A Catholic school principal questions a priest's ambiguous relationship with a troubled young student.

Father Brendan Flynn: Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty. When you are lost, you are not alone.
Father Brendan Flynn: A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew - I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' she asked the old man. 'Was that God All Mighty's hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered her. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you gut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' she said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' she said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!'
[last lines]
Sister Aloysius: Sister James...
Sister James: What is it, Sister?
Sister Aloysius: [crying] I have doubts. I have such doubts.
Father Brendan Flynn: [to Sister James] There are people who go after your humanity, Sister, that tell you that the light in your heart is a weakness. Don't believe it. It's an old tactic of cruel people to kill kindness in the name of virtue.
Father Brendan Flynn: You have no right to act on your own! You have taken vows, obedience being one! You answer to us! You have no right to step outside the church!
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: I will step outside the church if that's what needs to be done, 'til the door should shut behind me! I will do what needs to be done, though I'm damned to Hell! You should understand that, or you will mistake me.
Father Flynn: Where is your compassion?
Sister Aloysius: Nowhere you can get at it.
Father Brendan Flynn: I can fight you.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: You will lose.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [to Sister James] What have you seen?
Sister James: It is unsettling to look at people with suspicion. I feel less close to God.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: When you take a step to address wrongdoing, you are taking a step away from God, but in his service. What have you seen?
Sister James: I don't think Father Flynn did anything wrong.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: You just want things to be resolved so you can have simplicity back.
Father Brendan Flynn: You haven't the slightest proof of anything!
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: But I have my certainty! And armed with that, I will go to your last parish, and the one before that if necessary. I'll find a parent.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: James Hurley, what are you doing out of class?
Jimmy Hurley: Sister James sent me down.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: For what?
Jimmy Hurley: Talking.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Well, go back up and SHUT UP!
Sister James: How can you be so sure that he is lying?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Experience.
Sister James: You just don't like him! You don't like it that he uses a ballpoint pen. You don't like it that he takes 3 lumps of sugar in his tea. You don't like it that he likes Frosty the Snowman and you are letting that convince you? Of something that's terrible... Just terrible...
Sister James: [Exasperated] Well, I like Frosty the Snowman!
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [to Father Flynn] I have no sympathy for you. I know you are invulnerable to true regret.
[long pause]
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: And cut your nails.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: What happened in the rectory?
Father Brendan Flynn: Happened? Nothing happened. I had a talk with a boy.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: About what?
Father Brendan Flynn: Private matter.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: He's twelve years old, what could be "private"?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Look at that. You've blown out my light.
Sister James: [Referring to her students] I don't allow them ballpoint pens.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [Picking one off the floor] And yet here one is.
Father Brendan Flynn: [referring to Sister Aloysius] The dragon is hungry.
Mrs. Miller: You can't hold a child responsible for what God gave him to be.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Is Father Flynn in doubt? Is he concerned that someone else is in doubt?
Mrs. Miller: Sister, I don't know if you and me are on the same side. I'll be standing with my son and those who are good with my son. It'd be nice to see you there.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: This will not do.
Mrs. Miller: It's just until June!
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [sternly] I'll throw your son out of this school!
Mrs. Miller: [angrily] And why would you do that if it didn't start with him?
Sister James: They're all uniformly terrified of you.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Yes, that's how it works.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [to Sister James] Penmanship is dying all across this country!
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: May I ask what you are writing down with that ball-point pen?
Father Brendan Flynn: Oh, nothing. It's an idea for a sermon.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: You have one right now?
Father Brendan Flynn: I get them all the time.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: How fortunate.
Father Brendan Flynn: I forget them so I have to write them down.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: What is the idea?
Father Brendan Flynn: Intolerance.
Sister James: I wish I could be like you.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Why?
Sister James: [Tearing up] Because I can't sleep anymore.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Maybe we're not supposed to sleep so well.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [to Father Flynn] You will tell me what you have done.
[Father Flynn enters Sister Aloysius' room, looking very nervous]
Father Brendan Flynn: [nervously] May I come in?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [not looking at him] A third party would be required.
Father Brendan Flynn: Look, what was Donald's mother doing here?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [looking at him] We were having a chat.
Father Brendan Flynn: About what?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: A third party would truly be required!
Father Brendan Flynn: No sister, no third party. You and me are due for a talk, you have to stop this campaign against me!
Father Brendan Flynn: Even if you feel certainty, it is an emotion not a fact.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: So you talked to Sister James. Well, of course you talked to Sister James.
Father Brendan Flynn: Did you know Donald's father beats him?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Yes.
Father Brendan Flynn: And might that not account for the odd behavior Sister James noticed in the boy?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [to Mrs. Miller] Years ago I used to listen to all the news reports, because my husband was in Italy, in the war.
Mrs. Miller: [Taken aback] You were a married woman?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [Offended] Yes, but then he was killed.
Father Brendan Flynn: [to Sister James about Sister Aloysius] The dragon is hungry.
Sister James: Did you ever prove it?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: To whom?
Sister James: Anyone but yourself?
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [Angrily referring to cough drops] Candy!
Sister James: Cough drops.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Candy by another name!
Sister James: I don't think Father Flynn did anything wrong.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: [about a boy who was sent home with a bloody nose] He's a fidgety boy. He will do anything to get out of his seat. He would set his foot on fire for half a day out of school.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Then why do you look like you've seen the devil?
[first lines]
Christine Hurley: Jimmy? Come on! You're serving today.

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