A little over a week ago a friend forwarded me an email from Carmel Communications that was promoting the recently released movie “Fr. Stu”. She asked me if I had heard of this movie and if I knew why it was rated R!!
I had heard of it and it had all been good things from lots of Catholic internet personalities. To say the least I was shocked when I read in her email it was Rated R! I immediately signed in to my ScreenIt account and looked up the parental review. Again, much shock ensued as I read through the review. We have been using ScreenIt for around 15 years. It has been an invaluable tool in our parenting and for our own entertainment viewing. The VERY first thing we look for when we look up a movie is blasphemy. We WILL NOT watch any movie, TV show, etc. if it has blasphemy in it.
For us, we consider blasphemy as the full use of the two words that are a reference to God and His damnation of someone or something. That is a deal breaker for us. If we can not filter this out we WILL NOT watch it. This is something we have been very consistent with for around 10 years. When we first started it I actually went and looked up some old “favorite” movies of mine to see if it was in there. I could not believe that some of these movies I called my favorites contained blasphemy so many times. One of them it was in there TWENTY-FOUR times!!!!!!!!
Fr. Stu has blasphemy, in the way I describe above (that is breaking the second commandment), “at least 4 times”, according to Screenit. Screenit has been the parental review site that gets this accurate 99.99% of the time. In a pinch we have checked Common Sense or IMDB parental reviews and these two regularly leave out blasphemy from their reviews. In addition to blasphemy the f-word is used at least 35 times and many slang genitalia terms are used in Fr. Stu. This was ENOUGH for me to know we would NEVER see this movie, at least not in the theaters. Since this is being advertised to Catholics as a Catholic movie, I would not want to support it in any way because of the blasphemy!! Especially considering the description of the scene with Jesus in the bar talking with Stu about comparing private part sizes!!
I went ahead and read the sexual content part of the review and again was quite shocked. I immediately felt sorrow, especially for the real life Fr. Stu, may he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him. This did not seem like something that a man (who turned his life around in such a dramatic way) would want to be associated with his name. I mean come on, if people can retell the life of St. Augustine without rehashing all of the gritty details from his sordid life before his conversion the same can be done for Fr. Stu!
I have now since read several other critical reviews of this movie that have been sent to me by friends. You can read these reviews here and here. I found another very informative review here. They all paint a bleak picture of this movie. Each states many reasons why this movie is not appropriate to go and see. The last of them is the most damning in my opinion! However, it is disturbing to me that not one review has brought up the use of blasphemy!
We actually know very few people who “get” this concept. We were taught this by a wonderful priest at our parish over 10 years ago and it just made perfect sense. We then heard Fr. Ripperger speak on this as well. Blasphemy is a sin that can not be simulated. When an actor says blasphemy on film he is actually committing a sin. Whether this is venial or mortal would be up to their knowledge on what is grave matter. When we watch a movie that contains blasphemy we cooperate in this sin and because as a Catholic I have knowledge that blasphemy, in the way I describe above, is mortally sinful, it would be morally sinful for me to willing watch something with blasphemy. There have been times when we could not find a review of a movie or TV show and decided to give it a try. Our general rule is if there is unexpected blasphemy we stop it and pray a prayer of reparation. If it happens again, we pray a prayer of reparation and turn it off and never finish it, unless we can find a filter for it. Of course, we would NEVER do this with the children!! We only watch things with the kids we can filter or we know does not contain blasphemy or impurity. We rarely goto see a movie in the theaters because of this standard. Most movies we have to filter either on VidAngel or Clear Play. If a filter is not available we just never watch it.
I know this concept will seem foreign to most, but I encourage you to consider adopting this standard for your own family. If we can not make this simple sacrifice against these blasphemies against our Lord how can we expect to have any leaders in our Catholic Church that are any better than we have now. We get what we deserve right?
I will leave you with some thoughts to ponder and an incentive. We know blasphemy breaks Gods 2nd commandment. We know this commandment is a direct offense against God Himself. We know using blasphemy ourselves is a mortal sin. Just for kicks imagine I am right and the use of it in movies and TV shows is just as offensive to God as if I said it myself on purpose. This is happening millions of times a day, each and every time a person watches something with blasphemy in it. Over and over and over and over every single day, hour and minute. How many people will it take to pray acts of reparation against blasphemy for each and every time this happens? Millions and millions praying these acts of reparation every day!! If you are not praying an act of reparation against blasphemy AND you are one of the people playing through your speakers these blasphemies, paying money to have these blasphemies played through the theatre speakers, do you think you are contributing to the amount of reparation that needs to be done or simply “watching a movie”. If you are letting your kids watch blasphemy what do you think this is doing to them?
It will be hard to do. Trust me, I know. We do it. Your kids will not be able to see 98% of the movies their friends go see in the theatre or watch at their homes. You will have to be counter-cultural and your kids will probably NOT like it, especially if you have been letting them do it and they are teens!
If you are ready to make this commitment in your family, send me an email with your address and I will gladly mail you a holy card with The Act of Reparation for Blasphemy in the picture at the top. firstname.lastname@example.org
On a last note, if you want to go see a truly Catholic movie, go see/purchase/rent Man of God about a Greek Orthodox Saint, Nektarios. It is really an inspiring movie that is completely clean and appropriate for most teens. There are some accusations spoken of in the movie that might be too much for younger kids. I plan to purchase it on DVD and just skip that scene to watch it with my younger kids.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions…