Even the bishops’ conference loves the gay cowboy movie

Even the bishops’ conference loves the gay cowboy movie

Why am I not surprised that the movie reviewer for the US bishops’ conference loves the new gay-cowboy film Brokeback Mountain. (Of course Hollywood loves it and you should expect it to receive every possible award between now and the Oscars.)

While giving the standard nod to Church teaching, interpreting as closely as possible to aver that the while the Church says homosexual activity is bad, she’s just peachy keen about homosexual orientation and relationships.

As the Catholic Church makes a distinction between homosexual orientation and activity, Ennis and Jack’s continuing physical relationship is morally problematic. … While the actions taken by Ennis and Jack cannot be endorsed, the universal themes of love and loss ring true.

Is that all that the official reviewer for the US bishops can say about a movie that attempts to normalize homosexuality as just another lifestyle? From the beginning you detect an enthusiasm for the movie that seems a bit untoward.

“Brokeback Mountain” (Focus), the much publicized “gay cowboy love story” adapted from a New Yorker magazine piece by Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Proulx, arrives at last

At last? Really want to see it, huh? The breathless description of the film as two men overcoming stereotypes and the disapproval of society, blah, blah, blah, is belied by the obligatory “L” rating of the film—provided separately from the review itself—as having a “limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling.” This is not the toughest rating that can be given. That would “O” for “morally offensive.” Yet how can it not be morally offensive with this description?

Tacit approval of same-sex relationships, adultery, two brief sex scenes without nudity, partial and shadowy brief nudity elsewhere, other implied sexual situations, profanity, rough and crude expressions, alcohol and brief drug use, brief violent images, a gruesome description of a murder, and some domestic violence.

Methinks that there is a corruption in the film office of the USCCBureaucracy and in the USCCBureaucracy itself.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
23 comments
  • They gave “The Matrix” an O rating (Excessive violence and recurring profanity.), but not this!  They gave “Se7en” an O rating ( Muddled theme of religious fanaticism, intermittent violence, graphic shots of mutilated corpses with full nudity [there is no nudity in “Se7en.”], base sexual references and much rough language.), but not this!  They gave “Hannibal” an O (Excessive violence and gore, crude sexual references, some profanity and intermittent rough language.), but not this!  They gave “Event Horizon” an O rating (Excessive violence, flashes of nudity and much rough language.), but not this! (OK, “Event Horizon” deserved an O, but so did this.) 
    I stopped trusting the USCCB’s movie reviewer several years ago. 

    Yours in Christ,

  • Grant,
    The examples of objectionable or not “O” ratings are long standing and could go on and on.  I would love for someone at the USCCB to explain why the “Hanoi Hilton” deserved an “O.”
    John

  • Except for the initial sex scene, and brief bedroom encounters between the men and their (bare breasted) wives, there’s no sexually related nudity.

    Oh, is that all?

  • “Methinks that there is a corruption in the film office of the USCCBureaucracy and in the USCCBureaucracy itself.”

    oh, big time.

  • Oh for the good old Catholic Legion of Decency days when in the ‘50’s “The Moon is Blue” with Audrey Hepburn was condemned because she had a crush on an older man and uttered the word ‘virgin.’

    “Morally problematic?”  Are there people sitting around a table making this stuff up?  “Bless me father, I have a few ‘morally problematic’ issues.”

  • Of all movies to not give an “O” to after all the homosexual scandals!  Sadly, this is the least of the USCCB’s problems.  I would like to see the handful of orthodox bishops who have courage (as opposed to the far more common, though still minority, orthodox cowards) to publicly withdraw from the USCCB and deal directly with Rome. I wonder why some of them have not already left? (Lincoln, NE for instance)

  • “I would like to see the handful of orthodox bishops who have courage (as opposed to the far more common, though still minority, orthodox cowards) to publicly withdraw from the USCCB and deal directly with Rome. I wonder why some of them have not already left? (Lincoln, NE for instance)”

    Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

  • Sometimes it is so tiring trying to faithfully live and represent the Faith in parish/diocesan life, when the faithful are so often “contradicted” by authority. It leaves the unsuspecting, ingnorant Catholic confused and me very frustrated! Whether it is the moral life, liturgy, doctrine…My priest keeps saying that it is the laity’s job to convert the world…but it seems like our shepherds aren’t giving us any help or backup. (I know there are many faithful priests and bishops…but there are too many contradictions and I feel outnumbered and overwhelmed sometimes.) Maybe I need to read Fr. Pacwa’s Forgive Me Father, For I Am Frustrated! …and I need to remember WHO is still in charge and in control.  : )

  • “Ennis resolutely insists he’ll sleep outdoors, but the cold drives him into Jack’s tent, where the two awkwardly, then roughly, have sex. Incidentally, that scene—short and with the men mostly clothed—is the only onscreen gay sexual encounter in the film.”

