The Rosary Murders (1987) Script

He looks so peaceful. No. He looks dead.

Just kidding. Who's paying for all this anyway?

Excuse me. I'm very sorry.

What do you think? I understand Jim has new dentures too.

"Priest murdered in Catholic hospital." Has a nice ring to it.

It'll sell. What do you want to do?

A nurse is avoiding me. She knows something.

Why aren't the police investigating? No one's making a complaint.

Shut the door!

Ody's in the ground already, right?

A story like this takes too long, starts to stink.

Give me a day. Two days.

Ob. Hi, Ann.

These are for you. They're from my kids.

If you could make a comment or two in the margins to show you looked at 'em.

Have you eaten? Not hungry.

Could I have a word with you? Yeah, sure. Come on.

What's up? Sit down.

Oh, yeah?

I wanted you to be the first to know.

There's a man in my life.

Well... that's all.

Are you in trouble? No.

I'm not in trouble. I'm in love.

I'm in love.

I'm leaving the sisterhood.

Are you sure? I've never been more sure of anything.


He isn't a Catholic or I'd ask you to marry me... us.

Would you walk me down the aisle?

Would you give me away?

I'm going to miss you. I know. I'm sorry.


Feels good to have told you. Yeah.

Ann? Yeah?

God bless you. Thanks. I'll need it.

Good morning, Sophie.

Did you see Sister Ann at mass? No. Why?

She promised to bring me something before school.

Do you want me to go to the school? I already called. They said she isn't there.

Sister Ann?

Sister Ann?


Father? Father Koesler?

No, I can't now. Not now. It's about my baby.

Could you baptise my baby for me and Gregory, Father?

Father Nabors. I don't want Father Nabors. I want you.

Father Nabors can baptise your baby as well as I can. Call me later. We'll talk.


Father Koesler? I'm Pat Lennon. Detroit Free Press!

I hope you don't mind. No.

Nobody was here. I made myself at home.

Margaret's just gone around the corner.

May I smoke? Sure.

This must be a doubly bad time for you. How's that?

I heard about Sister Vania's accident at the convent.

She was young for a nun, wasn't she? Yes.

Thank you. Do you mind if I sit? No, of course not. Excuse me.

That's OK.

Then there was Father Lord's passing away. You knew him too, didn't you?

Yes. That's right.

He was one of your instructors in seminary school... in St Louis.

How can I help you? Pat Lennon.

I got that.

Let me be blunt. We're both in the newspaper business.

You know of the rumours surrounding Father Lord's death?

I've heard the talk. What sort of talk?

I thought you were getting to the point. I'm sorry, Father.

A nurse named Nancy Baldwin looked in on Father Lord after the Ash Wednesday service in the chapel.

She needed to talk, but didn't want to go to the police.

A lot of Catholics aren't comfortable talking to a priest unless they're in a confessional.

I'm Catholic. I'm just the opposite. I guess I don't like guilt.

Nancy told me she discovered Father Lord and the plug was out of the wall.

She thinks somebody did it to him. She's sure of it.

And when she found him already dead, he was holding a rosary.

It was not his own rosary, the one he was buried with. Lt was a different one.

I got her to give it to me and now I don't know what to do with it.

I thought you might want it.

These were found by yourself and Nancy Baldwin?

Yes. Good.

You were the first one to discover Sister Ann? Yes, I was.

Did you notice at that time that she was holding a rosary?

Yes. Sister Ann wasn't raped.

Nothing was stolen.

No sign of a break-in. Maybe she left a door unlocked.

No. She wouldn't do that. Why not?

Because of where the neighbourhood is. It's not very safe.

Could have followed her in. But why arrange the scene in the bathtub?

No sign of a break-in anywhere.

Windows were locked. All the doors were locked.

The tunnels? What tunnels?

These tunnels connect all the buildings at Holy Redeemer, one to another.

The church, the convent, the rectory are over a hundred years old, and these passageways are the oldest.

When the other structures were built, the grade school, junior high, high school, the power-house, auditorium, the gym, new tunnels had to be added.

What's this used for? Nothing now.

Condemned. Structurally unsound. Lieutenant? You'd better look at this.

There's the rest of it.

What a time for the power to burn out.

Get over here. Hey, don't touch anything over there.


Hi. Where's your bar?

Hi. Hi. Thanks for coming down.

Sorry I'm late. I was writing Don Dailey's obituary.

What'll it be? Er... What are you drinking?

