Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Deliver Us From Evil


I’d better warn you. This is going to get nasty. If you are a Catholic who believes the church hierarchy is somehow above you, better than you are (which is what they believe, it’s doctrine; look it up!), then I’m giving you an especially strong warning. Get out of here while you can, before I insult everything you believe in. Go somewhere else. (I recommend Agnus Dei.) Of course, if your faith is strong, if you believe that what the high men of the church do is invariably for the good, if they truly can do no wrong, as is said of the Pope, and you have a thick skin about it … well, then, tighten up your cilice, get your scourge handy, and hold onto your rosary, because it’s going to be a bumpy review …

I despise the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Let me add two caveats to soften that just a little. 1) I despise a lot of churches. Practically all of them. 2) I have nothing against individual Catholics, the laity. I judge them as individuals, as I judge anyone else. Don’t shove your religion in my face, and we’ll get along fine. It’s the hierarchy, from the priesthood, to the bishop-pricks, to the Kollege of Kardinals, to the Pimp himself (sorry, I meant Pope), that I abominate. I am willing to admit that there are probably a great number of truly good men on the priestly level, but by the time you get to be a bishop you are, by definition, an ass-kisser, political, corrupt, and willing to lie and cover up for “the good of the Church,” and individuals be damned. And the priests, even the good ones, take orders from these shitheads, so how good can they be?

It is the Roman Catholic Church, with the emphasis on Roman. Never forget that. Rome began as a republic, and ended up a dictatorship. The early church, with a small c, was believers getting together and worshipping. Then some people got the idea of patterning Christianity on the most successful institution of its day: The Roman Empire. The Empire was organized from the top down. Emperor, Praetorian Guard, legions, cohorts … I’m no historian, I don’t know the chain of command, but the Empire was clearly the model for the Catholic Church. It is paternalistic, absolutist. It brooks no argument, no dissent. It is, literally, infallible! There is nothing, not one word, in the Bible about any of this. It was all evolved in the first few centuries AD. You don’t question orders from the top, and you do anything and everything to preserve the Unit, the Corps, and God. Wait a minute … isn’t that the Marine Corp ethic? Well, it should sound familiar, as the Church is a profoundly military organization. There is another organization that the Church very much resembles, also patterned on the Roman Empire. That organization is the Mafia.

One of the most peculiar institutions of the Church is celibacy. Again, there is nothing in the Bible about this. Jesus did not advocate it. In fact, for the first four centuries of its existence, priests were allowed to marry. Then some enterprising Pope (I don’t know which one) had a brainstorm. Priests were leaving their estates to their eldest sons, just like everybody else did. But if they couldn’t marry, couldn’t reproduce … hmmmm. The Church could get all of it! Which is precisely what they did, and began amassing wealth that, 1600 years later, is obscene … and all un-taxed in the USA!

I mention all this to get to the core of the problem, as laid out in this excruciating film. What sort of Army of Christ do you get when you only allow celibate men into the ranks? You get men who know nothing of sex, nothing of women, nothing of relationships between the sexes. You get Church doctrine that views all sex except that between husband and wife as equally sinful, whether it’s a roll in the hay with a pretty secretary, “sodomy” between two consenting men, bestiality … or raping a nine-month-old infant. All the same sin, all forgivable. You get a large complement of homosexuals, who enjoy the company of other men and who must suppress their natural urges just as their straight brethren.

And you get pedophiles. Of course you do, just as you get them in the Boy Scouts. Pedophiles go where the children are, and there are children in parochial schools and in the church itself. Any rational organization would be on the lookout for these monsters, and would have evolved ways to deal with them. But though the Church (any church) is not rational, by definition, they have evolved a way to deal with these situations, and it’s a simple one:

1) Cover it up.
2) Never talk about it.
3) Move the offender to another parish.
4) Praise God!

Yeah, I hear they have a special retreat or two where they send baby-raping priests, where they can contemplate their sins, confess, get right with God … and then what? Back to another parish? Very likely. In fact, few priests get sent to these places. Most are just shipped off to another unsuspecting congregation, with no warning from the diocese, which has full and certain knowledge of the man’s crimes.

It all worked pretty well for a long, long time. Now it’s blowing up in the Church’s face like a nuclear bomb filled with pigshit. Can you say hallelujah!!!

This movie centers around a piece of human garbage named Oliver O’Grady, who molested children all over Northern California from 1971 to 1991, with the full knowledge of the diocese, which kept shuttling him from church to church. His victims included, by his own admission, a nine-month-old girl. Three victims and the family of one victim were willing to come forward and tell their stories, and they are heartbreaking beyond belief. O’Grady himself agreed to be interviewed, and he admits everything, almost cheerfully. He is living well back in his native Ireland, with no restrictions whatever on his behavior, on a pension provided by a beneficent Church. He is sorry for “what happened.” “It never should have happened,” he says. They should have stopped him. This passive voice is common among sociopaths who have done the unthinkable. Something “happened.” It happened to me, as much as it “happened” to my victims. I believe that once, once, in this whole film, he actually steps up to the plate and says “I’m sorry for what I did.” Must have been a slip of the tongue. He even writes letters to his victims, inviting them to Ireland to discuss how he ruined their lives. I assume he expects to perform an act of contrition—a few dozen Hail Marys, maybe—and then there’ll be hugs all around! His victims are way beyond revolted by his gesture. They see it—properly, I believe—as just one more attempt to get under their skins, to twist the knife one more time.

