The Two Edges of Forgiveness: Difficult Thoughts Offered with Difficulty

In a scene from the 2014 film Calvary, the protagonist priest, Fr. James, sits sullen at the town pub after having returned from visiting in prison a locally infamous young rapist and serial killerand former pupil. Inspector Stanton hears mention of the meeting and at once earnest and accusing presses for the reason of Fr. James’ visit. To this day Freddie Joyce has refused to divulge the location of his last victim’s body, leaving an open wound for the people of County Sligo. ‘Prisoners deserve spiritual guidance as much as anyone else. Maybe more so,’ Fr. James defends, stoic. Offended, Stanton replies bitterly, ‘Is that right? So they can find God and then say God has absolved them of all their sins and what they did didn’t really matter anyways ’cause now they’re saved?’  Continue reading

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‘Calvary’ and the Importance of Being Pointless

Spoilers follow. You have been warned.

Having seen 2014’s Calvary for the first time last night I’m still trying to judge whether it’s simply a very good film or an excellent one. I had little love for McDonagh’s previous movie, The Guard, which I found pretty meandering and irrelevant, so I wasn’t expecting Calvary to be half as earnest as it was about seemingly so much. At the same time, I’m just as surprised at the strong reviews it’s received, convinced as I am that it cannot mean half as much to someone outside of ministry. Continue reading