How The Catholic Church Controlled Hollywood
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How The Catholic Church Controlled Hollywood

By Kathy Benjamin | Think Pieces | June 12, 2012 | Comments ()


In 1933, Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani gave a speech at a Catholic charities convention in New York City about how movies were ruining America's children. He called for the "purification of cinema," because the Hays Code, the secular system for controlling smut in movies, obviously wasn't going far enough (plus the Code had been set up by a Presbyterian minister, so you know it had to be letting dirty stuff slip through.)

One member of the audience took him up on the challenge, and the next year the Archbishop of Cincinnati John T. McNicholas formed the Catholic Legion of Decency, later known as the National Legion of Decency. And just like that, the Catholic Church would control film making for much of the glory years of Hollywood. Until the 1960s, the vast majority of directors and producers were desperate to avoid a "C," or condemned, rating from the Legion, because it would be a death knell for their movies.

Church leadership embraced this new form of censorship with open arms, and within a year virtually every diocese in America had addressed the destruction that the relatively new and increasingly popular medium of cinema would bring on decent people.The Bishop of Cleveland said from his pulpit, "Purify Hollywood or destroy Hollywood!" A priest in Buffalo said movies was really an evil acronym, "M - means menace, O- obscenity, V- vulgarity, I - immorality, E - exposure, S - sex." Fifty thousand people attended a Legion of Decency rally calling for a "war" against Hollywood. Some priests and a Catholic magazine went so far as to say that watching any movie was an affront to God and that all films should be avoided, others simply said that watching certain immoral movies was a mortal sin, just like murder and adultery, requiring serious penance. If a Catholic saw one of these movies and was then hit and killed by a car on the way home, his soul would go to hell. It was vital that church-goers know what movies they shouldn't watch.

The Legion came up with a three part rating system, with A being movies that were just fine, B movies had some objectionable content, and C movies were to be avoided at all costs. To make sure everyone knew what they were agreeing to, Catholics took an oral pledge during mass. The pledge stated, "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." Some churches replaced the oral pledge with signing an official document. Within weeks of the first person taking this pledge over a million people had done so in Boston and Chicago, over half a million in Detroit and Cleveland, and hundreds of thousands in Providence, Los Angles and Seattle. Within months it was estimated that 7 million people had taken the pledge.


With numbers like that, Hollywood had no choice. If they wanted to make the most money possible from their movies, they now had to answer to a religious body as well as a less stringent secular one. And answer to it they did. Many of our most classic movies were modified to avoid a C rating. Before the formation of the Legion, decisions to censor movies by the Hays office could be overruled by a jury of producers. Within months of the first Legion pledges, members of the Hays office met with the founders and agreed to abolish the jury, thereby making the Hays Code much more rigorous. But it still wasn't enough. Hays continued to let through scenes, lines, and themes that the Legion found extremely questionable. With their boycotts proving very effective in lowering ticket sales, movies were soon being made with the opinions of bishops in mind. Over the course of three decades, only 5 films made it into major theater chains that weren't give at least a B rating by the Legion. It took a full 20 years before any film with a C rating made a profit: 1953's The Moon is Blue.

In 1940, the Clark Gable/Joan Crawford vehicle Strange Cargo was cut in order to pass the Legion's exacting standards test. In 1947, Miracle on 34th Street barely scraped by with a B rating because of its sympathetic portrayal of a divorced woman. The Seven Year Itch had to change drastically from the stage version to pass muster; originally the main characters do have an adulterous sexual relationship, in the movie it is all in the man's head. Audrey Hepburn's Love in the Afternoon was forced to change its ending to make the bishops happy. And on Christmas Eve 1962, Gregory Peck found himself on the phone with Father Patrick J. Sullivan asking why To Kill A Mockingbird was unacceptable. Apparently the bishops felt the ending gave the impression that lying, even if for a good reason, was okay. The scene was summarily altered.

Half a dozen foreign films, produced in countries with little or no censorship, had to be severely edited before the Legion allowed them to be shown in America. This, however, would prove to be the beginning of the end for the censoring body. In 1952 the Supreme Court decided the case of Joseph Burstyn, Inc v. Wilson. It centered on the New York state ban of a short film by Roberto Rossellini that the Legion found particularly distasteful. The court found in favor of showing the film, and struck a serious blow to religious censorship. The Legion continued to have power (as evidenced by that Christmas Eve phone call a decade later) but it had started to lessen. In 1957 the Pope himself said Catholics should be more concerned with seeing good films than boycotting bad ones. By the 1960s, the liberal attitudes of America were even creeping into the membership of the Legion. Some condemned the priests who decided the ratings as too permissive, while others in the increasingly liberal Catholic population often felt the ratings were still too strict. As the cohesiveness of the church eroded, so did the effectiveness of the rating system and the pledge.


Finally, in 1980, the Legion released its last film reviews, condemning, among others, American Gigolo and Friday the 13th. While the Church unofficially gave its opinions on movies after that, there was no threat of committing a mortal sin for Catholics simply by seeing the wrong film. Still, the Legion had left its mark on Hollywood, and one has to wonder if classics like Some Like it Hot would be better or worse if those making the film hadn't been worried about being acceptable to clergymen.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • ved

    Censorship is mandatory. All the Catholic Church did was have its members boycott movies they didn't like, and occasionally theaters that played them. If people still wanted to see the movies, they were allowed to. It just was that not enough people did, so no one bothered to make them. You might disagree with their opinions, but it is in no way censorship and it is ignorant and unhealthy to say it is.

  • Really? It's censorship, just not government mandated. Just like in Aus where the Christian right are blocking moves to make a 18+ video game category.
    They forced changes to movies to meet their criteria. They "censored" movies. Sure, the studios could have released them uncut, but it would be financial suicide. Perhaps blackmail sit better with you?

  • Ender

    p.s. it's not blackmail either - that actually has a legal definition, how about you look it up instead of contorting yourself to find away to condemn their entirely reasonable if prudish actions.

