Even before the first frame of film was exposed, director/writer Amy Berg took a dishonest approach to her project. Berg and her staff approached an elementary school in Ireland under the false pretense that they were filming a documentary on “multiculturalism.” (O’Grady was born in Ireland, and he was deported to there in 2001.) Berg wanted to stir the emotions of her audience by filming the pedophile O’Grady leering at small children on a playground and talking about how children sexually arouse him.
To make matters worse, after the school granted her permission, Berg filmed children with their name tags clearly identifiable. A member of Berg’s crew later admitted that they neither sought nor were given permission to use pictures of the children. When the filmmakers later informed the school that their footage would be used for a film about O’Grady, the school “categorically refused” the request. But what did Berg do? She used the footage anyway.
Especially slanted were interview segments in the film when they dealt with Church and theological issues. The film includes several troubling interview segments with Fr. Thomas Doyle, an alleged Catholic priest. His presentations on issues such as the structure of the Church (a “monarchy”?), the history of the Church, the role of the laity, the training of seminarians, and the Eucharist are simply wrong and are not in alignment with official Church teaching. For example, Fr. Doyle states that the Church’s requirement of celibacy – a big target of the film – “is not justified anywhere in the Gospels or in the life and times and sayings of Christ.” Yet the Bible clearly quotes Jesus praising the gift of celibacy in the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 19:12), and Paul unequivocally encourages celibacy in his First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 7). That a man espousing to be a Catholic priest could air such a blatant falsehood (in a “documentary,” no less) should be disturbing to any serious Catholic.
Meanwhile, California attorney John Manly airs a number of falsehoods. For example, he claims that the Church teaches, “[I]f you are not in communion with the church you are damned to hell.” A cursory look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 846-848, rebuts this assertion. Meanwhile, the “theologian” of the film, Patrick Wall, doesn’t bother correct Manly. This is no surprise, however, because Wall is actually one of his employees.