Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Michael Matt Overpraised Legion of Decency and Denigrated Greydanus beyond Demerit

TheRemnantvideo | Ajoutée le 17 févr. 2018

On the caption of the video, for some reason, Greydanus is shown in liturgic clothes (as deacon) for either Laetare Sunday (as Sunday past) or Gaudete Sunday, when his pretended offense was a purely extraliturgical affair:

9:17 Have you read Greydanus' written version of the review?

Artful veneer of “Call Me By Your Name” masks shallow, distorted view of sexuality

The Catholic World Report : Artful veneer of “Call Me By Your Name” masks shallow, distorted view of sexuality
February 13, 2018 Steven D. Greydanus

Notably, he notes the film changes the year of the novel from 1988 to 1983, to avoid irksome references to AIDS ... well, seems Greydanus can have a clue at times at least.

Here are some more words from him:

"Insofar as a lot of people have perceived my video review as a glowing recommendation of the film, which I didn’t anticipate, obviously I failed both to be as clear as I should have been on my overall take on the film and to foresee how my review would strike many people."

In other words, he is not recommending to see it.

As having some experience from a background pre-Catholic conversion, I suspect his video review was ironising about the seducing qualities of the film : subtly - a bit too subtly, as he admitted - warning against that seduction.

Call me naive for believing him, here is where he stated it:

National Catholic Register : ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Q&A
Steven D. Greydanus Feb. 13, 2018

Why would I for my part bother to defend someone who has been considered as promoting a same sex movie?

I have been considered as promoting same sex marriage, when I, repeatedly with a reference to the marriage of Josh Weed, a homosexual man heterosexually married, I said that homosexual people (not couples) already have the right to marry.

Can two homosexuals marry each other? Sure, a homosexual man can marry a lesbian. The Catholic position says sth about what the sexes must be, says sth about what the intentions must be (and with four daughters, I think Josh Weed has taken that part seriously enough) but nothing about what the natural, instinctive and spontaneous orientation of a man or woman must be, as prerequisite for marriage.

N o t h i n g

Now, if a homosexual orientation is there, that is a tragedy, but it is not a reason to commit an atrocity like banning people like Josh Weed from marriage.

Note very well, I have not said this as a homosexual, nor as a homoliberal, but simply as an ex-patriate and formely resident Swede. Everyone in Sweden knows about the gay couple Jonas Gardell and Mark Lewengood, I did not go out of my way to find out, and everyone knows they have children, not adopted, but with the women in a lesbian couple (who have shared custody).

I have proposed in Sweden, and have proposed since getting out of Sweden, that the parents of Amos Gardell should marry and the parents of Miss Lewengood should marry, forsaking the respective same sex partners, of course.

I could be presumed tp meddle in none of my business, but no, while in Sweden I had that story pushed into my face, it is public knowledge, I have not gone out of my way to prie in anyone's private business either, I am commenting on private knowledge. To a Swede of the modern type (those who feel they can stay in the country), this comment amounts to expressing homophobia.

To certain others, people who are eager to read first part of a sentence without reading the end of it, or to seek out hidden motives without inquiring honestly about known ones, my recommendation is a confession of being homosexual.

And to certain people who take both these sides into account, I am a "homophobic homosexual" and therefore "self destructive" and therefore probably mentally ill.

13:23 I note you seem to agree with James Martin on "I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize them."

You just made a point (or are coming to one) involving Tenessee Williams. A gay man. Not "gay and married" as Josh Weed, but "gay" as in "gay" as Lewengood and Gardell.

Btw, I have some difficulties with that guy, after seeing Suddenly, Last Summer and then finding out he did not save his sister from lobotomy ... before, just today, finding out he was involved with Pancho Rodríguez y González, Frank Merlo, Robert Carroll ...

13:46 It is certain that Greydanus was not doing as Cardinal Spellman. And your point is not as pro-Williams as I thought, but neither are you totally marginalising him. Now, Spellman did more than Greydanus, obviously.

But Greydanus is a deacon, not a cardinal or archbishop.

Perhaps directly telling people watching what was that film called again, "Call me by your name" constitutes a mortal sin would in his book be a thing for his curate in the parish or for his bishop in his diocese and not for himself in a film review.