    Oh, it’s the ONLY onscreen gay sexual encounter, is it?  I’d say that’s about one too many, then.

  • Who was it that said “the road to hell was paved with the skulls of Bishops?”
    This is a scandel.
    But not surprising.

    Anyone wanting a REAL catholic perspective on films can go to Decentfilms.com.

    That site wont ‘steer’ you wrong.

    ~M~

  • If you want a real review of any movie go to

    http://www.kids-in-mind.com

    They list EVERYTHING that happens, and rate each movie on a scale of 1-10 for Sex/Nudity, Violence, and Profanity.

    Much more helpful. 

    I gave up on USCCB’s film office, and much of USCCB a long time ago.

    I put them in the same category as the UN.

  • Based on the reviews I’ve read and the trailers I’ve sat through, the USCCB film office should’ve given this film an O but created the “L” rating last year for films that probably deserve an O but the critic sees enough artistic value not to give it that.

    From their site: “L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling (succeeded the A-IV classification as of Nov. 1 (2003).”

  • To protest the pro-homosexual review given by the USCCB ‘Film & Broadcast’ office, call NYCity office at 212-644-1880 and the Washington, D.C. office at 202-541-3000.  They need to hear from us in large numbers.  The woman answering the phone in NYC told me the reviewer had his opinion and I have my opinion and just because they differ doesn’t mean he is wrong. I had to give catechesis to her on the phone for several minutes and she accepted the teaching and thanked me. Anyone who promotes or practices the gay lifestyle separates themself from the Church and cannot receive Holy Communion.  A more appropriate name for the movie would be ‘Brownback Mountain,’ no?

  • The head of the USCCB Film and Broadcast Office, at the number Barb gave (212-644-1880) is a fellow named Harry Forbes. His email address is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), but I’d call and write.

    You might also want register your complaint with Harry’s boss:

    Most Reverend William S. Skylstad
    President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    (509) 358-7305

  • Barb,

    “A more appropriate name for the movie would be ‘Brownback Mountain,’ no?”

    I’m not sure the conservative Catholic Sen. Sam Brownback would be happy to have the movie have that title.

  • Apparently, someone has gotten to the USCCB Film Office.  The rating on Brokeback Mountain has been changed to “O”

  • “Sometimes I wonder if the bishops’ conference is the leading cause of anti-clericalism.”

    No need to wonder, Kevin! – at least among practicing Catholics in the U.S.

    And just to confirm, the rating is now “O”. So maybe a “thank-you” to Harry Forbes (and Bp Skylstad, if you contacted him) is in order?

  • Actually, there are several jokes one could make about the movie’s title, none of which are appropriate for this blog!

  • angry
    It was a lame lame lame retraction!
    Read what Mark Shea says about it:

    http://www.markshea.blogspot.com/

    “”“”How sad that our culture was (and is) so ‘homophobic.’ If only people
    had been more accepting of homosexuality then Ennis and Jack wouldn’t
    have felt pressured into marrying women and having families. Their
    ongoing homosexual adultery wouldn’t have caused their wives pain. And
    they would have been cruelly mistreated and one brutally killed as a
    manifestation of the ‘homophobia’ that continues to plague our society
    today. So that things like this will never happen again, we should all
    learn a lesson from this that our society must come to embrace
    homosexuality as an equal, respectable alternative lifestyle.”

    In other words: The film’s core message is radically antithetical to
    Catholic teaching.

    The fact that Forbes is so enamored with it, that he either misses or
    knowingly downplays the message aspect of it, that he treats Catholic
    teaching on homosexuality almost as an afterthought to how this film
    should be appraised, that he believes it to not really be morally
    offensive, and that he is willing to blame others for forcing him to
    call it morally offensive when it is not morally offensive in his
    opinion, all speak of the growing problem that has plagued the U.S.
    bishops’ film review service-and they speak poorly of Mr. Forbes’s
    capacity to do the job entrusted to him by the bishops.

    The bottom line is that this film is not a “borderline case” where one
    could debate whether or not it is morally offensive. It is BLINDINGLY
    OBVIOUS that this one is morally offensive.
    If Mr. Forbes cannot be counted upon to call a film morally offensive
    when it is as blindingly obvious as this one is then he does not have
    what it takes to do his job.”“””

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