Deliver Us from Evil Amy Berg

It would be merely redundant to hurl epithets at a man like Oliver O’Grady. In his role as priest for a number of California churches, he managed to worm his way into families, gain their trust then molest their children with such success that his victims number in the hundreds.

He incredibly consented to be interviewed for Amy Berg’s Deliver Us from Evil and his matter-of-fact recounting of his horrible offences is unavoidably chilling. But though one can sadly predict the dissociative techniques by which he lives with his crimes, you expect a little better from the Catholic authorities. Instead of turning their wayward father over to the police, they chose instead to pass him around from community to community so that he could re-offend, adding up to one of the worst cases of sexual abuse in the modern history of the church.

As victims are interviewed and depositions of higher-ups are offered as evidence, the inescapable truth is that the Catholic elite are more interested in careerism and protection of their authority than actually reaching out to their violated parishioners. Berg’s documentary is extremely sensitive in its approach to the material — bolstered by the unbelievable participation of O’Grady and some of the brave souls on whom he preyed, it shows how by fighting lawsuits and refusing to acknowledge wrongdoing the church repeatedly re-abuses the victims.

Though it gets a bit wonky when it tries to offer unconvincing explanations of the high rate of paedophiles in the priesthood, it’s still a damning and necessary film that will deepen your understanding of what goes on behind the sensational headlines — that is, the human cost of indifference and self-involvement.

(Maple)