14:03 Speaking of Spellman, he was cardinal archbishop of New York from 1939 to 1967, when he died.

In the first article I read on Rosemary Kennedy, I read her father had actually consulted a bishop - perhaps that one - before lobotomising his daughter. If Spellman is culpable of that "go ahead" he is clearly a worse man than Greydanus.

Lobotomy deprives the patient of the adult use of free will, perhaps of use of free will altogether (if Rosemary had the faculties of "such a baby" after lobotomy, it may well have been her case), and therefore of the faculty of converting. In other words, if Rosemary was not reconciled with God when being lobotomised, she had no chance to escape damnation after that. In that case, Spellman or whoever else had recommended or even cautiously allowed the "operation" would be guilty of soul murder.

15:09 Pledge of resistance by Bishop Murray?

Might be an idea. But how would one formulate it?

Perhaps Greydanus has as great ideas as you do. If you have the text of Murray's pledge, fine, link to it.

15:40 I am not sure if you have heard of a film "portraying" St Joan of Arc in the actress Milla Jovovich as basically suffering schizophreniac auditory hallucinations under her also otherwise obviously anguish inspiring trial (and she was anguished for real).

I withdrew from that, with my company, a girl I was then courting and hoping to convert. She went back to next session and this is part of why we fell out (she also admitted she was a bit above ideal age for a first childbirth).

So, without having taken the pledge, I have followed it.

But some seem to have taken a similar pledge about my blogs ...

Note, the wording of the pledge as cited (in extenso or not?) up to 16:28 involves "he must withdraw patronage ... as long as it may be an occasion of sin to any person"

The word "may" is unnecessarily broad sweeping for a normal Catholic morality, outside the special pledge. How about "is likely to"?

The word "unwholesome" is unnecessarily vague.

It is much less precise than "depraving". Watching a person with tattoos getting drunk on stage may well be depraving if that person is portrayed as hero rather than side character or anti-hero and in the habit of getting drunk up to end of film rather than about to convert. But watching it without knowing these things is not yet depraving. Even if it would clearly be unwholesome to a child.

So, suppose there were a film in which a tattooed man got drunk and then got cruelly victimised by some puritanic crooks, and he is not the hero, he is just occasion for the hero to moan over his bad habits and get a reason to actually deal with the crooks. But the tattooed man, as victim of the crooks, getting drunk as occasion for their puritanic bullying, is the first scene. And it is, obviously, somewhat unwholesome.

A Catholic having taking Murray's pledge walks out.

On Murray's terms, any theatre showing that film should be boycotted till the theatre promises never to show "such" a film again.

Sure, Murray's terms would tend to get things done and it got things done and introduced the Hays code. And the Hays code meant, Catholics took a breath of relief and became permissive with films. Except perhaps when Spellman intervened.

18:46 Yes, Catholics certainly did influence Hollywood.

Was it just a good thing?

"Any time you see Christianity displayed onscreen, there's a strong chance it'll feature exclusively or almost-exclusively Catholic trappings, such as rosaries, the Sign of the Cross, confessional booths, nuns, clerics referred to as "Father", and so on. It could be because Roman Catholicism is the largest branch of Christianity in the world, or it might be because the vestments of Roman Catholic clerics are so quaint and distinctive, or perhaps it's the fascination of the mystery and ritual, or maybe its our bewilderment at priests, monks, and nuns taking a vow of celibacy, or that those ornate and massive Catholic churches make the most awesome sets, or the usefulness of the sacrament of confession as a narrative device. ... "

TV Tropes : Christianity Is Catholic

But is it correct?

"In much fiction, despite the portrayal of Christians as Catholics, most Bible quotations will be from the King James Version, a Protestant translation.note Everything just sounds way more "biblical" with thee's and thou's and ye's (although Catholics have the Douay-Rheims, an English translation which came at about the same time). Still, the King James renderings are much more familiar in a highly "Protestant-by-default" culture. Psalm 23, for example, is usually rendered the "KJV way" ("The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.") even among English-speaking Catholics.note The even more traditional Vulgate Bible will almost never be quoted, although it can happen because it's written in Latin."

So, you have a Catholic padre quoting a Protestant King James ...

