Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #20

Re: “No Movies Please, We’re Catholic”

Thank you for your incredible post “No Movies Please, We’re Catholic”! I don’t know how many people I’ve met over the years — Protestant and Catholic — who, as you put it, throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to movies and TV — even books: I remember one uber-Traditionalist catalog which listed the novels of Michael D. O’Brien under “Modernist Garbage”, when I don’t think there’s a more orthodox (and at times a bit conservatively so, viz. Landscape With Dragons). I attend a parish which offers the Tridentine Latin Mass, and I’ve had to avoid discussing certain topics with some people during the social hour in the parish hall, due to their tarring most if not all movies and TV with the same very black brush. And let’s not get started on the looks of blank horror if I bring up the subject of anime, even Hayao Miyazaki. Your article is in direct contrast to this attitude and I’d like to shake your hand for writing and posting it.

Thanks for your kind words. I’m gratified that my essay resonated with your experiences. I’m certainly familiar with the principle that no matter how traditionalist or modernist you are, there will always be folks further down the road ready to tar and feather you with the opposite label. Even so, the thought of a catalog blacklisting Michael O’Brien under “Modernist Garbage” is a pretty stunning one. Are there other fiction authors they like, or does it go downhill from there?

For that matter, the thought of any catalog with a heading for “Modernist Garbage,” or for any sort of garbage, is a bit mystifying (if not entirely surprising coming from such a source). I’m supposing they aren’t selling books in the “Modernist Garbage” category? Is it a list of books they aren’t selling? How do they choose which books they aren’t selling to list? Or was it not that kind of catalog in the first place?

I’m aware of two parishes in my area that offer the 1962 extraordinary form of the Roman rite, and have attended both of them. (Our parish is Latin-friendly and pretty traditional generally, as Catholic churches using the ordinary form of the Roman rite go.) I can’t think that I’ve ever gotten into a movie-related discussion in a Latin Mass crowd, although I did recently meet a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at a Latin Mass who said that some of their congregants liked my work.

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