    Stop being a moron.

  • Ender

    A boycott is not censorship don't be stupid. They forced nothing. If studios release films people don't want to see it is indeed financial suicide - it does not mean that people are forcing studios to produce films they want to see - the studio can choose to make low budget films, stop making films or target a different audience.

    Ved has it right.

  • Ender

    I think I've proved my point. The article has errors in it that encourage people like Jezzer and Elise, people who believe that any Catholic can be blamed for chuild abuse if they haven't left the church. That it's fine to blame millions of Catholics for child abuse they had no part of merely because they still believe in their God - which is especially egregious because of the victim blaming involved in such a general and absolute accusation - many of these people they have tarred with the 'supports child abuse' brush in their righteous anger and support of the victims are actually the victims in question and don't actually want support from people wildly attacking victim and innocent alike.

    But people like Jezzer and Elise don't really care about the child abuse victims. That much is obvious, otherwise they might be careful not to call rape victims rapists and confine their abuse to the guilty and those who deserve it, but they don't; they get off on the angry rush of self righteous condemnation, and don't spare a moment of thought for the victims of the bigotry and whether they deserve it or if their gross generalisations target the people they pretend they care about too.
    It would be easy to confine your rhetoric to those who deserve it, the guilty not their victims, but there wouldn't be the same rush you can get from condemning everything in sweeping general statements.

    And they're angry, and they should be, terrible crimes were committed. But righteous anger does not justify bigotry and prejudice - it's funny, Elise accused me of supporting and justifying extremism (a useful argument - if you can't pretend I'm an extremist then pretend I will support and defend them out of some sort of nefarious solidarity.) - ironically the only people who are justifying or defending moral crimes here are those that argue that bigotry is justified justified if you're angry enough or the crimes were bad enough.

    It isn't. There is no justification for the crimes that happened, nor will there ever be. There is also no justification for bigotry, victim blaming or condemning entire groups for the crimes of a minority.

    I defend neither rape nor bigotry, can you say the same Jezzer and Elise?

    And if engaging in bigotry doesn't worry you because of your extreme compassion for the victims of child abuse, just remember that you don't know who you are talking to and the next person you call a rape supporter and spit "kidfucking religion" in the face of might be a child abuse victim and have been raped themselves - and if doing that doesn't bother you then you're morally abhorrent.
    Check yourself before you wr-engage in victim blaming that you yourself would condemn if it wasn't about Catholics.

  • Elise

    Abuse by the priesthood is just like any other crime - if it takes agonizing and soul-searching to side with the victim instead of the perpetrator, you're really not all that good of a person.

    Bit of a protip, though - someone who was raped by a Catholic priest and who still is Catholic afterwards might want to be seeing a shrink about that Stockholm syndrome.

  • Jezzer

    Except that neither of us said "any Catholic" or "all the Catholics." I specifically mentioned the church and its leadership. The only person making actual personal attacks is you, Ender.

  • Ender

    Yes, Elise specifically said that "She knows what it means" if you are a Catholic, and that any decent person would have left the Church in protest. Learn2Read bigot.

  • Elise

    I love a man who displays reading comprehension.

  • Ender

    Liar. You said it yourself, so he's not correct and you know it. And you wonder why people think you're dishonest...

  • Elise

    "People" is you, and you've attributed much worse things to me than dishonesty, most likely simply because I disagree with you, but probably also because I am not Catholic. ;)

  • Ender

    Nope, but it's interesting that a bigot like you would try an accusation of bigotry this late in the game.

    Non-catholics are great. You are not. You're right though, I called Yossarian honest as opposed to you when you hadn't really been dishonest yet, luckily for me you've been dishonest since.

    I've attributed worse things to you because you're a bigot who pretends to care about rape victims, but then makes cruel 'mental illness' jibes at them if they're Catholic, and generalises about them in such a way as to suggest that they're rape supporters rather than rape victims if they haven't left the Church.

    Dishonest seems much less bad than that really.

  • Elise

    Lets say that I beat my husband, and lets say that it's not common knowledge in my neighbourhood, outside my blood relatives, that I beat him. I even beat him to the point where he can't get out of bed in the morning, sometimes. I tell him that if he leaves me, I'm going to stalk him and make sure he suffers for the rest of his life. I commit other depraved, mentally-abusive acts.

    Then one day, he leaves me, and tells the entire neighbourhood what I have done over the years that he and I were married.

    It should be painfully obvious to anyone reading this that my blood relations, who were aware of the situation, are utterly complicit.

    The question is, what level of complicity do my friends in the neighbourhood have if they do not decide to reject me as a friend because of the terrible things that I have been doing?

    I would say that they are utterly complicit, after-the-fact.

    Then again, I just have particularly strong moral standards.

  • Ender

    Yes. Those who were aware of the abuse and did not act to stop it were complicit.

    Unfortunately this is where your analogy breaks down, the ones who did the molesting have been charged, or died, or been removed from ministry. So lets modify your scenario.

    You have a stroke and almost the parts of your brain involved in the abuse died and were excised... No wait your scenario is stupid and entirely unsuitable for describing an organisation. How about this: Some people in organisations can do bad things without that condeming everyone in the organisation for all time. Duh!

    It's limited thinking like this that leads you to your bigoted conclusions. Yes, if 5% of an organisation = a guy and 95% = doesn't fit in the analogy, then it sounds an awful lot like you should maybe leave the psycho - but your scenario is stupid, and your conclusions are resultingly bigoted.

  • Yossarian

    This is very well said.

  • Ender

    Thanks. It did not convince them, unsurprisingly. But how could it, when they are wedded to their useless misdirected anger.

    What's sad is that they probably really believe that they are doing something good by blindly attacking guilty, innocent, and victim all together and don't see the true ugliness in their actions. They probably consider themselves humanists and of good moral character, but do not see that their actions are not consistent with those beliefs, nor consistent with the idea of helping the victims of child abuse. - like Elise's nasty jibe below that Catholic victims of child abuse have 'stockholm syndrome' - that's really ugly, I don't believe she realises how that sounds to a Catholic rape victim, nor how shallow and self-serving her "I'm doing this for your own good" pride in her nasty pseudo-medicalising and diagnosing of rape victims with a mental disorder sounds.

