When Lent began earlier this month, Archbishop Chaput wrote a column in which he took on the role of film critic, giving his thoughts on a handful of religiously themed films.
He loved, loved, loved Mel Gibson‘s “The Passion of the Christ,” calling it one of “the great biblical screen adaptations.” Chaput said the film was “deeply moving, but it’s also free of the sentimentality that can often ruin movies that deal with saints or faith or Scripture. Few biblically themed films come close to it in quality. And some, like Ridley Scott’s bloated ‘Exodus,’ have managed to be lavish, offensive to believers and ridiculous all at the same time.”
Chaput also had kind words for “Risen,” presently in theaters, which he called “unusual, believable and gripping” and “an outstanding piece of work.”The Catholic Church doesn’t always give such positive reviews. In fact, for the last 83 years the church has impanelled a task force — the Catholic Legion of Decency — to evaluate films’ values, or lack thereof.
Turner Classic Movies next month will air 27 films that the Legion found morally objectionable or even “Condemned.” The series will look at the Legion’s dedication to protecting American movie morals and explore how film studios got around some of the Legion’s objections. The series will air every Thursday in March, beginning Marc 3 at 8 .pm. Screenings will be hosted by film critic Sister Rose Pacatte, a member of The Daughters of St. Paul and founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies.
And you can find more details, and the schedule, at the TCM website.