Now Showing: The Tudors

Wednesday, March 3, AD 2010

The following is a column posted by Brad Miner of The Catholic Thing on Monday, March 1, 2010 A.D.:

John Timothy McNicholas, Cincinnati’s archbishop from 1925 until 1950, went to a New York convention in 1933 and heard the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Amleto Cicognani (future Vatican Secretary of State), rail against Hollywood’s “massacre” of American moral innocence and call for the “purification of cinema.” McNicholas took the message to heart and founded the Catholic Legion of Decency (CLOD). As TIME magazine reported in 1934, the organization’s mission was simple: the faithful should stay “away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.” So popular did the Legion’s campaign become that Jews and Protestants joined the crusade, and the organization was quickly rechristened the National Legion of Decency.

The Legion’s descriptions of films were exclusively condemnatory; calling only for protests about and boycotts of films deemed impure. And some of the films CLOD listed have been subsequently delisted by its successor, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Film and Broadcasting. For instance, “Finishing School,” a Thirties production starring Billie Burke, Ginger Rogers, and the too-often ignored Frances Dee, was condemned by CLOD as portraying an “attempted seduction and an accomplished seduction. . . . Protest. . . . Protest. . .” Today, the USCCB rating of the film is A-III, in essence: It’s a quality movie. Go ahead and watch it – you’re grown-ups.

Archbishop McNicholas

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5 Responses to Now Showing: The Tudors

  • Note how that classic film depicted Henry’s adultery. Wolsey: “He’s been to play in the muck again. He’s been with Mistress Anne Boelyn.” Those lines convey the reality of the situation so much better than any nude scene could. The current porn fixation of contemporary films is not only a moral evil, but it is a degradation of the art.

  • There is a place for nudity, not for sex.

    And the sex scenes in The Tudors as well as most of the nude scenes (if not all), are gratuitous to say the least.

    Though I enjoy viewing The Tudors, I stopped after a while. It certainly could have done very well without the sex and nudity and played on the History Channel instead of the porn site that is Showtime.

  • An honest question: If the sex depicted doesn’t glorify the immoral, why can’t the depiction be moral?

  • RR,

    Excellent point.

    But if the sex were allowed, does it have to show full frontal nudity for BOTH sexes?

    Plus the act of watching simulated sex is an occurrence of sin.

    Offense Against Chastity:

    CCC 2354 – Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

    The Sixth Commandment: You Shall Not Commit Adultery. (Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18.)

  • Tito you are right. Here are other relevant sections of the Catechism.

    2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

    2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

    2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

    2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

    2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

10 Responses to Kulturkampf Time

  • I think Fr. Neuhaus is occasionally more provocative than he needs to be (see, e.g., ‘The End of Democracy’ in 1996), and I think this may be one of those cases. Obama promised to sign FOCA at one point during his campaign, but I do not think he wants to, nor do the House Democrats in red states. HIs point about Catholics needing to be against the culture in many respects is true, but it has been true for a long time.

  • JH- Padre Neuhaus is spot on. A bumpy ride is coming for orthodox Catholics, fundamentalist/evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, etc. by bunch of folks who hate what they stand for and want to enforce Big Gummint as state religion. Particularly on Life Issues. Padre says very little that we on most of this site and many others have chatted about since November 4. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Padre sees the weather map- and the storm clouds on the way.

  • We shall see John Henry. Personally, if anything I think Father Neuhaus is too optimistic about the forthcoming Obama administration. There was a bizarre cult-like atmosphere to his campaign and I believe there will be a bizarre cult-like atmosphere to his administration. I hope I am mistaken.

  • “I hope I am mistaken.”

    Me too. Just to clarify, I am skeptical that FOCA would pass, but I agree with the broader point that it is harder for pro-life Catholics to make inroads on the culture when the President and both Houses of Congress are hostile to the pro-life position. This was a point that I tried to make frequently over at Vox Nova; one does not bring the culture in closer alignment with Catholic Social Teaching by voting for people committed to marginalizing pro-life voices. To be fair, no candidate is perfect, but some (like Obama) are worse than others.

  • While I agree with JH regarding how Obama might currently have lukewarm feelings toward signing FOCA immediately (even though he has stated otherwise), I think Donald is right here concerning the Obamists. The bizarre cult-like followers of Obama-ism will undoubtedly push very heavily for FOCA and similar legislation regarding abortion, and I’m afraid that the Obama administration will cave-in.

  • Well said, JH. I think the odds of FOCA passing are better than 50%. However, there are many other means of assaulting life here and abroad that Obama can and will mostly act upon. Oddly enough I’m beginning to think that the assault on life is going to look different than it did pre-election. I’m thinking more along the lines of using a time of crisis to institute radical policies that directed against natural and constitutional liberties – all under the guise of the “common good”. Predicting anything certain is beyond me, I think he is a genuine socialist radical underneath his empty platitudes and crafted image (yes, I’m cynical about him), however, the reality of the office and of politics could serve to temper anything he would have chosen to do. On the other hand, there’s plenty of harm he could accomplish due to the despair of the population, the willing propaganda tool of the MSM, and utterly uncritical thinking of his supporters. We’ve seen these factors before…

  • It’s only going to be a battle if the Church will take part, otherwise, it’ll once again be rolling over for the Democrats.

    If it’s really to be a culture war, a lot of old dogs are going to have to learn some new tricks. Among these will have to be emphasizing the Church’s teaching on life issues, in season and out.

    It was wonderful seeing so many bishops emphasizing this issue these past few months, but they should have been doing so the past four years, if they wanted to prevent a pro-abort victory this year.

  • Unless the lameduck Congress manages to pass FOCA in the next 2 months (not likely), FOCA will probably not be Pres-elect Obama’s first blow in the kulturkampf.

    We should also focus on the very real possibility that Obama will reverse standing executive orders that ban federal funds for 1) ESCR that uses new cell lines, and 2) for foreign orgs. that perform abortions or provide counseling on abortion.

  • Paul,

    I am not disagreeing with you, but they shouldn’t have done it 4 years ago… they should have been doing it for the last 30 years!

    Can you imagine if our bishops were protesting at abortion clinics… I’m not talking about 1 or 2 bishops, but 100s of them in their dioceses….constantly… as if it was a civil rights movement for life?… across our country. This election would not have happened… this culture would not be in the shape it is in.. and this reckless idea of this seamless garment garbage would not be known.

  • I would not be surprised to see him sign FOCA into law fairly quickly as an attempt to quell the rising dissatisfaction of the radical leftist faction that supported him. Then…on to the courts…