It's a Virgin Mary. That's good for me.

You knew Father Dailey? Well, you know...

I'm editor of the Catholic for eight years, you end up...

You know the religious of this city better than anybody.


Do you see any pattern in all this?

Pattern? The rosary.

That's to let us know that he's making a puzzle, like guessing a word with some letters missing.

A priest, a nun, a priest.

Did they know each other? Were they all liberals, conservatives?

Pro-abortion? Did they work on some Church council?

I'd have to look in my files.

I think the guy wants to be stopped. Hi, guys.

Hi. Ned Harris told me I'd find you both here.

He's all yours.

I was just leaving.

Thanks, Father. And I'll...

Be in touch. Sure.

Take good care of him. I like this guy.

Me too.

Thank you. Do you want a drink? No.

So, what did he want?

Help. Yeah, well, he's gonna need that.


And what? Did you give him any help?

Not yet.

Can you?

I don't know.

Are you going? Why? You got something in mind?

I don't have anything to do and I don't want to do nothing alone.

So... Let's take a walk.

I used to want to become a nun. What happened?

I grew up. I became a woman.

Where does that leave me? I used to want to become a priest.

I'm afraid I'm gonna lose this story. But you broke it.

If there's another murder and the cops don't get him, it'll go national.

So? They'll feel it'll have gotten too big for me.

They've got other reporters with more experience.

Other reporters who are men.

Irene Jimenez. Yes, Father.

Come on. Let's go.

Sit down.

You want your baby baptised? Yes, Father.

They got this card screwed up. They list the baby's last name as Ruiz.

It's... It's no mistake, Father.

What do you mean?

The father's name is Gregory Ruiz.

You mean this child was born out of wedlock?

He will not marry me.

This child cannot be baptised in a church.

But Father Koesler said... It doesn't matter.

Church Law is very clear on this. It's a mortal sin to commit fornication.

Yes, Father. But what about my baby?

Good evening. Our top story.

The body of another nun has been found at her home in the Grand River area.

Police are not giving out details, but have confirmed the nun is the fourth victim of the so-called Rosary Killer.

The nun, a 63-year-old woman named Jeanne Honora is believed to have been murdered shortly after dark this evening.

As you live, you die.

With every breath you take, you draw closer to death.

You came to this communion rail on Ash Wednesday.

As I rubbed the ashes on your forehead, I reminded each of you:

"Remember, man, thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return."

But when?

Ask our Lord present here on the altar. He knows. Ask him.

Lord, when am I going to die? "Lord, when am I going to die?"

"When I am sick? Will I die under the surgeon's knife?"

Under the wheels of a train. "Under the wheels of a train?"

"Will my charred body be removed from a terrible fire, or my swollen body dragged from a river?"

May the Lord be on your lips and in your heart so that you may confess your sins.

It's all right.

Take your time.

There's no hurry.

I'm the one.

Excuse me?

I am the one.

Oh, my God...

Scared, Father?


I got one in my pocket.

One what? A rosary.

Why are you doing this?

My daughter died three years ago.

She was 16 years old.

Sweet 16.

Pure. I'm sorry.

You're sorry? Do you have any idea what it's like to lose a daughter?

No. Lt was because of you.

I don't understand. All of you.

Will you make this a valid confession? Say five Hail Mary's and cut it out?

Is that it? No, that isn't it.

You want me to help you stop... I'm not finished!

More of you to come. I promise you that.

Please... Listen to me. Please, talk to me.


Killee. Killee.

If some guy in confessional confesses he put cyanide in the communion wine... lf he what? He poisoned the church wine.

You absolve him of sin, OK?

Is there any way you can warn the congregation not to drink the wine?

Of course not.

So you let those people drink it and die?

We're saving souls, ob, not lives. We already saved the penitent soul.

If the penitent's confession is betrayed, no one will feel safe in confession again.

Break the seal of confession and you destroy the Church.

So the priest has to live with all those lives on his conscience.

It's his job.


Come here.

People are gonna die.

Ob, I don't know what's going on with you and I don't want to.

You'll have to learn to live with it. I don't think I can.

Then you'll have to find some way to accidentally spill that wine.

It isn't wine, Killee.


I didn't see you! Oh, my God! Are you all right?

Hello, Father.

I saw your light on up here from the street. May I come in?


Funny I should be driving around this particular neighbourhood at this particular hour.

What are you working on? Oh, nothing.

