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By Andrew L. Urban
It was shortly after 1.20pm on November 23, 2004 during his deposition that interviewer Jeff Donaldson put this question to Cardinal Roger Mahony: “If it had come to your attention that Father O’Grady had told your vicar general that he had sexual urges towards a 9 year old, or a 10 year old, or an 11 year old, is that cause to remove him from ministry?”

“No.” replied the Cardinal, with hardly a pause. He is still Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The interview – of which this exchange is just one part - is included (complete with date and time stamp) in Amy Berg’s 2006 documentary, Deliver Us From Evil (released in Australia on May 10, 2007). The documentary focuses on Father Oliver O’Grady, a dangerously active paedophile who was moved from one parish to another in Northern California during the 1970s and 1980s, despite the fact the Church hierarchy – including Mahoney, who was a Bishop in California at the time -was aware of his activities. Indeed, that was why O’Grady was being moved around to parishes unaware of his history. He quickly won each congregation’s trust and respect wherever he went and countless children were abused and some even raped during this time. Now, after a 7 year prison sentence, O’Grady lives free in Ireland.

"the many instances of abuse and cover up that have finally started to shake the Vatican"

The Oscar nominated film methodically documents the many instances of abuse and cover up that have finally started to shake the Vatican – just before Easter (2010), as it happens, in what Catholics may see as a sign that it’s again a time for cleansing of sins. Now, just days after Easter, commentators around the world, inside and outside the Catholic Church, are urging a purging – a confession, at the very least, to begin the healing process. The Church, after all, should know all about the power of the confession.

"when then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was in charge of the Vatican’s special watchdog unit "

Berg’s film also records how a substantial report was prepared for the Catholic Bishops of America 25 years ago about the extent of child abuse by priests; this was the time when then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was in charge of the Vatican’s special watchdog unit (1978 – 2005) responsible for monitoring child abuse by its priests. Nothing was done; the report was buried. The film might have spurred the Church to at least engage with the issue – but they refused the opportunity of an interview.

It must be frustrating for someone like Amy Berg to see outrage taking so long to reach Rome.

Filmmakers have a track record of probing important issues and those who do so in pursuit of the truth (not their own agendas) perform a vital public service; we shouldn’t ignore them or trivialise their work. Deliver Us From Evil is a great title – and also a call to action. But justice delayed is justice denied: maybe it should have been titled Deliver Us From Evil – Today.

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Pope Benedict XVI

LATE BREAKING NEWS, 13/4/2010: PRIEST CALLS ON POPE TO RESIGN "The pope should step down if he's not prepared to embrace the truth relative to this matter," said Rev. James Scahill of East Longmeadow, Massachusettes, US, according to a CNN report. "I would think he is not being truthful."

Cardinal Mahony

Review by Louise Keller

Amy Berg Interview

Deliver Us From Evil - official site
Pope poster defaced with Hitler moustache reports The Guardian, as Pope visits Malta this week

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