"It's not always a positive portrayal, mind you. If there's a big Corrupt Church that has the power to subjugate kings and governments under its will, it'll probably be Catholic, too, and using Catholicism for such is popular due to historical associations with The Spanish Inquisition, a Knight Templar Church Militant, and torturing and burning heretics, and in modern times, the pedophilia coverup scandals. An "evil" Protestant church, by contrast, will usually be engaged in small-time villainy, maybe being a front for the Ku Klux Klan or even a televangelist scam (though there are some real-life exceptions, such as Jim Jones's Peoples Temple Full Gospel Church, which grew into a dangerous cult). This is largely because Protestant churches have far more local autonomy than exists in Catholicism, and thus no particular church would have the worldwide infrastructure and hierarchy to make world domination seem plausible."

Outside A Man for all Seasons - how many films portray Anglicanism as corruptly dominating England and persecuting Catholics? Which they did.

"Even Hollywood"

Come on ... was the positive portrayal of priests in certain films because Hollywood caved in to Catholic pressure?

Quoting TV Tropes again:

"Or maybe it's just that it's downright absurd to associate rural Midwestern Lutherans, for instance, with Ominous Latin Chanting and Gothic aesthetics.note It also may well be that Catholicism is simply a more visible form of Christianity in the bicoastal urban milieux in which most writers work. Or that many writers hail from predominantly Catholic regions like Ireland, Poland, Bavaria, Italy, Latin America, or New York City.note Not to mention that a considerable number of writers are themselves Catholic (or were raised that way at least), and may just find it easier to write what they know.

"Whatever the reason, if there's a form of Christianity that exemplifies the Rule of Cool, it's Catholicism. Protestant denominations might occasionally appear, but don’t expect the Eastern Orthodox Church to make an appearance, and don’t expect the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East to even be mentioned."

Hmmm ... remember the nuns stealing a motor from the car of a Nazi and "confessing" that as "a sin" in Sound of Music? Obviously incorrect. In historical fact, that is not how the escape of the von Trapp family happened, in the mémoirs of Maria von Trapp. In principle, it is wrong. If the nun had by epikeia the right to take away the motor from the car of persecuting Nazis, it was no sin. It would not have been the sin of stealing. It would not have been confessed as the sin of stealing. We are in the moral world of Dennis the menace, not of real Catholic nuns. Most definitely, they would not have mocked either sacramental confession or confession in the chapter (at end of each day as per monastic rules) by saying "I have a sin to confess". So, Hollywood respecting the Church .... no, not quite. It seems the von Trapps were obliged to take that libretto for the musical, because of economic difficulties.

Perhaps US Americans didn't like Austrian talented singers earning a good life with little work. I have heard of such an attitude with even worse effects on some immigrant's soul.

Do you know of Christine Arnothy? She wrote the excellent "I am fifteen and do not want to die". You should have read about the Jew who was spared by the Nazis (who wanted to buy their lives) and killed by Commies, who killed him because he refused to work - on a Saturday, I think. It has a follow up, sometimes in same volume, known as "Living is hard too" or sth. On her arrival, French bourgeois made sure she could not earn money from her cultural talents, so she took work as a domestique. It was so gruelling, she went into a bad marriage for eagerness of getting out of it, and as a result, she divorced and remarried.

She is dead now, God rest her soul. She lived past her non-husband, and so probably can have had occasion to make up with God.

16:58 I was recommended to see Peter Rabbit.

Maybe, if I get to seeing it on a video after Lent, I will.

The person recommending it seemed to have no idea Lent is a time for "no public entertainment" (but no ban on private occasional ones), and for my part, I resolve that also by not going to movie theatres all that often.

Tenessee Williams was actually the last time I was to cinema. When you have a video, you can turn things off.

Without making a public fuss. Perhaps I should have got out after the initial lobotomy scene.

17:08 If Greydanus is holding a sermon, he has of course as part of his job in that sermon to preach, for virtue and against sin.

If however he is writing or speaking an essay, which is not a thing alien to Church men, cardinal Newman was a great writer outside the pulpit, obviously it is not his job in that essay (and film reviews would be one kind) to just warn against sin and no more.

You are comparing a film review with a message from the pulpit, it is comparing apples and oranges.

