Is Jesus Christ Superstar Sacrilegious?

I’m a volunteer religious ed teacher for 9th grade confirmation candidates. I’d like to use some clips from the movie “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Gethsemane and Hosanna songs) but I wanted to know if it’s sacrilegious. If it is, can you explain what parts/interpretation make it so?

Thank you,


2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.

The Catholic News Service gives the following review:

Jesus Christ Superstar – Screen version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical adds a completely new dimension and drive to the music by virture of a cinematography that enhances the original songs but also threatens to overwhelm them. Director Norman Jewison presents a visual recording, with optical embellishment, of a performance of the rock opera based on the last days of Christ’s life on earth, ending in his crucifixion. Entertaining as musical theater, it can also be seen as a sincere if naive effort to tell the story of Jesus in contemporary musical and ethical terms. Some scenes require a mature perspective. A-III (G) ( 1973 )

So while it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it does not appear to be sacrilegious in that it does not appear to be intending to treat the story of Jesus unworthily. However, it is not recommended for younger persons. I don’t think it would be appropriate for 9th graders who might not be able to appreciate the genre.

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