In the reviews I read much is made of the horror, the supreme ickiness, of watching this man talk about what “happened” to him and the children he raped. And it’s true, it is stomach-turning on a level Hannibal Lector never achieved. But most of the reviewers seem to have missed, or minimized, the true horror scenes here, and that is the spectacle of seeing the higher-ups in the Church—only two of them, and in the form of depositions that are on the public record and thus beyond their control—testifying in the civil cases brought by the families … and lying, lying, lying. The liar-in-chief is a man who, in my book, has committed crimes that dwarf the things done by that pathetic turd O’Grady, and that is then-Bishop, now Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony. He has lied to his parishioners, to police, in depositions, on the witness stand, to reporters (when he will talk at all), and to the families of victims. The only person he has not lied to, it seems, is then-Cardinal Ratfucker (now Pope Benedict), and in the LA Times this very day I find this, concerning the on-going and (I hope) everlasting shitstorm surrounding all Catholic
affairs in the US:

{{The ruling from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley J. Fromholz [allowing plaintiffs to seek punitive damages] came in the case of Father Lynn Caffoe, 61, who is accused of molesting children in the period from 1975 to 1991, when he was withdrawn from the ministry and sent for psychological treatment. The trial over his alleged abuse is set for August.
In making his decision, Fromholz cited Cardinal Mahony’s alleged misrepresentation of a videotape that was discovered in Caffoe’s bedroom in 1992.
Mahony wrote to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, that Caffoe had videotaped “partially naked” boys in a state of sexual arousal. The tape was “objective verification that criminal behavior did occur,” Mahony wrote, according to papers filed in the Caffoe litigation in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Six months later, Mahony told parishioners, in a written report which he described as the “fullest possible disclosure” about the sex abuse scandal, that the videotape depicted “improper behavior” with high school boys. But Mahony then said that the boys were “fully clothed” and that there was no sexual activity.}}
Lie, lie, lie. Still lying, still Cardinal. This is a holy man? This man, my Catholic friends, is somehow better than you? I submit that he is worse than O’Grady and Caffoe, because we presume that these sick men were unable to stop their vile compulsions. But Mahony simply covered up their crimes and sent them off to rape more children … knowing that these creeps would do so! Which is the greater crime? Which makes your skin crawl more? It’s no contest with me. It is the sick old men who run the Church who have committed the deed, just as if they themselves had shoved their atrophied old pricks up the ass of that infant girl …

Having said all that, I guess I’d better establish my bone fides. I was raised Protestant. Lutheran, in fact. You know, the church named for that troublesome fellow who caused all that ruckus back in the 16th Century, when the Catholic Church was engaged in some practices that now even they admit were a bit extreme, perhaps a tad corrupt. Luther shook things up, and many atrocities were committed by both sides. The protesters split off and became many sects, while the juggernaut of the Church rolled merrily on, a bit smaller but hardly less powerful, though its territory was halved. So I was brought up to be deeply suspicious of popery, graven images, mass, confession, nuns. Does this color my thinking? Possibly, a little, but I must add that I despise many Protestant denominations as much as I do the Catholic Church, though in different ways. The difference is, if you’re Protestant there is a range of options open to you, from the unbridled bigotry of the Southern Baptists and Evangelicals, to the easy-going Unitarians. If you’re Catholic, you obey all Church doctrines or get excommunicated, end of story. Nowhere else to go.

It’s all coming home to roost now, though. These serial scandals, from Boston to Portland to Los Angeles—well, there is no diocese that isn’t in deep trouble—have cost the Church billions so far, with no end in sight. The Diocese of San Diego had to declare bankruptcy. There are 500 lawsuits in Los Angeles alone. With punitive damages now authorized, the awards could be in the millions for each plaintiff.
I tell you what, boys. It’s time to come clean, it’s time to do the right thing, all the way up to Rome. It’s time to cleanse your souls, and maybe—just maybe—St. Peter will go easy on you. It is said that the various diocesan treasuries are cash-poor, but rich in land. I know what the Church’s knee-jerk reaction will be when faced with multiple billions in settlements: Hell, just ask the peons in South America to double their contributions. A few years of that, we’ll be sitting pretty again. That’s what your wealth is built on these days, anyway, the sweat of the poor.
Not this time. It’s time for the world’s biggest garage sale. Hang a sign on the Vatican:


Put it all out there on the piazza on card tables. The vestments, the mitres, the crowns, the jewels, the picture frames, the Swiss Guards, the Pieta, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the extensive collection of pornographic sno-globes, the 24-carat bingo cages. When you’re cash-poor, you sell your stuff, and the Catholic Church has one of the world’s most impressive collections of stuff. Lease the Vatican to Disney for 99 years, let them develop Inquisition World and keep a portion of the gate. Sell cathedrals and churches around the world. Buy some old tents, do like the southern revival preachers do. Rent the pope a 5th-floor cold water walk-up on the Via Veneto, or in Rome, Georgia. Let him get back to the people, see what they think about shielding child molesters.

Okay, I shouldn’t have played it for laughs there, but I couldn’t resist. But I am dead serious. Make the sons of bitches pay. It’s the right thing to do.
Oh, and the movie? … it’s damn good. You must see it, if you can stand to.