Btw, as far as I know, you are also an essayist, and you are here also not preaching against sin, but warning with some subtlety against a state of affairs - as Greydanus tried to do in the film review. Which, note it well, is not directed at Catholics as Catholics only, but to general cinematic culture.

1934 and US as opposed to 1534 in Rome, I think the people who went to Heaven in Rome 1534 and watched Bishop Murray from Heaven would have debated "do you think he looks like Calvin?" - "no, more like Savonarola". And perhaps some more.

17:28 There is a difference between "fortress mentality" and Puritanism.

I think Murray may have been too little of a fortress against Puritanism.

Chesterton was not - and note well, he was a man who would definitely have reviewed "Call me by your name" and some others Greydanus reviewed in a bunch and as one sign cinema was overrated and becoming dragged down by filth, already in its beginnings.

Here is what Chesterton had to say on the dangers of cinema:

“THERE IS a real danger of historical falsehood being popularized through the film, because there is not the normal chance of one film being corrected by another film. When a book appears displaying a doubtful portrait of Queen Elizabeth, it will generally be found that about six other historical students are moved to publish about six other versions of Queen Elizabeth at the same moment. We can buy Mr. Belloc’s book on Cromwell, and then Mr. Buchan’s book on Cromwell; and pay our money and take our choice. But few of us are in a position to pay the money required to stage a complete and elaborately presented alternative film-version of Disraeli. The fiction on the film, the partisan version in the movie-play, will go uncontradicted and even uncriticised, in a way in which few provocative books can really go uncontradicted and uncritcised…. A false film might be refuted in a hundred books, without much affecting the million dupes who had never read the books but only seen the film.”

~G.K. Chesterton: Illustrated London News, Jan. 5, 1935.

Note, in 1935 Chesterton took as example a film which had been released as a sound film in 1929 ... perhaps he was not so eager a cinema goer ...?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disraeli_(1921_film) - mute film in 1921, sound film in 1929 ...

Murray's pledge more or less presumes that cinematic theatres are sensible to the Catholic customers, i e Catholics are generally cinema friendly ... except when sth is unhealthy.

19:39 "people flocking to convert"

To some, the converts of back then count, those of today don't ... or did I get your attitude on Greydanus wrong?

I was wandering where he stood on evolution, but since it was "deacon's bench" which was echoing in my head, perhaps I confused him with Greg Kandra, also a deacon ...

19:52 "overseeing the worst sex scandal in the history"

While I think it is symptomatic of a new and false Church, of invalid masses, and of clerical discipline getting out of hand, it seems to be by now a matter of the past, at least in some countries, and in Poland it is not even there.

20:25 If "John XXIII" was no real Pope, his assessment of the recent past was perhaps not a Catholic one.

There are only two options (plus their combination) for his not being Pope : a) the see was not vacant; b) he was not a Catholic.

Quoting vigilanti cura:

"Your leadership called forth the prompt and devoted loyalty of your faithful people, and millions of American Catholics signed the pledge of the "Legion of Decency" binding themselves not to attend any motion picture which was offensive to Catholic moral principles or proper standards of living."

For Catholic moral principles, I heartily agree. As to proper standards of living ... does it mean "brushing teeth, eating with fork and knife, having a roof and good insulation" ... no, while that would have been puritanical in the sense I deplore, here is the Latin of Pope Pius XI:

"rectaque vitae praecepta."

Correct precepts for life does seem like more or less a synonym with Catholic moral principles.



It seems that Pius XI considered Legion of Decency a somewhat ecumenic venture:

"We are thus able to proclaim joyfully that few problems of these latter times have so closely united Bishops and people as the one resolved by cooperation in this holy crusade. Not only Catholics but also high-minded Protestants, Jews, and many others accepted your lead and joined their efforts with yours in restoring wise standards, both artistic and moral, to the cinema."

I wonder, was "unwholesome" correctly translated to his Latin or Italian?

Were the Jews and Protestants really joining bishop Murray's lead, or were they more like equal with him in it?

