They spent their lives following their vocation. As priests, they preached unconditional love, the sacrificing of both body and soul. But slowly, their doubts started to grow. Why is it that they felt forced to leave the church without looking back, in order to keep their faith alive? The story of three former priests, a Belgian, an Austrian and a German, is related through three intimate confessions, juxtaposed with the filmmaker’s own personal story.
In the 1960s, a little boy went to mass with his parents. During the communion, he started vomiting. What could he have been throwing up?
The boy is now a filmmaker and he looks back on this incident. For this, he meets three priests who chose – or were forced – to cut ties with the Church.
They thought that the word “religion” meant religare – “to bond” – or “love”. They thought that the Church meant compassion and they thought that it served spirituality. But they came upon something else, even exclusion.
To preserve their faith, they had to leave the Church.
These three sinners became all the more committed, but they never went kneeling down to ask forgiveness.
There is a fourth testimony, that of a woman. The Church never rejected her, because it never accepted her. She stigmatises this basic inequality, reminding us that there is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit just as there is the mother and daughter.
Through its sincerity and the space it gives to faith and religious feelings, the film puts the Church among people where it should be and has long forgotten to be.
Three former priests answer the director’s questions frankly and with no false modesty.