Effing Catholics

Actually, the line in the movie, " Philomena," was "fucking Catholics,"  which proved to be very popular with the Hollywood, secular, religion-hating crowd. Not that they needed the movie to remind them that Irish Catholic clergy in particular are deserving of hatred.

Now, the same crowd is raking New York Post critic Kyle Smith over the coals for daring to say that Philmoena was another attack on Catholics. Said Smith:

With “Philomena,” British producer-writer-star Steve Coogan and director Stephen Frears hit double blackjack, finding a true-life tale that would enable them to simultaneously attack Catholics and Republicans.

There’s no other purpose to the movie, so if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now.

For the rest of us, the film is a witless bore about a ninny and a jerk having one of those dire, heavily staged, only-in-movies odd-couple road trips….

Aside from that, Smith found the movie to be boring, obvious, trite and heavy-handed. Hence, highly offended by a critic expressing an opinion, Harvey Weinstein, the film's US distributor took out a full-page, color ad in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today excoriating Smith. Within the ad is a letter to Smith from the real Philomena, chiding him for, in effect, missing the point of the movie: to wit:

Kyle, Stephen’s movie about my story is meant to be a testament to good things, not an attack. It is a testament to the undying bond that’s exists between mothers and their children, something that I’ve found time and distance have no bearing on. It is a testament to the willingness to never give up on keeping that bond alive, even if all odds are pointing you against it. It is also a testament to the fact that no matter how old we grow, there is always a chance we will meet someone, however different from us, that might impact our views on humanity and help guide us on a new, if perhaps unforeseen, path.

Well, there's that. I saw the movie and that message came through. Actually, I didn't think the movie was all that bad. But what coming through in raw, appalling detail was the allegedly horrific conditions Philomena faced when she found herself in a home for unwed mothers run by Catholic nuns. I can't say whether the depiction was true or not, and Philomena doesn't go into the subject in her open letter. But I did turn to my wife after the movie and ask if she thought that nuns were really that horrible. Yes, she said.

Evil, would be more like it, if the depiction were true. We could be certain that the old nun who was unrepentant at the end of the movie for how the "sinful" pregnant girls were treated was heading straight for hell. It was a pretty brutal depiction, one that I'm sure reinforced a lot of anti-Catholic stereotypes about the mackerel-snappers and bead-squeezers and their obsession with sex.

Smith's observation seems like an appropriate way to end this post:

A film that is half as harsh on Judaism or Islam, of course, wouldn’t be made in the first place but would be universally reviled if it were. “Philomena” is a sucker punch, or maybe a sugary slice of arsenic cake.

See incisive, additional comments from Patrick Hickey in his authentically Chicago blog "With Both Hands."  

Related: Atheist war on Christ and Christmas

Here is the film's official trailer:

Get two copies of my historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," for the price of one in this Christmas sale. For details and how to order, visit http://www.madness1812.com

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  • Mr. Byrne,
    It might be hard to compete with the earlier comment on your story by your faithful correspondent, Jean Gray, and his biweekly $19,500 but here goes. Hey, do you think the Roman Catholic Church can do anything wrong that it can be legitimately be criticized for or do you hold that whatever criticism is leveled against this organization, it always “anti-Catholic”?
    You seem to be in the Chicago area. What do you think of SNAP, very much in your own backyard, apparently? These people feel that the Roman Catholic Church is trying to crush them. The people of SNAP are Catholic, I understand, and they are trying to help fellow Catholics who have been abused by priests. And they say the Catholic Church is trying to put them out of business. That is a pretty serious allegation is it not, pretty serious criticism of the Catholic Church? Are the SNAP people wrong? Are they being “anti-Catholic”? Based on your article, one gets the definite impression that anyone who criticizes the Catholic Church must be “anti-Catholic”. Is that true? If you hold that the SNAP folks are “anti-Catholic”, what would motivate them? That would be interesting to hear. Maybe you would like to do an article on that.

  • In reply to Paul Serup:

    I think that if I said "effing blacks" or "effing" Jews, you might get it.