"The National Legion of Decency, also known as the Catholic Legion of Decency,[1] was founded in 1933 as an organization dedicated to identifying and combating objectionable content in motion pictures from the point of view of the American Catholic Church.[2]:4 After receiving a stamp of approval from the secular offices behind Hollywood's Production Code, films during this time period were then submitted to the National Legion of Decency to be reviewed prior to their official duplication and distribution to the general public.[2]:5 Condemnation by the Legion would shake a film's core for success because it meant the population of Catholics, some twenty million strong at the time, were theoretically forbidden from attending any screening of the film under pain of mortal sin.[2] The efforts to help parishioners avoid films with objectional content backfired when it was found that it helped promote those films in heavily Catholic neighborhoods among Catholics who may have seen the listing as a suggestion.[1] Although the Legion was often envisioned as a bureaucratic arm of the Catholic Church, it instead was little more than a loose confederation of local organizations, with each diocese appointing a local Legion director, usually a parish priest, who was responsible for Legion activities in that diocese."

If so, some dioceses would perhaps have been open to pressure from Puritans of non-Catholic religions ...

And Jews and Protestants "following the lead" may mean they had similar leagues, not that they joined the Catholic one, if no doubt often collaborating.

This state of affairs would perhaps backfire the day when the partners became more lax ... if that was perhaps happening in the fifties (at least that is how Pope Michael sees the fifties).

"Although in certain quarters it was predicted that the artistic values of the motion picture would be seriously impaired by the reform insisted upon by the "Legion of Decency," it appears that quite the contrary has happened and that the "Legion of Decency" has given no little impetus to the efforts to advance the cinema on the road to noble artistic significance by directing it towards the production of classic masterpieces as well as of original creations of uncommon worth."

Wonder what works Pope Pius XI was speaking about ... League was founded in 1933 ... Vigilanti cura was in June 36. So, what were the major films 33 - June 36?

Top Grossing Films U.S.A. 1933

1. Queen Christina MGM $2,887,285
2. I'm No Angel Paramount $2,850,000
3. King Kong RKO $2,847,000
4. 42nd Street Warner Bros. $2,250,000
5. She Done Him Wrong Paramount $2,200,000
6. State Fair Fox $1,800,000
7. Dinner at Eight MGM $1,207,068
8. Hold Your Man MGM $1,100,000
9. (tie) Little Women RKO unknown
9. (tie) Design for Living Paramount unknown


Did Pope Pius XI see Queen Christina? The historical figure was a tomboy, and her conversion has more to do with conversations with Descartes than with any love affair with any Spanish envoy!

King Kong was March 2, presumably before - I think I checked - Legion of Decency.

Little Women is of course a Classic - no problem. I haven't read it, but would in a less stressed situation than mine now be on my to read list.

Top Grossing Films U.S.A. 1934

1. Viva Villa! MGM
2. Cleopatra Paramount
3. The Barretts of Wimpole Street MGM
4. It Happened One Night Columbia
5. The Thin Man MGM
6. The Richest Girl in the World RKO
7. The Gay Divorcee RKO
8. Imitation of Life Universal
9. The Girl from Missouri MGM
10. The House of Rothschild United Artists

It would seem that Pope Pius XI may have approved of Cleopatra ... certainly not of the Gay Divorcee (which features a divorce and remarriage accepted by Anglicans, but not acceptable as such).

I also do not think Pope Pius XI would have approved of Viva Villa! since portraying one of the revolutionaries making Mexico a secular state. The Richest Girl in the World features sneaking in bedrooms, hardly very wholesome.

I am not convinced that The Girl from Missouri was top, I think Ginger Roger and Fred Astaire did better stuff.

We must presume, if Pius XI was speaking of masterpieces, we are dealing with The Thin Man.


1. Mutiny on the Bounty MGM $4,500,000[2] (rentals)[clarification needed]
2. Becky Sharp RKO
3. Bride of Frankenstein Universal Pictures US$2,000,000
4. Top Hat RKO US$1,782,000 (domestic), US$1,420,000 (international)[3]
5. The Littlest Rebel 20th Century-Fox
6. The Informer RKO $950,000[4]
7. China Seas MGM
8. Barbary Coast United Artists
9. Captain Blood Warner Bros.
10. Anna Karenina MGM

Mutiny on the Bounty is deserving. Cruelty in leadership is clearly a provocation to disaster, clearly a cause for just insurrection (mislabelled mutiny here).

Barbary Coast is presumably also good, dealing with ... no, not what I thought, a love story.

