Are the USCCB movie reviews reliable?

I hate to question the church, but I was looking through the list of movies and I noticed the movies "Oceans Eleven" and the movie wasn't under the "O" morally offensive collumn...I don't see how that movie can't be under the "O" section...I mean it doesn't have a good moral message. It glorifies stealing and makes the robbers into the good guys. The robbers don't go to jail or anything. They get away with it and everything is "happily ever after"...am I missing something here?

Questioning the USCCB movie reviews isn’t questioning the church. The USCCB is not the church. It is a an organization of Bishops and experts within the church that functions primarily as a think tank and to encourage cooperation between dioceses on various issues and projects. It has no authority over Bishops or the Church. Some Bishops in the US do not even belong to the USCCB, and several have stated the USCCB have been wrong about their assessments and recommendations on various occasions.

Do a search for USCCB on this site and you will find many topics on this subject.

I haven’t seen the movie, but had heard of it. From what I heard about it, it is a comedy, and a form of entertainment that could be for adults. Children would most likely not understand it as a comedy and might get the wrong message from it.

That said, I don’t agree with a lot of the decisions of the USCCB. In fact I go only about once every two years to see a movie. There are very few morally uplifting movies, and I do believe movies should have a positive effect, or just be entertainment in a non-offensive way.

[quote="Ben_Sinner, post:1, topic:221276"]
I hate to question the church, but I was looking through the list of movies and I noticed the movies "Oceans Eleven" and the movie wasn't under the "O" morally offensive column...I don't see how that movie can't be under the "O" section...I mean it doesn't have a good moral message. It glorifies stealing and makes the robbers into the good guys. The robbers don't go to jail or anything. They get away with it and everything is "happily ever after"...am I missing something here?

[/quote]

The reviewers may simply not have had the opportunity to watch the movie and rate it.

I preferred to rely on Siskel & Ebert for ratings when they used to co-host "Sneak Previews" on PBS, and then "At The Movies" on ABC. If they both gave a film the thumbs-down, I knew it was a stinker and worth neither my time or money to see it. I never correlated their ratings with the USCCB ratings, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fair amount of agreement.

There were protests some years ago when they gave a favorable review of "Brokeback Mountain," which treats gay sex favorably. So while I still will look up their reviews myself on occasion, I can be a bit cautious about accepting their moral evaluation of films.
From what I heard, the person who gave a favorable review of "Brokeback Mountain" wasn't fired, in spite of widespread protests about the movie review he wrote.

I also heard the movie "Gone With The Wind" was banned by the church. Is that true? If it was, why was the movie banned?

A few points of clarification:

First, every bishop in the U.S. is part of the USCCB. The USCCB is a local conference of Catholic bishops that has been erected by the Holy See to serve the United States as per Canon Law.

Second, the "USCCB" does not always refer to "the unanimous agreement of every bishop in the United States." Really, there are two ways of thinking of the USCCB, which formerly was better signified in the separation between the NCCB (National Conference of Catholic Bishops) and the USCC (United States Catholic Conference). The USCCB in the NCCB sense refers to the whole group of bishops in the U.S. The USCCB in the USCC sense refers to the various offices and staff (primarily lay staff) who work in Washington, DC at the USCCB headquarters.

The USCCB movie reviews are written by two of the lay staff members of the USCCB. They were formerly part of the USCCB's Office of Film and Broadcasting, but the 2007 restructuring of the USCCB has placed them into a "Media Review Office" as a subset of Catholic News Service.

Their movie reviews are useful (IMO) but they most certainly are not morally binding proclamations. They do not represent the opinion of any bishop let alone all of them. The bishops have their hands full with their own dioceses. Frankly, they don't have time to review every single movie and offer some sort of authoritative guidance. Thus, they have passed that off to some competent (or incompetent, depending upon your view ;)) lay staff members. Note, that all staff hirings at the USCCB are also not representative of some unanimous consensus of the U.S. Bishops. Perhaps one bishop who oversaw that particular office at the time made the final stamp of approval (based upon the recommendations of other USCCB staffers) but that would be about it.

You may find DecentFilms.com from Catholic movie reviewer Steve Greydanus to be more helpful. I usually do. But he is not necessarily going to be that easily offended either.

Personally, I like Ocean's Eleven. ;)

I prefer decentfilms.com myself

[quote="Ben_Sinner, post:6, topic:221276"]
I also heard the movie "Gone With The Wind" was banned by the church. Is that true? If it was, why was the movie banned?

[/quote]

I would first try to find a source for that claim before assuming it was true. I did a quick google search and found nothing about it. The Church had previously maintained an Index of Forbidden Books (which she no longer does), and "Gone With the Wind" (the book) was never on that list.

I remember a number of years ago the USSB movie critic gave the passion bad reviews warning about the violence…etc. Then it gave a glowing review to Brokeback mountain stating it was a movie about love. The outrage was too much and they changed the rating to "O’. I have never trusted them again.

Stick with decentfilms.com.