    It's really astounding what self-righteous anger can do to a person - the horrific things they can say and do. I doubt that Elise even thought about the Catholic rape victim who might read that, nor do I think she will stop and consider them and realise how truly horrific it is to accuse rape victims of having Mental disorders to support your petty internet fight it, even now I have pointed it out - and that's the danger of self righteous anger.

  • Elise

    Hey, Ender. Are you a rape victim? Am I a rape victim? If the answer to 50% of those questions isn't 'yes' or you can't answer 50% of those two simple questions, you should probably BUTT THE HELL OUT AND QUIT PRETENDING YOU REPRESENT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN RAPED.

    Just sayin'.

  • Ender

    How about you fuck off inquiring into my background you callous prick. I have more intention of marrying Chris Brown than I do of sharing any of my personal history with an abusive bigot like you.

    My arguments represent themself. They are true regardless of the result of your inquiries. And that's the point, regardless of what group I am in, Catholic rape victims exist, and you are being horrible to them.

    If you are a rape victim then I am sorry that that happened to you, there is no justification for it, and it makes me so angry that this is an experience so many people in the world have had. But, whatever your life has been like that does not justify calling other rape victims rape supporters and then calling them mentally ill and fucked up.

  • Elise

    Calling me an abusive bigot repeatedly doesn't make it so to anyone who doesn't enter the arena already agreeing with you, but feel free to keep up the ad hominem (which, as you will note, I have mostly refrained from).

    Yes, Catholic rape victims exist. And I'm not being any more horrible to them than friends who suggest that a victim of abuse escape her abuser, and are frustrated and puzzled when they repeatedly decline. It's not exactly like I can go kidnap rape victims and forcibly separate them from the church that has harmed them so greviously.


    Finally, pointing out that the mentality behind Stockholm syndrome is fucked up is not derogatory towards those suffering from it. It is merely a statement of fact.

  • Ender

    Yep, you can read the minds of people and know very well that they cannot see your obvious bigotry. It's amazing the things you are sure of that you cannot possibly know. Where did you develop this talent?

    No, if they were currently being abused, then you might have a point. What you are instead doing is called them disturbed, fucked up and suffering from a 'syndrome' even though you've never met them and don't know anything about them.

    Pointing out that someone is a schizophrenic with multiple retardations is not derogatory if they actually are, but what you're doing is diagnosing entire groups of complete strangers on the basis of... what medical training? That's right you're just being a horrific person.

    I hope you're going to stand by this stockhold syndrome argument, I thought you were using it as a callous throwaway attack on them because you just don't care about them, but instead you want to make it into a set piece. "I am not a bigot or being in any way cruel or unkind to this massive group of strangers and rape victims when I use my vast intellect and (?) medical training to determine that they are psychologically damaged, and the faith that they believe they truly have, and may have satisfied themselves with intellectually is nothing more than the product of a damaged mind, because they're fucked up," It's... a questionable platform, I admit, but I hope you don't walk back from it because it removes any need for me to do any work to show you're being terrible.

  • Ender

    Wow, I had no idea that Jezzer and Elise were disgusting anti-religious bigots. In fact I though this site had a better quality of readership.

  • Jezzer

    I know. If we were any more childish, we might get mobbed by priests.

  • Ender

    ... it's like you revel in revealing your bigotry for all to see.... you know you're undermining your lying point right?

  • Jezzer

    I'm sorry your religion has poisoned your brain and made you reactionary and spittle-prone. :(

  • Ender

    Yes, objecting to bigoted jokes is reactionary. Making sweeping attacks on people for their religion is progressive. You do not have that backwards.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Ender, just a polite suggestion... you might not want to post like an angry tweaker. Like maybe avoid replying to your own posts and then replying to those, etc. Cuz you end up looking like a crazy person and no one will take your "fuck you" seriously.

  • Ender

    Sadly they probably won't anyway, but are you suggesting I take dumbass posts like Jezzer's and Elise's seriously and give them serious measured replies?

    Fuck that, I don't pander to irrational bigots. They've got their retarded viewpoint, and all their anti-religious anger and half baked arguments and they're welcome to them, but someone needs to point out that they're out and proud bigots.

    If it's the swearing, fuck it, a swearword never hurt anyone, and I've only got seconds to type these posts... no time for editing....

  • Yossarian

    Ok, taking Ender's very emotional and counterproductive responses out of the equation, are these acceptable statements to make on Pajiba? And why?

    "The Legion of Decency just wanted to make sure that sex was only presented as God intended: Between one man and one Altar Boy."

    "Your religion is stupid and corrupt and you should feel bad."

    "You are a credit to your kidfucking religion."

  • Ender

    Thanks Yossarian, I refrained from commenting on your comment in the vain hope that without associating myself with your argument they would see some sense. But bigots never do, they can't because they really believe that their bigotry is justified, it's why they practise it so evilly and openly, when they can.

    I'm sorry that you wasted your time trying to be reasonable with people (currently) incapable of reason, and I take my full share of the blame for that, you can't expect people to be rational when they're that angry.

    FWIW I once again denounce abuse and the Catholic church's role in perpetuating it, and also bigotry in all it's self righteous forms.

    You won't see Jezzer and Elise doing the same.

  • Jezzer

    Why wouldn't they be? What's so special about religion that everyone is supposed to treat it with kid gloves? You know those people who handle poisonous snakes because it's their religion? They're stupid. People who throw their children out of the house because they find out they're gay? They're idiots. An organization that covers up years of sexual abuse by members in positions of power and attempts to intimidate victims into silence? Deserves every amount of disrespect it can get.