Anna Karenina is probably unwholesome. C. S. Lewis who read it reviews it in "the four loves" as a fictional (but true to life) example of romantic love gone bad.

Bride of Frankenstein is definitely unwholesome.

Captain Blood, probably as wholesome as Pirates of the Caribbean would be if some of the unwholesome stuff were cut out (I think of Curse of the Black Pearl ...)

The Littlest Rebel ... hmmm ... wonder if Northern troops did behave like Dudley, I heard it was "the last gentleman's war" ... and an officer ordering him lashed ... no, I don't think this is totally correct.

Becky Sharp is of course a rough warning to climbers, and as such probably well worth the lauds, and as it came from Thackeray, it is indeed a classic. No, I don't have that much culture, I checked.

Top Hat ... now, that is Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire ...

Even if Naughty Marietta is not on the top ten, it is presumably worth seeing:

"To avoid an arranged marriage to Don Carlos, an elderly Spanish duke, Princess Marie masquerades as her uncle's former servant, Marietta, and escapes from France on a ship with casquette girls who are traveling to New Orleans to marry colonists. On board, Marietta befriends Julie."


Still, as a somewhat elderly man seeking a younger wife, I would wish this theme had been balanced a bit ...

Mississippi and ...

1936, omitting those after Vigilanti cura ...

1. Modern Times[1] United Artists - February 5, 1936

"Modern Times portrays Chaplin in his Tramp persona as a factory worker employed on an assembly line. There, he is subjected to such indignities as being force-fed by a malfunctioning "feeding machine" and an accelerating assembly line where he screws nuts at an ever-increasing rate onto pieces of machinery. He finally suffers a nervous breakdown and runs amok, throwing the factory into chaos. He is sent to a hospital. Following his recovery, the now unemployed factory worker is mistakenly arrested as an instigator in a Communist demonstration. In jail, he accidentally ingests smuggled cocaine, mistaking it for salt. In his subsequent delirium, he avoids being put back in his cell. When he returns, he stumbles upon a jailbreak and knocks the convicts unconscious. He is hailed as a hero and given special treatment. When he is informed that he will soon be released due to his heroic actions, he argues unsuccessfully that he prefers it in jail."

OK, axios ho Chaplin!

1. San Francisco[2] MGM - June 26, 1936 (a few days before Vigilanti Cura)

OK, not bad, a marriage proposal accepted.

4. The Great Ziegfeld MGM - March 22, 1936 (LA) / September 4, 1936 (US)

(Note, the earlier release was only LA?)

A divorce ... no ...

5. These Three United Artists - March 18, 1936

"Lillian Hellman's play was inspired by the true story of two Scottish school teachers whose lives were destroyed when they were falsely accused by one of their students of engaging in a lesbian relationship. At the time, the mention of homosexuality on stage was illegal in New York State, but authorities chose to overlook its subject matter when the Broadway production was acclaimed by the critics.[2]

"Because the Hays Code in effect at the time would never permit a film to focus on or even hint at lesbianism, Samuel Goldwyn was the only producer interested in purchasing the rights. He signed Hellman to adapt her play for the screen, and the playwright changed the lie about the two school teachers being lovers into a rumor that one of them had slept with the other's fiancé. Because the Production Code prevented even the use of or a reference to the play's original title, Hellman changed the title of her script to The Lie. After principal photography was completed, the film was christened These Three.[2]"

Hmmm ... a false accusation of homosexuality sounds like sth which can be edifying - especially if, unlike this film, the mistake is cleared up.

Obviously Pope Pius XI would have approved of this one!

10. Wife vs. Secretary MGM - February 28, 1936

Secretary doing her duty in the end! Good!

15. Klondike Annie Paramount - February 21, 1936

I presume Protestants were more eager to ban it than Catholics would?

16. Follow the Fleet RKO - February 20, 1936 (US)

At least acceptable ...

17. The Story of Louis Pasteur Warner Bros. - February 22, 1936

Medical experimentation - while for the material good of men, and the medical good of quite a lot of livestock, it also involved cruelty ... against Catholic morals? Perhaps, perhaps not. I would say, yes. "the righteous is merciful even with his livestock" (and he did probably apostasise from the Catholic faith, though not to atheism) ... but even if acceptable to Catholic morals, it is clearly unwholesome.

