They responded by continually switching O'Grady from one church to another, to avoid creating scandal and jeopardizing their own rise to religious power. The church declined to speak with Berg, which weakens the film somewhat. But this is a mild criticism—the documentary is fascinating. Berg uses court testimony from church officials; chilling interviews with O'Grady, his now-adult victims and their shattered parents; and the accounts of lawyers, Catholic church experts and psychologists to capably chronicle the cover-up of one man's crimes, and the larger-scale problem that such concealment represents.