That's what I figured.

Is this a bad time? No. No, please...

Don't go.

Yeah. Lt is a bad time. I know.


I lost the story. I saw that.

Thanks for your help. I'm not God.

I think I also might have lost my job.

I'm glad I happened to be driving by. Let's do something.

What? Like go out? Yeah. Let's go someplace.

Yeah? Like on a date?

Yeah. Like on a date. Great.

Where's the nearest bar? Downstairs.

Let's go.

Come on, Father. Let's go.

Good morning, Detroit. This is JP on JR in the AM.

Have a swell day.

Thank you.



Go ahead. No, you.

Time to get back to my miserable little life, I suppose.

See you, tiger.

I'm the pastor here and I say no. The Jimenez baby is a bastard.

Its parents won't get married. What am I supposed to do?

I'm not sure they ought to get married.

I think you're probably right.

What about the child? That's their responsibility.

She's assumed that responsibility. The child would be raised a good Catholic.

A good Catholic? She gave up that claim in the back seat of his car.

Can't we be concerned with peace of mind and not piece of ass?

Peace of mind, piece of ass.

That's a good one. Look, ob, do you want me to read Church Law to you?

I don't want you to read Church Law to me. Church Law doesn't apply.

It does apply. Lt has to apply. Everything the Church stands for is based upon law.

What about compassion? Understanding?

What about forgiveness? Charity?

That baby will not be baptised in my church and that's final.

Your church? My church.

And if you try to do this on your own and I find out about it... you'll be in very serious trouble.

Hello, Father. Hello, Shelley.

Do you have to go? Yeah.

What's the matter?



How...? How do you tell a priest that you care about him?

Forget it.

Father in heaven, hear us your children.

We ask you for help, to show us a healing hand and make us well.

Say it, Sister.

We pray also for our loved ones, who suffer because we suffer.

Be with us and them this night... Amen! Believe it, Jesus.

We ask you this with faith that you will hear us. Amen.

Amen. Amen.

Amen, amen, amen.

Was that all right, Mrs Washington? That was just fine, Sister.

Goodnight, Mrs Washington.

Goodnight, Sister Magdala.

Thank you.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, blessed be the holy and undivided Trinity, now and forever. Amen.

I give you thanks, oh my God, through Jesus Christ, your beloved son, for all you have given me throughout my life and for preserving me this day.

We ask that you care and protect for our families...

Lord... Vania...

Dailey... Honora...


Magdala. Oh!

I remember Kathy Javison very well. The difference.

I don't know what happened to her over that summer.

She'd been a sweet girl. Warm, affectionate. A good student.

When she came back the next fall, she was changed.

She was moody, troubled. Her grades fell.

Why? Do you have any idea what caused the change?

You might ask Sister Margaret Mary of the Holy Martyrs.

She was Kathy's advisor that year. Perhaps she knows something.

She teaches here? No. She left after that year.

She hasn't stayed in touch with anyone after teaching here for over 20 years.

It's odd.

I'm sure she's still in the sisterhood somewhere.

Sister Margaret... Mary.

Mary. Of the Holy Martyrs?


Thank you, Sister. Not at all.

So many teenagers get involved in drugs and alcohol and that's how these tragedies occur.

But Kathy wasn't into that. It was something else entirely.

What tragedies are you referring to? Don't you know?

Kathy Javison committed suicide.

Hi. How do you do?

I'm Sister Mary Elizabeth. How may I help you?

Are you the Prioress, Sister? Yes.

Is there a Sister Margaret Mary of the Holy Martyrs residing here?

Yes. Could I speak with her, please?

I'm afraid that will not be possible. Why not?

No one can speak with her.

When she entered this cloister three years ago, she took a vow of silence and has not spoken a word since then to anyone except God.

A vow of silence?

OK. Thank you, Sister.

May the Lord be on your lips and in your heart so you may confess your sins.

I can't help you.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

It's been 17 years since my last confession.


In that time I haven't been to church deliberately.


I've turned my back on the church. Come on.

I've slept with... live been to bed with a lot of men.

Sometimes one, sometimes more than one.

I've slept with women.

I'm guilty of greed, jealousy... malice, covetousness.

But worst of all, live lost my faith in God...

and the goodness of mankind... the suffering of our Lord Jesus.

For these sins and the sins of my past life, I am truly sorry.

Pat... Yes, Father.

Why are you doing this?

I want to go ahead with it.