The film as such seems to have totally bypassed the question of Pasteur's religion, whether he remained Catholic or "However, despite his belief in God, it has been said that his views were that of a freethinker rather than a Catholic, a spiritual more than a religious man."

This secularises the question of medical, and, more broadly, technological progress ... Pasteur is a great man, (even if he is an apostate who goes to Hell, but that, the film doesn't mention).

... no, films were perhaps somewhat less gaudily immoral, but taken together, they were a mixed bag.

I think some of the films may have been known to Pius XI in Italian version, in which Italian censors would have been more strict than Hays code.





"Nor have the financial investments of the industry suffered, as was gratuitously foretold, for many of those who stayed away from the motion picture theatre because it outraged morality are patronizing it now that they are able to enjoy clean films which are not offensive to good morals or dangerous to Christian virtue."

I think Pius XI was a bit fooled about what was really going on in US film industry.

Financial investments have not been suffering, because bad films have been bestsellers, each year, not all, but some of them.

Who would have fooled Pope Pius XI? Well, perhaps Legion of Decency, overdoing their good work.

From wiki article:

"The efforts to help parishioners avoid films with objectional content backfired when it was found that it helped promote those films in heavily Catholic neighborhoods among Catholics who may have seen the listing as a suggestion."

23:16 I think you do Greydanus somewhat of an unmerited dishonour in considering him a "seventies" and "reformed" Catholic.

23:28 "there was only one religion which was depicted as having priests able to drive out evil spirits"

  • 1) Legion of Decency would probably have banned The Exorcist back in those days. The Lutheran "priest" who baptised me (validly or not, have since been rebaptised sub conditione) considered that film as "a speculation in evil".
  • 2) There is a reason. Lutherans, Anglicans, Calvinists traditionally do not do exorcism. It is in their religions, unlike Pentecostalism, considered as "superstitious". Since about back in Reformation. And Orthodox are just so less well known. Among millennials, 16 % were Catholics and only 1 % Eastern Orthodox, US.

Also, Pentecostals have "less style," confer the article on TV tropes.

No, this is not a merit of Legion of Decency, it is a merit of US cultural situation in general.

Certainly exorcist priests are not due to Elia Kazan standing down to Catholics.

Now, was Elia Kazan unsuccessful due to the Catholic Church?

"The movie was banned in many countries, such as Sweden, due to what was called "exaggerated sexual content". The film was also condemned by Time magazine, which called it the "dirtiest American-made motion picture that had ever been legally exhibited"."


Sweden is no Catholic country. Was not then, is not now, even if there has been a "sexual revolution" since then making it worse.

[Or making some things worse]

So, you can bet there were many other actors than Spellmen involved in discouraging its viewing.

Were all of the Catholics united? No.

"Other religious figures became involved in the controversy surrounding the film, including Francis J. Spellman, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, who called it "sinful" and forbade Catholics in the archdiocese to see the film and James A. Pike of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, who countered Spellman by pointing out that there was more "sensuality" in the film The Ten Commandments than there was in Baby Doll, and argued that "the church's duty is not to prevent adults from having the experience of this picture, but to give them a wholesome basis for interpretation and serious answers to questions that were asked with seriousness."[11] Others agreed with Pike, including the Catholic Archbishop of Paris and the head of the Catholic film Institute in the U.K., while the Catholic Bishop of Albany, New York also forbade Catholics to see the film, which the American Civil Liberties Union objected to as a violation of the First Amendment.[11]"

In other words, two prominent Catholics were in agreement with Anglican Pike : the film did not merit banning.

So, Catholics alone doing the film in ... no, not really. Catholics along with others, yes.

Agreeing, however, on the need for Church really to do exorcism.

And one more ... Legion of Decency did nothing to stop exploitation of stars from very early on in very horrid circumstances of only the final production was decent.

1939, after Vigilanti Cura, you get Wizard of Oz ... did you know about Judy Garland?

The list : The tragic, real-life story of Judy Garland

The Church should have instead encouraged either total abstinence (it would have agreed with message of Fatima) from cinema, or a parallel and Catholic, decent Hollywood, from which malpractise as the one mentioned was absent.

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