Is Prometheus on the "Index of Forbidden Films"? | Christopher S. Morrissey | Catholic World Report
Contrary to widespread media opinion, neither the Pope nor "the Vatican" writes movie reviews.
The Pope does not write movie reviews. The Vatican is not keeping a list of prohibited films. But you’d never know that from reading the secular press.
Anti-Catholicism—the last acceptable prejudice, and one that is usually paired with atheism, the last superstition—dies hard in the mainstream media, which persistently keeps alive certain ridiculous clichés about the Catholic Church. One favorite media myth about the Vatican is that it is stuck in the Dark Ages and is staffed with a killjoy Inquisition that sour-facedly watches new movies and issues knee-jerk condemnations.
The dishonest distortions required to propagate this myth were on display again last week. Witness the headline in The Hollywood Reporter, “Official Vatican Newspaper Criticizes Prometheus for ‘Mishandling’ Delicate Questions”, and its accompanying sub-title: “With the criticisms, Prometheus joins a list of films the Vatican dislikes that includes The Da Vinci Code and Avatar.”
Never mind that the only person ultimately responsible for what appears in L’Osservatore Romano is its controversial editor, Italian layman Gian Maria Vian. The Vatican newspaper is allowed to operate with wide latitude in its editorial judgment, which in recent years has dabbled in pop culture reviews that have no magisterial standing whatsoever.
(Even so, that still doesn’t prevent the secular media from going bananas every time “the Vatican’s official newspaper” publishes a pop culture review. Right away, like clockwork, you can expect a misleading headline about what “the Vatican” or “the Pope” has decreed about The Beatles or The Simpsons or Bob Dylan or The Blues Brothers.)
Rather, what is especially egregious this time around is not the recycling of the old myth about how the Vatican has nothing better to do with its time than maintain an Index of Forbidden and Approved Pop Culture Phenomena. It is rather that the story about Prometheus completely misrepresents the review that actually appeared in L’Osservatore Romano.
The review itself, which appeared in Italian, consists mainly of a bland plot summary. But a mere handful of sentences that softly criticize the film were spun in the English language media to give the impression that the Vatican was issuing an angry condemnation of the film.
Yet this is a pure fabrication.