Celibacy on HBO
Did anyone else catch the HBO America Undercover documentary by Antony Thomas, “Celibacy?” Wow!
The review on Beliefnet reports the outcry from the institutional Catholic Church. But the article in the Rocky Mountain News is more balanced, I think, and is an example of the benefits of discussing these things. I think that the Catholic institutional church would do well to heed good PR advice and face these points of view that are out in the marketplace, because they are being discussed seriously. Leadership from the institutional church, giving fuller and more nuanced versions to this topic, would be well received, I think.
Of course this documentary is one person’s point of view. That’s the whole point of making films. Institutional leadership works best when it engages rather than confronts. It is interesting that all of the negative squawking about the film comes from older men. This is the case at least with the limited references I found on the Internet.
The ending of the piece is great: dramatic and poignantly staged, and, of course interpretative.
Here’s an excerpt from the Rocky Moutain News that deals also with the idea that due to the church’s influence, this type of film would never be released on TV networks.
“The program ends with terse comments in Rome by Archbishop John Patrick Foley, a Vatican spokesman and president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
In offering unbending comments, Archbishop Foley fully backs the church’s celibacy stance without providing much of a logical argument.
Conservative Catholics might ask how much of his interview was left on the cutting room floor.
Celibacy is the type of documentary that would never show up on ABC, NBC or CBS. Its content is too controversial and, probably in the minds of some, too one-sided.
The networks would have trouble with sponsors, something HBO doesn’t have to worry about.”