  • Yossarian

    What about the people who live good lives, love their families, and read Pajiba? (Ender may be the loudest but I doubt he's the only) What about respecting people who have different beliefs than you do?

    It's not about treating religion with kid gloves. There are plenty of perfectly valid criticisms to be made, and a thread on the history of film censorship propagated by the Catholic Church is a reasonable place to make them. I'm just suggesting that we might still have standards of discourse that differentiate Pajiba from Yahoo News. What exactly is the point of the statements I quoted above if not to disparage an entire group of people based on their religion? And what makes that ok?

    I think it's a very dangerous position to assert that any group of people "deserves every amount of disrespect it can get". It seems like that is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to all kinds of bigotry and hate.

  • Elise

    And it's "reasonable" posts/posters like this that allow the more extreme nutcases to fester. Religious nutcase A offends person B by being a complete and utter idiot or, you know, being a childfucker, and then B turns around and attacks the legitimate and real problems in A's religion, and then moderate C gets their "it's my religion" pants on, and suddenly they're crusading for peace and compassion, glossing over the acts of A as if it's no big deal, guise, while demonizing B for even bringing it up.
    And then person D comes along and angrily summarizes it out of annoyance.

  • Yossarian

    I don't follow. Where is the legitimate attack on real problems? Was it before or after "Your religion is stupid"? And am I meant to be "C"?

    Problems fester because we don't care about the problems we just care about scoring internet points and getting into entrenched polarized attacks. I have no blind love for the Catholic Church. If the institution is corrupt and abetting child rape the institution needs to be dealt with the prevent the possibility of that happening again.

    Accusing anyone who is a part of that religion of being complicit in those crimes unless they renounce their faith is ridiculous. Believing that those crimes justify hatred and intolerance of an entire group of people is wrong.

  • Elise

    There's where we differ, I guess. If you don't agree with what a CEO is doing with their company, you don't continue buying their product. Frankly, anyone who would spend time agonizing over whether they should migrate to KFC from Burger King is somewhat unhealthily obsessed, in my non-spiritual opinion.

  • Yossarian

    And if the country I live in conducts an unjust and morally irresponsible war, am I required to move? How can I allow my taxes and my citizenship to support something that is clearly wrong? Was every Penn State student morally obligated to drop out of school?

    You may not be religious yourself, but do you understand what it means to have respect for the religious freedom of others? It is absolutely astounding how many other atheists fail to grasp this concept. Do you really not see the irony in your attempt to project your morality on millions of Catholics who had nothing at all to do with those crimes?

  • Elise

    No, you are required to protest the actions, expressing your dissent loudly and in a manner that in no way can be mistaken for quiet acquiescence. And no, I don't understand the concept of religious freedom because the concept is oxymoronic. Having the choice of which unchanging, paternalistic death cult (in the case of the Abrahamic theology) one wants to shackle themself to is no freedom at all.

    I see nothing wrong with holding accountable those who protect and shield criminals. Anyone who supports the Pope is doing just that.

  • Jezzer

    But yet they continue to associate with the institution. Religion IS A CHOICE. You CHOOSE to belong to a religion, you CHOOSE to embrace their beliefs, and you CHOOSE whether or not to continue supporting them in the face of scandal, should it appear.

    I do respect the religious freedom of others. I support their right to belong to any religion they want. That does not mean I have to respect the religion itself, or their beliefs, any more than I have to respect the beliefs of the Flat Earth Society or people who are convinced that the Jews were behind 9/11.

  • Yossarian

    I'm not talking about respecting religion. I'm talking about respecting people, including but not limited to members of the Pajiba community who are Catholic. I took exception to the fact that comments in this thread were disparaging an entire group of people. I asked a simple question: Why are these comments acceptable?

    Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication that vilifies a
    person or a group on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, gender,
    disability, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other
    characteristic. (wikipedia)

    You assertion that this type of behavior is somehow ok because the group "deserves it" kind of defeats the purpose. Everyone who engages in hate speech justifies it by thinking their target deserves it.

  • Jezzer

    All three of the comments you highlighted were specifically against the religion and the church, not the church members. Your context clue for that was the use of the word "religion" repeatedly.

  • Yossarian

    So, "hate the sin, love the sinner," right? Just because you are saying that homosexuality is wrong and abhorrent, that doesn't meant you hate gay people. There is no reason for individuals to take offense when you say that the group they belong to is stupid, corrupt, evil, and "kidfucking".

    Catholics! I meant Catholics, not gays. Sorry, wrong discussion thread.

  • Jezzer

    Yes, because a powerful and wealthy organization that wields political power and social influence on a global level is EXACTLY THE SAME as a persecuted minority. I can't believe I didn't see that before. You can only imagine my SHAME right now.

    I'm sorry that opining a powerful institution that enabled and covered up widespread child sexual abuse might be considered "corrupt" is so MEAN and HURTFUL.

  • Ender

    Not mean and hurtful, anti-social, anti-humanist, intellectually bankrupt and oh yes, mean and hurtful on top.

    But you're a terrible person who tells rape victims that they support rape because of their religious beliefs, so why would you care?

  • Elise

    Ender, we're not concerned about "hurting the feelings" of an institution. This much should be plainly obvious, both because the institution has no feelings and even if it did, it is directly responsible for many, many depraved and terrible crimes, not the least of which occurred in our own time, so... not too concerned about its feelings.

    Regardless, though, you should point out to me why a person would remain in a religion when their primary point of access to God (because you can't be Catholic without a priest, it's part of the religion last I checked) PHYSICALLY ABUSED THEM. Go ahead and call me whatever you want, but no matter how mentally fucked-up you think I am, that's even worse.

  • Ender

    Because they still believe in God and the Catholic religion.

    Less than 5% of priests were involved in the abuse. Maybe understand statistics and they know how "not guilty if you're not part of it" works and therefore are happy to go to Priests who are not rapists.

    The feelings are not of the institution - they are of the Catholics you are calling rape-supporters for not leaving the church, and the rape victims you have called mentally ill.

