6 May 2012

When condemnation is free advertising.

There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is, of course, quite a different thing.  -Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

I was thinking of this quotation the other day when I read this post of LarryD's in which he discussed two movies coming out this summer, one of which, entitled The Perfect Family, gives a view of the Church which would qualify as a parody, except the producers seem to mean it to be straight up.

The plot of “The Perfect Family” is predictable and formulaic. A “devout Catholic” woman, played by Kathleen Turner, is nominated for the “Catholic Woman of the Year” award by her parish. But her “non-traditional”family – a husband who is a recovering alcoholic, a lesbian daughter about to get married to another woman, and a son having an affair – hinders her from attaining that award, which she covets.

Throughout the movie, Turner’s character attempts to “clean up” her family in order to win that award and undercut a rival at the parish. At the end of the movie, she comes to “accept” her family for who they are.

The implication of the movie is obvious: Catholics who dare to follow the teachings of the Church are brainwashed fools who care nothing for the happiness of others.
Sounds remarkably like my family, actually.  Has anyone ever had a parish in which they nominated and awarded someone the title "Catholic Woman of the Year"?  I mean, I've been going to church forty plus years, and I don't recall any parish I've ever heard of coming up with such a thing.  But apparently, this is what Hollywood thinks of us.

(Incidentally, if there were such an award, a woman in circumstances such as Turner's would have been more likely to win, not less, as a woman who is sticking to and living the Faith in trying circumstances.  Their picture of "a perfect family" owes more to Martha Stewart than to the Catholic Church.)

So, when confronted with nonsense such as this, what should we do?  If we were to go off half cocked and launch a series of tirades against this movie, or take out ads in newspapers condemning the movie, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League does routinely, and will probably do for this movie, that would amount to giving the movie a ton of free advertising.  In my opinion, the movie sounds like a preaching movie, one where telling a story is abandoned in favour of spreading a message, and those almost always bomb at the box office, unless someone wastes time and money condemning it and giving it a boost in the arm with a ton of free advertising.  For myself, I would say answer any questions, address any lies.  But, on the whole, the only people who will like this movie are those who are inclined to agree with it already, and their minds are already made up.  Let the movie go in silence, as much as possible, give it little notice, and let it die the death it deserves at the box office.


Adrienne said...

I agree with you 100%.

Louise said...

Me too.