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A can of worms is opened within the Irish Catholic Church following two controversial incidents, the suicide of Frank Sweeney, a parish priest and the expulsion of Daniel McLaughlin, a young trainee priest from a nearby seminary, on the grounds that he was open to the sexual advances of a male colleague. A local journalist, David Foley, is convinced that Sweeney's death and Daniel's expulsion are linked. Desperate to clear his good name and be re-instated, Daniel agrees to talk to Foley. As the story gathers momentum, the Church closes ranks. Written by
First of all, I would like to comment on that review that characterized the maker of this movie as "a devout Catholic." Perhaps he is, but you'd never know it from this movie. Authority and obedience are portrayed as outdated and inflexible rituals rather than, as the Church teaches, a MEANS to the end: a moral life and therefore a good death. No, in this puff piece, "rights" and revolt are the safeguards of Christian moral teachings.
It's a real shame, too, because I was really hopeful that someone had finally done a piece about the general crisis in the priesthood without either whitewashing the depth and the gravity of the problem (as do most so-called "conservative" dupes) or calling for a radicalization of immutable Catholic doctrine and its underlying philosophy (as pretty much every run-of-the-mill left-liberal idiot in the "mainstream" media has done). There have been many bishops who have abused their authority and many priests who have done terrible things. And there is a serious accountability problem.
It's also a shame that a film with such high production value - very good directing and acting - had a script that falls back time and again on salacious voyeurism and trite contemporary banalities such as "I have a right to be here!" But there is one good didactic thing to take away from that moment. For a Catholic, to see a young seminarian protest so and then his seminary director reply coldly, "Not in here, you don't" is as much a sad reflection of the failing of the director as it is a pathetic portrait of the young man's effeminacy: why did the director not make it a point to emphasize the virtue of obedience to his seminarians first thing and thereby avoid having to hear them spit out such false nonsense? Why and how did he fail to establish a relationship of trust with them? The film never explores those questions.
And please, before anyone tries to give me the answer I think you're thinking, let me ask: how would "change" in the Church, through a more "liberal" and "democratic" ecclesiastical government, make the people more trusting of Church leaders? (Consider that the democratically elected U.S. Congress is one of the least-respected institutions in its country.)
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