[quote="Ben_Sinner, post:1, topic:221276"]
I hate to question the church, but I was looking through the list of movies and I noticed the movies "Oceans Eleven" and the movie wasn't under the "O" morally offensive collumn...I don't see how that movie can't be under the "O" section...I mean it doesn't have a good moral message. It glorifies stealing and makes the robbers into the good guys. The robbers don't go to jail or anything. They get away with it and everything is "happily ever after"...am I missing something here?

[/quote]

Just curious, are you referring to the original Oceans Eleven, or the remake. The original has a different ending.

Gone With The Wind the movie was actually banned at one point because it portrayed Scarlett as loving another man (Ashley) who was married and she flung herself into his arms whenever she could even if she herself was married. Also the use of the "d" word at the end of the movie was considered offensive. The movie actually when it first came out had a bad response to it because of that one word. But yes, it was banned.

[quote="mdgspencer, post:5, topic:221276"]
There were protests some years ago when they gave a favorable review of "Brokeback Mountain," which treats gay sex favorably. So while I still will look up their reviews myself on occasion, I can be a bit cautious about accepting their moral evaluation of films.
From what I heard, the person who gave a favorable review of "Brokeback Mountain" wasn't fired, in spite of widespread protests about the movie review he wrote.

[/quote]

Why should he be fired? This is what he said:

"The Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality is unambiguous. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and the inclination itself is objectively disordered. At the same time, homosexually inclined persons must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity (#2357 and #2358).

As a result, Ennis and Jack's physical relationship cannot be condoned. Of course, just as offensive from a Catholic perspective is the adulterous nature of their affair. And, in this regard, the film doesn't whitewash the pain Jack and Ennis cause their families, showing how selfish their trysts are, particularly when a befuddled Alma is left alone with the children. Both women are played with tremendous sympathy, but especially Alma."

The reviewer also spoke against how the movie was used as a pro-gay vehicle:

"Use of the film as an advocacy vehicle to promote a morally objectionable message that homosexuality is equivalent to and as acceptable as heterosexuality does a disservice to its genuine complexity. While the actions taken by Ennis and Jack cannot be endorsed, the universal themes of love and loss ring true. The film creates characters of flesh and blood - not just the protagonists, but the wives, girlfriends, parents, and children -- who give the film its artful substance."

So what's objectionable about the review? That he found there to be a compelling story, or that it was artistically well-directed and acted?

[quote="Havard, post:13, topic:221276"]
Why should he be fired? This is what he said:

"The Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality is unambiguous. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and the inclination itself is objectively disordered. At the same time, homosexually inclined persons must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity (#2357 and #2358).

As a result, Ennis and Jack's physical relationship cannot be condoned. Of course, just as offensive from a Catholic perspective is the adulterous nature of their affair. And, in this regard, the film doesn't whitewash the pain Jack and Ennis cause their families, showing how selfish their trysts are, particularly when a befuddled Alma is left alone with the children. Both women are played with tremendous sympathy, but especially Alma."

The reviewer also spoke against how the movie was used as a pro-gay vehicle:

"Use of the film as an advocacy vehicle to promote a morally objectionable message that homosexuality is equivalent to and as acceptable as heterosexuality does a disservice to its genuine complexity. While the actions taken by Ennis and Jack cannot be endorsed, the universal themes of love and loss ring true. The film creates characters of flesh and blood - not just the protagonists, but the wives, girlfriends, parents, and children -- who give the film its artful substance."

So what's objectionable about the review? That he found there to be a compelling story, or that it was artistically well-directed and acted?

[/quote]

This is not what the original reviewer wrote. The original review was as follows:

In the original comment posted on the USCCB's website, the reviewer wrote that the Catholic Church "makes a distinction between homosexual orientation and activity," and that "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," said the original USCCB's review, which also called the movie "a serious contemplation of loneliness and connection."
"Looked at from the point of view of the need for love which everyone feels but few people can articulate, the plight of these guys is easy to understand while their way of dealing with it is likely to surprise and shock an audience," the original USCCB review said.

Based on the above I would think finding a job other then being a film critic for the US Bishops would be in order.

[quote="gatewood1988, post:12, topic:221276"]
Gone With The Wind the movie was actually banned at one point because it portrayed Scarlett as loving another man (Ashley) who was married and she flung herself into his arms whenever she could even if she herself was married. Also the use of the "d" word at the end of the movie was considered offensive. The movie actually when it first came out had a bad response to it because of that one word. But yes, it was banned.

[/quote]

Wow, I never knew that. But "Gone with the Wind" was and still is a good film. When did it get un-banned?

[quote="gatewood1988, post:12, topic:221276"]
Gone With The Wind the movie was actually banned at one point because it portrayed Scarlett as loving another man (Ashley) who was married and she flung herself into his arms whenever she could even if she herself was married. Also the use of the "d" word at the end of the movie was considered offensive. The movie actually when it first came out had a bad response to it because of that one word. But yes, it was banned.

[/quote]

Source?

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