    You can say "I think the Church is evil and covered up child abuse and should be shut down" all you like and that won't bother Catholic rape victims, but the very instant you cross the line and say to the rape victims "And you are now Rape supporters because you still believe in God and the Church" and "You have a mental illness (stockholm syndrome)" you are being un-humanist and cruel and upsetting people.

    And now you've called them mentally fucked up. Is this how you advocate for rape victims? By calling them mentally fucked up? You're a horrific and callous person.

  • Ender

    "Less than 5% of priests were involved in the abuse. Maybe understand
    statistics and they know how "not guilty if you're not part of it" works
    and therefore are happy to go to Priests who are not rapists."

    And maybe they realise that you're in no position to judge them and call their choices "mentally ill" and "fucked-up", that rape victims have enough to deal with people attacking their mental stability already and they don't need "helpful" arrogant, dismissive and victim-blaming comments from non-Catholic non-rape victims. Thank you.

  • Ender

    I slipped up and spoke about things I don't know about, sorry. I assume you are not Catholic, or at least not Catholic any more, but I had no basis for talking about whether you've been raped, and it was wrong of me to act like I knew what I was talking about because I was angry and then criticise you for this later without realising I'd just done the same. I withdraw that part of the comment.

    The rest of your opinions are still horrific though.

  • Elise

    One, Stockholm syndrome isn't a mental illness, it's an irrational behavior.

    Two, because this is the internet, you cannot prove that I have not been raped, just as I can't prove that I have - so it would be nice if you stopped making unprovable assumptions.

    Three, going back to your attacker IS fucked up, period. Mental illness or not.
    Four, you're taking this whole 'Catholic persecution' thing pretty damn personally, and if you didn't feel judged (because I am in no position to judge), you wouldn't bother. I can therefore determine with some certainty that you have never been on the receiving end of priestly sexual abuse - so stop using it as the aegis with which you defend the church from attack.

  • Ender

    They are not going back to their attacker, once again you are calling innocent priests abusers. I have made no reference to any of your own experiences because that would be an argument that crosses the line, I have only referred to your attacks on Catholic rape victims.
    How about you close your mouth about my life, eh? I will not refer to your life and you can refrain from discussing mine. Focus perhaps on your unconsciounable attacks on a group of people who definitely exist, and don't suffer from a "psychological phenomenon" that is in no way like a mental illness.

  • Jezzer

    Oh, fuck off. I'm done with you, and I'm done with poking your crazy. It is the official policy of your church that I, and people like me, are an "abomination," and your church spends considerable power and influence in an attempt to deny me civil rights, while at the same time protecting and shielding child molestors. Fuck your church, and fuck you.

  • Ender

    Whoops, that was at Elise not you, apart from the part adressing your innacuracy. You did not say what she said, you're just a garden variety bigot. Continue on blaming entire groups for the crimes of a few, if you never work out what's wrong with that then that's just too bad for the groups you choose to hate. Life goes on.

  • Ender

    People aren't abominations, nor is there any policy that says they are, but innaccuracy is to be expected from people who hate. Fuck my church, not bothered, fuck me, not bothered either, but try watching your 'friendly fire' in future and only attack those responsible for crimes, not their victims.

    One day you'll feel bad about what you said about them in an attempt to get at a faceless stranger in an internet argument. Probably not today though.

    Revel in your victory though, I was just pissy before about the prejudiced nature of the article, the ugly lazy prejudice of the most popular joke, and even Jezzer's pissy little bitching about how he hates Catholicism, but your casual denigration of entire groups of rape victims really pissed me off. Well done, you made the faceless internet stranger angry, was it worth it?

  • Elise

    Bam. And this is a good enough point as any for me to step out of the ring; talking in circles with someone who doesn't accept facts, while not new to me, is not productive.

  • Ender

    See above, disregard the bit about abominations.

  • Elise

    I see that you know how to work Wikipedia. Congratulations. Mental illnesses are different from psychological phenomenon in that mental illnesses tend to be persistent and exist as potentiality regardless of the presence or lack of the thing which provoked it. Psychological phenomenon tend to be unable to exist without being 'caused'.

    So, if you could do me a favour, please summarize my 'attacks', and I'll be more than happy to tell you why you're blatantly wrong and/or how you are incorrectly interpreting them.

    A bit of a suggestion, though - it's well-known now that even priests who didn't abuse children were aware of the abuse, so referring to those priests as 'innocents' might be a bit of a misnomer.

  • Ender

    That's not the difference between mental illnesses and psychological phenomenon. But I'm sure you know that already, you're a (?) medical professional. A psychological phenomenon caused by damaging behaviour is so close to a mental illness that the difference is meaningless and could quite well describe personality disorders and other problems of the brain but if you prefer, yes, you just called them damaged not mentally ill, that's much better.

    How about a link for your priest accusation, I'll set a low bar and just look for info showing that 25% of the priests knew what was going on and did nothing. I'm prepared to be surprised.

    attacks: Staying in Catholicism makes rape victims "even more fucked up than [I] think you are" - which by the way is not at all - you're just wrong and angry, - but you meant quite fucked up.

    That they all have stockholm syndrome and should go see a psychiatrist.

    You may have said more, but that's enough.

  • HMDK

    Well, I know a lot of Catholics are good people, like you say.
    What I don't quite get, is why you're not railing against your church for making you part of this heinous mess. But I guess it's easier to blame others for splinters when they're pointing out the rapist beam in your eye.

  • Ender

    WTF are you talking about fuckface? What do you know of whether people are railing against the church? And it certainly didn't make me a part of any mess, so you can take your collectivist notions of guilt and fuck off. But it's easier for you to "otherise" religious Catholics and call them rapists when often they might be the rape victims themselves... but you don't care because... well I don't know but you don't care....

  • Elise

    So, theoretically, because ANYONE could be a rape victim, we can't hold anyone responsible for defending, covering up, keeping silent about, or deflecting attention from another person's sexual crimes? Because that person MIGHT be a rape victim.


