Graeme Tuckett, Stuff, 5 April 2023
This three-part Australian documentary series is a brilliant accomplishment. But it is also one of the hardest TV productions to watch I have ever encountered.
Revelation is a deep dive into the crimes and trials of the New Zealand and Australian Catholic priests who were eventually convicted of assaulting, molesting and raping children across decades. Journalist Sarah Ferguson was lauded in Australia when Revelation first aired there in 2020 and the series has picked up awards and plaudits around the world since.
It has been available here on Netflix for a few weeks now.
The main focus of Revelation is on three priests and of how their offending in the 1970s and 1980s is still impacting lives decades later. As it begins, one of the priests, now in his ‘80s, is in court again, as more complainants have come forward.
Despite the priest – Vincent Ryan – claiming he has admitted to everything he has done and identified all of his 30-plus victims, he is going to court again, to have more testimony heard and the cases against him re-visited.
Ferguson and her documentary crew were allowed to film these proceedings. The footage they have assembled for the first episode of Revelation is as unprecedented, as it is sickening.
Revelation is unflinching and brutal. What disturbed me the most, I think, was the incomprehension of the guilty men – a couple at least – of the damage they had caused, even though several suicides can be laid at their feet, and their efforts to minimise, or distract from, their evil. Even their remorse seemed too often to be performative and disingenuous.
The evil and hypocrisy in Revelation – carried out by men protected by the Catholic Church – is far ahead of anything I've ever seen in years of watching documentaries about cults and con-artists.
These men are beyond redemption.
Read the Stuff article here