It isn't like this any more. Things have changed.

It's all I know.


Do you have a rosary? Mm-hm.

Five "Our Fathers" and five "Hail Marys".

My act of contrition? Say it on the way home.

Will you give me absolution?

I absolve you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

If it'll make you feel better, say the whole rosary.

Mr Javison.

You have to talk to me.

Is there any substance to the penance theory of Free Press editor Nelson Kane?

The police will be out in force tomorrow and Detroit's priests and nuns are being told to stay indoors.

Don't go out unless absolutely necessary.

Morning, Father. My name's Roy Mills.

Oh, yes. I got a phone call yesterday. Glad to know you.

You too. I'm Father Harold Steele.

Where are you headed? Communion call.

Father, live got orders to stay with you like a shadow.

My orders are to protect the secrecy of confession.

There's no way to get you out of earshot.

Mrs Gates?

Mrs Gates?

Mrs Gates?

Mrs Gates?

Oh, shit!

Hello? Pat?

I'm sorry. This is the answering service.

Oh. Would you care to leave a message?

No. That's all right. I already left one.

Are you Father Koesler? Koesler. Yeah, that's right.

Miss Lennon asked me to give you a message. She's gone away.

She's gone away? Where? She didn't say.

When did she leave this? A few days ago. She moved out of town.

We've been instructed to discontinue service at the end of the month.


Oh. OK. Thank you. She told us to tell you something else.


She told us to tell you... she loves you.

Hold it a minute!

Can I see some ID? You see the badge, the patrol car.

Yeah, but I'm not gonna let happen here what happened downtown this morning.

Lt won't now I'm here. That makes me feel better.

You can thank me later.

All clear, Father.

Sister Margaret Mary?

I'm Father Koesler from Holy Redeemer.

I've come to talk to you about Kathy Javison.

Do you remember her?

Sister, I'm trying to determine the cause of Kathy Javison's death.

Do you know anything about that?

I understand that. I mean, I know about that.

What I'm trying to find out, Sister... if you know... is why Kathy Javison hanged herself.

Didn't Archbishop Boyle contact the Prioress?

And didn't he exempt you for this interview from your vow of silence?

Do you want me to call the Prioress in?

I'm sorry. I don't understand this.

I don't understand this. Please help me.

With her father.

What? With her father.

She came to me...

I was the only one she would ever come to.

Not right away, not for a long time.

Finally, she came to me.

She told me her father was committing incest with her.

She wanted to stop somehow.

I called her a liar.

I told her her father would not do something so unspeakable.

I chastised her severely... for having foul thoughts and spreading wicked lies.

She wouldn't talk to me after that... out of shame.

A month later, she killed herself...

and I knew she had told me the truth.

Telephone repair man. We've had complaints of lines crossed in the neighbourhood.

Ready to go, Father?

Sister Margaret Mary. Take a look at my face.


Sit down, Father.

Obviously we're dealing with a man who's going after premeditated targets, not just anybody with a collar or a habit who happens to be available.

So... what do you think?

I don't know what... I'm not stupid! You know something.

I don't think... I don't give a damn!

You interview a woman who's taken a vow of silence and two minutes later she turns up dead?

I don't have anything to say.

If you want to sit and watch while your friends die, that's up to you, but now my men are getting killed and they're not all Catholic and they may not all understand about your professional secrets.

On your way out of here, I want you to take a good look at our bulletin board.

Then look into your soul... and then decide what it is you can tell me.

It's up to you now.

Lieutenant Koznicki, please.

Would you ask him to phone ob Koesler? Yeah. He has the number.

"I am the Lord your God." Where have you been, kids?

"You shall not use God's name in vain." Sorry.

In vain down the drain. In vain, yeah.

Oh, my God... Thou shalt not kill.

She loved you so.

"Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day."

What for? The collection?

"You shall not kill."

You kill. You let Killee be killed.

Thou should not have killed Killee. Killee should not have been killed.


"You shall not steal."


Father Harold Steele...

Just a second. Hang on.

Oh, Lord... Good Lord.

"Keep holy the Sabbath day."

Day... Dailey.

Father Michael Dailey.

"Honor your mother..." Honor. Honora. Mother Jeanne Honora.

"You shall not commit adultery."

Sister Marie Magdala Conners. Magdala... Magdalene. Mary Magdalene.


You think there'd be a Father Wife here.

Did you see the Archdiocese Directory? It's over there.

