Monday, May 07, 2007
Moan is Right
Now that we need the Legion of Decency more than we ever did, it's gone. I didn't realize how badly we needed it until I went to actually read what the bishops have to say about the current crop of films.
I turn my back for one second and when I look back I find this from "Anonymous":
"Sister" would do well to go the the website of the US Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org) and click on "movies."
The implication is that I didn't know about the fact that the US Bishops review films and give recommendations. I do know. But I will admit that since I really never go to films myself, I haven't bothered to see why so many people complain about what we are left with since the Legion faded. It's a far cry from the old Legion and it's pledge, which I will now repost as a reminder:
+ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. I condemn all indecent and immoral motion pictures, and those which glorify crime or criminals. I promise to do all that I can to strengthen public opinion against the production of indecent and immoral films, and to unite with all who protest against them. I acknowledge my obligation to form a right conscience about pictures that are dangerous to my moral life. I pledge myself to remain away from them. I promise, further, to stay away altogether from places of amusement which show them as a matter of policy.
The bishops, God love them, have some guidelines. Guidelines. No pledge, no prayer. Just reviews and warnings that you could be offended...maybe.
To give you an idea of how squishy the bishops' movies reviews can be, I offer you "Black Snake Moan."
In my neighborhood there is a giant movie billboard right on the main thoroughfare where children on their way to school (and nuns on their way to the grocery store) are treated to a giant scantily clad woman in chains at the feet of a man who holds her captive. She seems to have some level of enjoyment in wearing next to nothing and chains. I can't even post a picture of it here for fear of the scandal it may cause. The bishops seem to think this film has some redeeming qualities.
I'm not sure why the title and the poster wouldn't cause the bishops to give the film their big thumbs down, which is the big "O". That stands for "Morally Objectionable." I'm not sure why they don't use "MO". Perhaps the police have that copyrighted.
Let's play let's pretend again and say that the film actually does have redeeming qualities. But let's use the old pledge as our guide. Just from the billboard alone, the movie glorifies crime and criminals, as, last time I checked, it's illegal to keep a woman in chains for any reason unless you work at Fulsom Prison. Even if you work at Fulsom Prison, the woman that you have in chains will be modestly dressed and wear sensible shoes. I believe the billboard woman has no shoes along with the other items of clothing she is missing.
Seeing the billboard is, I am quite certain, at the very least, a near occasion of sin for many and an actual sin for many more. And what about the actual woman who is on the billboard like that? Keep in mind that when you knowingly cause someone else to sin you are responsible for that sin yourself. You commit a double sin, so to speak. Imagine what has been piled onto that poor girl's soul!
I promise to do all that I can to strengthen public opinion against the production of indecent and immoral films, and to unite with all who protest against them.
Given that the very poster for the film is indecent, I'm not sure how we get to drive to the movie theater, purchase a ticket, and see if we all agree with the bishops that the film has some redeeming qualities.
I promise, further, to stay away altogether from places of amusement which show them as a matter of policy.
Especially since we're not supposed to go to theaters that show indecent films.
We've gone all squishy.
We'll say a prayer for the intercession of St. Agnes. If only a big pile of hair would miraculously grow and cover the whole billboard.