USCCB Movie Ratings - the Departed

Hi, just “tried” to watch “The Departed” and was shocked at the foul language of the film. I was totally turned off by listening to that language every few seconds. I had to scan the film and get to the ending. What a disappointment. I am totally confused why the USCCB would rate that movie with an L (limited) instead of O. There are many O rated films that I enjoy and am not watching them because of the O rating which was given many years ago. I believe they should re-rate some of the older movies like Pet Semetary, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Omen with Gregory Peck, Child’s Play; I have them in my collection and don’t watch them due to the O rating. I feel they are totally harmless and fun to watch, whereas the Departed was worthy of an O rating. Do you watch horror movies rated O? I find them fun and harmless but avoid them. Do you confess it if you intentionally watch an O rated film? maryann

I think it’s important to keep in mind that the USCCB movie ratings are NOT infallible proclamations of the universal Church as to the morality of watching a particular movie. Since it’s on the USCCB website, it can have the appearance of somehow being the US bishops’ “official” position on a given movie. This is not the case.

The USCCB is somewhat analogous to a diocesan chancery. The bishop (or in this case bishops) is the head, but there are many different offices that are there to help him in his work. Some of these are run by priests. Many are run by lay people or religious sisters. The USCCB is no different.

In this case, the particular office that publishes movie reviews is the Office for Film and Broadcasting (OFB). While there is probably a bishop that is connected with the office, it is probable that the day to day office activities are not handled directly by a bishop but by the office staff. This includes the movie reviews.

Bishops are busy people and Hollywood is prolific. If the OFB had to wait for a bishop’s approval before every movie review, they likely would not publish very many of them.

So, while their movie reviews can be helpful, they are very far from being infallible statements of the Church. I don’t think that the Church would ever come out and say “It is a sin to watch (fill in the blank) movie or TV show”. A lot of it depends upon the person. Of course, that doesn’t mean it would be prudent to watch anything and everything indiscriminately. And there always is the possibility of scandal (“Hey, she watches that movie all the time so it MUST be okay!”).

You’ll probably have to sort through that on your own (and perhaps with a good spiritual director!)

I might suggest that you use

It tells you everything.

Rated “O”? I’ve never heard of that before.:confused:

The USCCB has their own rating system. O is for Offensive…as in morally offensive. Movies with such a rating are usually graphically violent and/or sexually raunchy. In other words, something that likely will offend Catholic sensibilities and contradict the Catholic world view.

From their website:

*]A-I – general patronage;
*]A-II – adults and adolescents;
*]A-III – adults;
*]L – limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. L replaces the previous classification, A-IV.
*]O – morally offensive

Their ratings can be helpful as movies that are typically all lumped together as “R” tend to fall into A-III, L, or O. This can give you a better idea of the content of the movie. Thus, you see a movie like “The Passion of the Christ” and one like “Saw IV” that are both rated R, but one gets classified as A-III and the other as O (try to guess which is which :wink: ).

Check out their rating for Brokeback Mountain. :rolleyes:

And this one is very descriptive also. I find it quite helpful.

And good reviews from a Catholic perspective:

Okay. Let’s:

[quote=USCCB Movie Review for Brokeback Mountain]Over-the-years love story between two emotionally fragile cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) who begin an intimate relationship during a solitary sheepherding assignment. … O – morally offensive. ® 2005


And the point is?

– Mark L. Chance.

I think the point is that the origional rating by the usccb was L - Limited and was later changed to O- Offensive. Meaning that the movie was suitable for a limited adult audience.

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