By: Meredith Anness

Organized religion, I’ve always thought, is mostly good.  It provides a motivation to be a better person, follow a moral compass, and remain a humble servant of something other than oneself.  In particular, Christianity gives its followers the promise of an everlasting life in return for good deeds and faithful following of the omnipotent God.  But what happens when one of the tenants of that religion goes against your own sense of right and wrong?  This was the dilemma I faced watching Philomena, a 2013 movie adapted from the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, published by Pan Books in 2010.  Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, it won accolades at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, and for good reason. This movie opened my eyes to a serious injustice that I believe should be recognized rather than swept under the rug. The suffering that the main character, Philomena, endured in the name of her religion and God is beyond my scope of understanding. But to me, it speaks volumes on the true devotion she had, as well as how her Irish upbringing may have affected the circumstances of her tale. In many ways, she is a typical Irish Catholic woman with an atypical story to tell. Continue reading