Among the arguments against the existence of God, pedophilia is surely one of the more compelling. Human beings are ingenious in the variety and cruelty of the sufferings we inflict upon each other, yet even St. Paul, who has a lot to say about the sins of the flesh—indeed, he is suspiciously hot on the subject—is silent in the matter of child abuse. Perhaps in the old days, as indeed in our young days, children, being mere adults-in-waiting, were considered fair game.
The narrator of The Sacrament is a French nun, Sister Johanna Marie, who in the late 1980s is sent by the Vatican to Iceland to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse at a Catholic school in Reykjavík. There have been sexual anomalies in her own life, which, along with her ability to speak the language, is precisely the reason she is sent to Iceland. For of course the Vatican wants the evidence disproved, and who better to do the dirty work than an investigator who is herself, in Pauline terms, tainted?