Censoring Films

For those of you conscientious Catholics who also happen to own Netflix accounts, I’m sure you have cringed in your couch cushions at least a couple of times as you scrolled through the selection of films available for streaming on the site. I certainly have.

Recently, I formed the habit of looking up films on a trustworthy film-review website to see whether or not they are morally sound. Oftentimes in the recent past, I have sat on the couch, TV remote limp in one hand and my phone in the other, simply baffled at the atrocities that these reviews described certain films to contain. I would abandon the idea of watching such films and move on. After a search that seemed to grow longer with each attempt, I would discover a film that was, in fact, morally-approved. I began to ask myself: What is the defining factor that in this judgement? The overall message of the film? However, a film can have multiple interpretations, some moral, others immoral, so I discarded this theory. Graphic violence or nudity shown in the film? While I still do not believe that nudity should ever be shown onscreen,  I also concluded that this other theory was incorrect, for I could think of many morally sound movies that also depicted graphic violence (look no further than The Passion of the Christ). So, in a last ditch-effort to cure my seemingly incurable curiosity, I decided to examine the teachings of the Church concerning morality in film.

I was happily surprised to find that the Second Vatican Council’s “Decree On the Media of Social Communications,” titled Inter Mirifica, laid all my questions to rest.* Although I found that both of my initial theories had some truth to them, I also found myself asking a much broader research question: In a just society, what kinds of films should be censored and, once we know this, how should we go about censoring them?

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Louisiana priest who desecrated altar charged with vandalism

New Orleans, La., Mar 22, 2021 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- A priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans arrested last year along with two women after filming a pornographic video on a parish church altar has been charged with vandalism.

Fr. Travis Clark, 37, along with Mindy Dixon, 41, and Melissa Cheng, 28, were charged March 18 with felony vandalism by the local district attorney.

Each face up to two years imprisonment if found guilty.

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