  • Ender

    Nope, but you can never accuse large groups of people of being rape supporters for not leaving their faith without directly victim blaming the rape victims, so... how about only blaming those involved in the raping... or is that too intellectually honest for you? Wouild you miss the thrill of generalising?

    And you should never call rape victims mentally ill just for making choices you disagree with. Really. Despicable.

  • Elise

    Blaming those who are complicit, even after-the-fact, is not intellectually dishonest so long as it is consistent.

    Furthermore, and as I've said repeatedly, Stockholm syndrome isn't a mental illness. But as you've already established, people shouldn't be talking about things that they know nothing about, so I'll let you silence yourself on that topic.

  • Ender

    Nope, telling rape victims that they are complicit when they are not and then blaming them is the act of an irrationally angry person who does not really care about them - a theme expounded on when you called them fucked up and said they were suffering from the completely-unlike-a-mental-illness 'stockholm syndrome' - real nice.

  • Elise

    Tell me, Ender - a mentality that is an abberation, abnormal, or self-destructive... would you refer to that as "fucked up"? Because I would. That is redundant in your post, and only serves to create more words for people to read, in a transparent attempt to engender sympathy for you (note how I don't mention those whose cause you are claiming to champion) and demonize me.

  • Ender

    It's entirely of your invention that they have Stockholm syndrome, so your gleeful abuse of people you say you believe have psychological damage is unjustified as well as mystifying.

    I work with a lot of people who have serious mental illnesses, who you could, in some sort of technically correct sense, or at least with words people would understand even if they are not appropriate, as "fucked-up" but I wouldn't, not because that's deeply unprofessional and would get me fired, but because it's not right. You can't take away people's right to self describe as they see fit, but if they actually are in a bad way it's even worse to denigrate them with stigmatising abusive labels.

    So pick a side, either admit that you don't think they actually have Stockholm syndrome you're just abusing groups of religious rape victims in an internet argument, or really stick with this group-wide internet-diagnosis of Stockholm syndrome and cop to being a dick about people you really believe are psychologically damaged.

    Have some sense. If you're really talking about damaged people talk about them with some compassion and restraint, if you're just having an argument on the internet then drop the internet-diagnosis argument.

  • Yossarian

    It's not my church. I just happen to know a few of those "good people" and I know that their faith and their struggles to reconcile that faith with the horrible crimes that were committed is deserving of more respect and consideration than Jezzer seems willing to allow.

  • Elise

    That they don't leave the faith in outrage tells us all that we need to know.

  • Ender

    It tells you nothing you stupid bitch. Fuck you for implying it does.

    What exactly do you think it tells you? And how does that differ from bigots who say "Those who don't leave America are really supporters of all her crimes..." or are you a torturing, renditioning, drone-strike supporter?

    Exactly. But then again what more do you expect from unapologetic bigots who are so smug and proud of their prejudice that they go around openly arguing things like:

    "If the moderates exist it allows the extremists to exist... because they might defend the extremists and let them get away with stuff"...

    even though that's the most ignorant piece of shit I've seen since I last read a Jezzer post. - Who do you think did all the opposing the extremists? It was moderates you historically ignorant fuckwit.

    But I can't expect you to have a brain.

    "no, I don't understand the concept of religious freedom"

    Ha ha ha ha. :D And I'm the one who supports extremists. You can fuck right off with your bullshit anti-religious bigotry. You're no better than the Nazis or the Communists if you don't believe in religious freedom - and you have the gall to try and lecture better more honest and moral people like Yossarian.

    You're a joke.

  • Elise

    Hmm. Well, for one, Ender, I'm not American. For two, I'm actively protesting my government's nonsensical behaviour. For three, I love how you make your points and then knock them down as if you somehow are already assured of your own correctness. ;) You're such a charmer.

    And as for things happening historically, there are plenty of other things that happened historically, good and bad, that no longer happen. In modernity, I don't see too many religious moderates lambasting those who have fused their religion and politics, for example.

    Excuse me while I go weep for the internet because someone yet again brought out the bogeymen of the Nazis and the Communists. Also, do you have any evidence that I have been dishonest? Or how about evidence suggesting that that I'm immoral, aside from the fact that I openly disrespect a religion, and suggest that its followers smarten up?

    Oh, whupz. Right, that whole evidence thing.

    'Cause, you know, flying off the handle and starting to froth at the mouth over someone attacking your RELIGION as if it was YOU is always the moral and intellectually honest position, amirite

  • Ender

    p.s "

    'Cause, you know, flying off the handle and starting to froth at the
    mouth over someone attacking your RELIGION as if it was YOU is always
    the moral and intellectually honest position, amirite"

    This? Are you hoping that the comment threading will cover up the fact that I was responding to this:

    "Yossarian: That they don't leave the faith in outrage tells us all that we need to know."

    i.e. a direct attack on all Catholics who have not left their faith... including the rape victims you pretend to care about when it suits you?

    Yes. Intellectual honesty is not your strong suit.

  • Elise

    So, we've clearly established that you are unable to separate yourself from the church. You have established yourself that you are not a rape victim. You are taking the attacks on the church extremely personally, and pretend to care about the intrafaith rapes and their victims.

    Occam's razor would suggest "priest".

  • Ender

    Really, going personal is not a way to dig yourself out of the 'cruel attacks on rape victims' hole.

    I care about Catholic rape victims, and I'm horrified about the crimes of the Priests and Church, you keep on insulting them and attacking them. Remind me how you care about them again?

    Care to address your comment about them not leaving the faith and having stockholm syndrome?

  • Elise

    "Care to address your comment about them not leaving the faith and having stockholm syndrome?"
    Yes, I would like to affirm it. I don't think that anyone could return to their attacker without suffering from something akin to Stockholm syndrome.

  • Ender

    Sticking with the internet-diagnosis argument I see. Hmm. Foolish. Ah well, any explanation for your callous attacks on people you believe to be psychologically damaged? "I'm angry and want to win an internet argument" seems like a spectacularly bad reason to be a dick about people with real damage.