Thanks. Ob, did you look up the Greek word for "covet"?

No, I didn't. Would you do that for me?

Maybe a Father Spouse. Father, you'd better come along.

Come along where? To headquarters.

Tomorrow's Good Friday. We have a lot of planning to do.

Good Friday. I don't see what's so good about it.

Christ died on Good Friday.

Behold! The wood of the cross.

Behold! The wood of the cross. Amen.

Ack! Ack!

Cheer up, ob. He didn't get me in the church. That was his best chance.

I'm gonna be all right.

You just can't give up hope.

Swell company you turned out to be.


I'm going outside.

Is everything OK? Yeah. Everything's fine.

It's almost midnight. This was his last Friday.

It's too late for him to do anything here. He's had to blow his whole plan.

Has anything else happened anywhere in the city?

No, nothing. All is quiet. I think we've stopped him.


We'll still be outside for a while. If anything changes, we'll let you know.

Thank you, Sergeant. Yeah.

Poor soul lost his daughter during the night. Such a tragedy.

I know it's late, but making arrangements can get your mind off things.

You wait here and I'll see if I have the forms.

It's not too late. Yes, it is. She's dead.

Not her soul. Her soul is in hell.

We're all set. Let me handle this, Ted.

I can handle it. You're tired.

I'm always tired, ob. I've been a priest for 37 years, you know.

Ted, please... I want Father Nabors.

Step into my office here.

For crying out loud, ob!

I don't want you here.

I had that address. What did I do with it?

She would want me to be here, want you to talk to me.

You broke the seal.

No, I didn't. You liar.

Here it is. Now, what did your daughter die of?

I was fucking her.

I was fucking my daughter.

I was fucking her late at night, in the darkness, in her own bed, while her mother was asleep.

It was killing her.

Jesus. Did you see a priest?

Oh, yes. I saw a priest.

Know what he told me? He told me to cut it out.

He said say five "Our Fathers" and five "Hail Marys" and cut it out.

He absolved me. He absolved me.

Do you know who that priest is?

I think you do.

His name was Ted Nabors.

Look at me, Father.

Look at me.

You OK, Father? Watch out for the broken glass.


Let's get the photographers in here.

Get him out of here.

It's the guy. He's got the wound in his leg, gun checks out.

No ID, but it's him.

We found this in his pocket. Looks like he's been carrying it around for a while.

I absolve you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

"Dear Father."

"I'm sitting at your desk writing this. Mother is downstairs somewhere."

"Soon I will go back to my room and close the door for the last time."

"I just can't keep hating myself."

"I wish to God I knew where I'm going."

"I'm afraid."

"Goodbye, Father. Please forgive me as I now forgive you."

"May the Lord bless you and keep you forever and ever."

"Love Kathy."

"♪ Is it me that I see."

♪ When I look in your eyes? ♪

♪ Making love, sharing dreams ♪

♪ Is that me in your eyes? ♪

♪ What has changed in my world. ♪

♪ When we touch with our eyes? ♪

♪ Is this right, is this wrong? ♪

♪ Tell me where I belong. ♪

♪ Running from a broken past. ♪

♪ My life becomes an hourglass. ♪

♪ Everyday becomes a year. ♪

♪ Without you. ♪

♪ When is fantasy a sin? ♪

♪ Could we stop once we begin? ♪

♪ What away to say goodbye. ♪

♪ I love you. ♪

♪ Take my hand one last time. ♪

♪ Hold me close when I'm gone. ♪

♪ And wherever I'll be ♪

♪ I'll see you in my eyes. ♪

♪ Running from a broken past. ♪

♪ My life becomes an hourglass. ♪

♪ Everyday's a year without you. ♪

♪ When is fantasy a sin? ♪

♪ Could we stop once we begin? ♪

♪ What away to say goodbye. ♪

♪ I love you. ♪

♪ Take my hand one last time. ♪

♪ Hold me close when I'm gone. ♪

♪ And wherever I'll be ♪

♪ I'll see you in my eyes. ♪

♪ When is fantasy a sin? ♪

♪ Could we stop once we begin? ♪

♪ What away to say goodbye. ♪

♪ I love you. ♪

♪ Take my hand one last time. ♪

♪ Hold me close when I'm gone. ♪

♪ And wherever I'll be ♪

♪ I'll see you in my eyes. ♪

♪ And wherever you are. ♪

♪ Pity me. ♪

♪ In your eyes. ♪