Shanley never gives a clear answer to that question. It leaves the viewer to decide, while giving him a sly hints, but without the leave no room for a no-doubt 'solution of the mystery. Thus composes a very interesting film enigma that is expected to engage the viewer for some time after the fall of the end credits.
Starting this mystery by Shanley compose a portrait of '60s America, when a series of profound social changes have created confusion among those who were grafted with the old ideas of social status and those who espouse the new order. At the same time criticizing the clergy but also the new, individualistic and competitive type of man who then began to increase its appearance.
And the perfomances by all the cast are brilliant and all were nominated by Academy!