    Not that it really matters, your internet diagnosis is worth the pixels it's printed on. It's just another silly belief that you have based on no evidence whatsoever.

  • Ender

    So you think all Americans should leave their country otherwise they support torture and drone strikes?

    Those who do not believe in the freedom of religion are like the worst of all fascists and religious bigots. You may not weep, but neither will we because you have no power so we don't have to worry about psychos like you.

    Ah yes, evidence, the thing you've produced none of to support your silly assertions. Nice to see you've found some moral high ground, if only it weren't so illusory.

    Nothing intellectually dishonest about getting angry, but I suppose you'd have to have an intellect to know that.

    "I don't see too many religious moderates lambasting those who have fused their religion and politics, for example"

    There's no reason to trust a bigot like you, but have you even looked? I didn't think so. Try it, you may find your bigoted assumptions shaken.

    But I assume you won't, because though you like to boast about having it, I believe that actual evidence is an anathema to you.

  • People may not be able to leave a country because of the expense. People can sure as hell leave the church. I did. There is no way I can in good conscience identify with a faith that has caused so much harm, and that denies a variety of rights to gays and women.

    If you do stay, and you don't fight to force a change for the better, then you are happy with the status quo, and you are enabling continued abuses by sitting in silence.

  • Ender

    There's no denying that. But your belief that either there is no God or the Church does not represent his allows you to do that. Those who do not believe either of those things cannot in good conscience leave the Church but do not deserve to be accused of having stockholme syndrome - serious psychological damage, or have people assume that they and all catholics who have not left the Church don't fight to force change for the better and just condemn them all.

  • Then you should be fighting to change the church, not sitting here with your fingers in your ears saying "nuh uh, nothing needs to change, leave my church alone."

    Just because it is a religion doesn't mean it is free from scrutiny. A true Catholic, who wanted to remain within the church system would stand up and say "This isn't right. We need to change. This isn't the middle ages."

    The fact that the Catholic church and other Christian religions infringe on my rights as a person because I don't subscribe to their exact beliefs is the total opposite of the love Jesus was trying to teach.

    Everyone has a right to believe in what they want. Until it starts hurting everyone else.

  • Ender

    Everything you've said there is right except:

    Ender: "Then
    you should be fighting to change the church, not sitting here with your
    fingers in your ears saying "nuh uh, nothing needs to change, leave my
    church alone." "

    Which is complete nonsense and not at all what I'm saying. Can you quote me saying that? I've said exactly the opposite, I've just demanded that the criticism be accurate and not bigoted generalisations and lazy prejudiced jokes.

  • Ender, if I was quoting you personally, I would have quoted you. You can't tell me that it isn't a common sentiment within the church though.
    The church needs to be called out on it's bullshit and move towards a far more modern direction. That or a new sect of Catholicism where we recognise that you can be a good person even if you are gay, use birth control, or heaven forbid both!

  • Elise

    As I said to Yossarian: "No, you are required to protest the actions, expressing your dissent loudly and in a manner that in no way can be mistaken for quiet acquiescence."

    The rest of the post is just personal attacks, so this is as much acknowledgement as it will get.

  • Ender

    Great. Well have you liked my dissent so far? What's that? You weren't there? Well what a surprise. Judge not lest ye be revealed as ignorant but entirely sure of your made up opinion.

    Notice that I don't assume that you've never protested the crimes of your country, I don't even know where you live. That's because I recognise the limits of what I know. Can you say the same?

  • Guest

    I've never assumed that you have or have not been protesting anything. At all. I've never made any statements about your culpability in the whole abuse fiasco aside from my blanket statement that Catholics who have not repudiated the church for the abuse are, at the least, supporting the structure which caused/permitted the rape of small children.

    So... I really have no idea what your point is.

  • Elise

    I've never assumed that you have or have not been protesting anything. At all. I've never made any statements about your culpability in the whole abuse fiasco aside from my blanket statement that Catholics who have not repudiated the church for the abuse are, at the least, supporting the structure which caused/permitted the rape of small children.

    So... I really have no idea what your point is.

  • Ender

    It's like you don't even remember saying: "

    Ender: As
    I said to Yossarian: "No, you are required to protest the actions,
    expressing your dissent loudly and in a manner that in no way can be
    mistaken for quiet acquiescence.""

    You are replying to my comment about generalising blame on to "all Catholics who haven't left the church" - and unless you are just making an irrelevent reference to protest you seem to be justifying that generalisation by implying that we have not expressed our dissent loudly enough to escape your blame. But you don't know. You're just assuming because you're angry.

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    I watched This Film Is Not Yet Rated, on Netflix Instant recently and I got the sense that the MPAA pretty much does the same thing and always has. Also, if a director wants to appeal the MPAA's rating decision, the deciding group always includes a Catholic priest and an Episcopal priest on the appeals committee. I highly recommend watching it. It's pretty eye-opening, even though it's a few years old now and Jack Valenti has since retired as Chairman.

  • Ender

    This does not seem to want to let my comment through

  • Jezzer

    Maybe it's seen the quality of your comments so far and decided enough was enough.

  • Ender

    Aw, I've upset you. Can I expect you to follow my comments all around forever, or will you get over it?