  • I do not know the context in which this statement, “@#$blanking Catholics" (my term) was made. It might be considered a type of overgeneralization, like your statement regarding the Hollywood, secular, religion-hating crowd. It appears to be crude and abusive but I don’t know the context of the statement. If you know the Bible, you would know that members of the leading religion of the day, the scribes and Pharisees, were called serpents and vipers by Jesus Christ. He also asked them how they could escape the damnation of hell. This was in the context of their wrongdoing pointed out in the Bible, in Matthew 23:13 – 35. Perhaps the film maker was expressing, in essence, that while members of the Church of Rome are not to blame for every crime that has been committed since it first was founded, the evidence points to the fact that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and members of its flock have been involved in much more than their fair share of wrongdoing.

    What if the term used was @#$blanking blacks, or @#$blanking Jews, you ask? The difference, for instance, between blacks and Catholics is however, that a man is born black and dies black and never has the opportunity to change his ethnicity, nor should he. One may be born and raised Catholic but to remain one is a choice. I am sure you have heard of Martin Luther, who was a Catholic, actually a Catholic priest and who became a Protestant, along with almost half of Europe some four decades later. I haven’t heard of anyone who labours under the delusion that these people actually remained Catholics, if you know otherwise, perhaps you could enlighten me. Jesus expected the scribes and Pharisees to change their beliefs and accept him for who he claimed to be, the Messiah.

    You said that “A film that is half as harsh on Judaism or Islam, of course, wouldn’t be made in the first place”. Why wouldn’t it? The “Hollywood, secular, religion-hating crowd” must hate Judaism and Islam also, according to you. Have you ever considered that such a film may not be made because neither Judaism, or Islam, claims to be Christian. The Roman Catholic Church does make this claim. It claims to be the Church of Jesus Christ. This is the same Jesus Christ, I understand, that said he is “the way, the truth, and the life,”, not a way, a truth or a life. Jesus Christ said in the same verse that no one comes to the Father (God), but by him, (John 14:6). This same Jesus said a number of other things which you may or may not be aware of. He also taught his followers to love both their enemies and friends, to love all. The home for unwed mothers, run by the Roman Catholic Church, was according to someone who experienced it, not a place of love. As it claims to be the Church of this one who preached love, who is the only truth, the only way, it therefore is open to greater scrutiny, especially in traditionally Protestant America.

    You state, “coming through in raw, appalling detail was the allegedly horrific conditions Philomena faced when she found herself in a home for unwed mothers run by Catholic nuns.” and you also admit that you do not know if this is an accurate depiction, as you were not there. So what do you have to say about it? The real Philomena was there and you were not. She, it would appear, feels that the depiction was accurate, otherwise she would have spoken up, I assume. So she stands by this depiction. If there was a court case on this, she would be accepted as a witness and if you showed up to testify, any competent judge would ask what in the world you had to say about it. It appears that you think that bias and strong opinion trumps actual evidence.

    You state, “if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now”. What do you mean? Do you mean that it is a film that shows a completely accurate depiction of this horrific and therefore hateful, home, for unwed mothers run by nuns? Rather, do you not mean that it is a film that shows a completely false depiction of this home for unwed mothers and therefore is hateful in this depiction? Again, the real Philomena was there and evidently stands by this depiction and you were not. In regards to this, I suggest that perhaps it is you that does not “get it”, Mr. Byrne.

  • You attributed these quotes to me:

    “if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now”.

    "There’s no other purpose to the movie, so if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now."

    Your rebuttal would be more credible if you would have correctly attributed those quotes to Smith.

  • You are right, I attributed the quote, “if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now” to you and that was incorrect. You quoted Smith as part of what you said but I should have addressed my comment, in essence, to him, my mistake. I see I attributed another quote to you that you didn’t say. You are incorrect when you say I also attributed the quote "There’s no other purpose to the movie, so if 90 minutes of organized hate brings you joy, go and buy your ticket now." to you, but you are correct on the point you make.

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