  • Ender

    "How The Jews Control International Finance" by Kathy Benjamin
    Thesis: They don't
    "How the Blacks Control Rape Culture" by Kathy Benjamin
    Thesis: They don't
    "How the Catholic Church Controlled Hollywood"
    Thesis: They didn't
    What a foetid pile of Dingo's Kidneys.
    This 'article' is a shambles, full of misinformation and anti-Catholic bias.
    Kathy Benjamin, you're either careless, ignorant or deliberately anti-Catholic and lying.
    Here are the incorrect assertions in your article:
    Catholics ever had the power of censorship over Hollywood.
    That there was an oral pledge that Catholics took during mass "to make sure everyone knew what they were agreeing with"*
    That a voluntary boycott and a voluntary response to that from those interested in making money is "censorship"
    That "Hollywood had no choice"
    "It took a full 20 years before any film with a C rating made a profit: 1953’s The Moon is Blue."
    - Another lie/bit of ignorance: "Design for Living" 1933 "Nevertheless the film was a box office success, ranking in as one of the top ten highest grossing of 1933" - a full 20 years before your example.
    That half a dozen foreign films "had to be severely edited before the Legion allowed them to be shown in America" - the Legion never had the power to allow or disallow films in America. This is a direct falsehood. The Legion merely rated the films immoral and the Studios decided to edit them to make more money!
    That "the Catholic Church Controlled Hollywood" - Lets examine this piece of nonsense masquerading as non-bigoted thinking:
    Number of films banned by the Catholic Church in America: 0
    Number of films censored by the Catholic Church in America: 0
    Number of studios who voluntarily chose to cater to the sensibilites of a demographic in their audience to make more money: All of them
    Number of people spreading false information that feeds into a bigoted view of the Catholic Church as an evil international Censor-Bureau: Kathy Benjamin
    Number of films that the Catholic Church 'rated C' (oh the shock horror, how dare they have an opinion!!):   53 by 1943 (less than 6 a year)... sounds like a calvacade of "Controlling Hollywood" and "Censorship" right there. Fuck it, Pajiba has condemned more films per year than the Catholic Church. Fucking hypocrite.
    "The court found in favor of showing the film, and struck a serious blow to religious censorship" - There never was any religious censorship you liar.
    What actually happened, without your bullshit editorialising was that Catholics chose not to watch films that they considered objectionable, and were later joined by other groups who agreed with them, (I notice you don’t mention them....) Film studios decided to cater to that change in demand - the secular Hay's code actually banned and censored films and bigots blamed Catholics, then wrote shitty articles about it later.
    This article is pathetic, misleading, and not worthy of printing at Pajiba where the standards should be higher.
    *There was a membership pledge that Catholics took to join the organisation which they were often encouraged to do in church.

  • ,

    You should meet ,daughter, who just canceled her subscription to the notoriously controversial Reader's Digest because of a two-paragraph item about the Church under "That's Outrageous!"

    I think you two would get along swell.

  • Ender

    Well my replies don't seem to be getting through, but I'll try again. Sorry I have to apologise for my first comment where ironically I was oversensitive to your accusation of being oversensitive, and what I percieved to be your very condescending tone, which I misread. I overreacted, sorry.

  • Ender

    Hello? Is this comment coming through?

  • Ender

    Sorry I have to apologise for my first comment where ironically I was oversensitive to your comment about being oversensitive and what I perceived to be your extremely condescending tone, which I misread.

  • Ender

    Allow me to follow my own advice by actually addressing your point rather than just being rude to you.

    You are suggesting that I, like your daughter, am oversensitive (i.e. even to the notoriously controversial Reader's Digest) and that I object to negative or non-positive coverage of the Church.

    That couldn't be further from the truth. I can't speak for your daughter, but I am all for accurate negative coverage of the Church - what I object to is innaccurate criticism and prejudiced phrasing - the same as anyone, whether black/white/christian/atheist/muslim/left wing/right wing or jewish.

    The article above is (I contend) no different to any Fox News "Watch out for the scary Muslim Sharia Law" article - it taps in to a common fear and prejudice and exaggerates everything in the direction of that prejudice, because it's intended audience doesn't care about or know enough about the target to have a problem with such innaccurate and slanted coverage.

    Link me all the evidenced criticism of Catholic censorship you have and I will read it and nod and say "Yes, this is very bad and it did happen" - link me an article that calls mere boycotts "censorship" and is full of tendentious nonsense then I will call out that nonsense, and note the hypocrisy in many of the audience who would instantly attack "How the Jews control Hollywood", "How the Muslim Sharia Law controls parts of London" but ignore or approve of "How the Catholic Church controlled Hollywood"

    If you don't think the article says anything innaccurate or biased then point out where I'm wrong.

  • Ender

    Yeah, that's right, people who complain about prejudice are little bitches who are just hypersensitive. How about addressing the question at hand or just shutting the fuck up, you sneering prick?

  • Ender


  • Groundloop

    I'm late to this, but I think getting Condemned by a group called "The Legion" would be so damn metal.

    Now to finish the article.

  • dewdney

    I remember my aunt wanting to go see Jesus Christ Superstar when it got made into a film. She was told by the nuns at her Catholic school that if she did see it, she would be condemned to hell,
    That stuck with me, and when I saw JCS on DVD decades later, I kept hearing the voice of the sister who taught me in grade 2 "You're going to hell for this. You're going to hell for this."
    It made for an interesting date.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    If a Catholic saw one of these movies and was then hit and killed by a car on the way home, his soul would go to hell.

    Even as a child, this kind of thinking made me crazy enough that I flat out refused to go to Mass with my mother. I'm glad she allowed me to get my way.

  • ,

    The diocese newspaper that comes to my mailbox every other week or so occasionally contains movie reviews, and while it still rates films in categories such as "morally offensive," the irony is that Catholic News Service provides some of the more balanced reviews I see.

    IMHO, anyway.

  • Alberto Cox Délano

    Here in Chile we have something pretty similar till today: The Catholic Cinematographic Orientation, which rates more in relation to the age, but has the hilarious categories of "Adults with Caution" (aside from the standard Adults) and "Unadvisable", for the smuttiest of the smuts, that is, for example, any film which has gay characters which are shown sympathetically and, you know, not considering conversion therapy. And of course, despite being "Catholic", its board is curiously devoid of Jesuits, Salesians, Franciscans, and any of the progressive factions.

    And of course, nobody really gives a fleeting fuck about its rating save for a couple old brags. Despite the fact that they publish their rating lists weekly in the most influential. And the thing is, if you know Spanish, you can have hours of fun by with their unintentional hilarity:

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