At the Movies
Kingdom of Heaven--another example of Hollywood's Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S.

Same old story. And once again it’s a story we’ll read nothing about in the major communications media when they review this film. Why?  Because, as a weapon in the culture war, it will cut all the more deeply and sharply for not being recognized and denounced as such. Masquerading as plain old “history”, it reinforces conventional ‘enlightened’ prejudices far more effectively. Especially when, as in this case (and many others), we have a spectacular movie, with great acting, directing, photography and music.

This untellable story is simply Hollywood’s seething, undying hatred for the Roman Catholic Church and all its works.

Last year it was the concerted, world-wide attack on Mel Gibson’s The Passion, followed up by King Arthur. This year it’s Kingdom of Heaven, a tale of the crusaders and Saladin set in 12th-century Jerusalem, starring Orlando Bloom and – fresh from his shameless whitewash of corrupt ‘sexologist’ Alfred C. Kinsey in the recent movie bearing his name – Liam Neeson, of Schindler’s List fame.

The opening scene of Kingdom sets the tone of stereotype very nicely. We are treated to a sallow, skulking priest who furtively robs a gold crucifix from a woman’s corpse at the graveside, and then stalks off, sharply ordering the gravediggers to decapitate it prior to burial, because she had committed suicide. (We quickly learn that this young mother had suffered a fit of overwhelming depression after the death of her baby.)

From then on, the boundless anti-Catholic prejudice is obvious from start to finish. Without exception, every character who represents the Church is made to invite utter contempt and loathing on the part of the viewer. The Pope’s lay minions are ferocious killers of unarmed Muslim civilians. They are, of course, egged on by priests and friars screaming repeatedly to the crusading hordes that “It is no sin to kill an infidel!” – an obvious caricature of Catholic doctrine, whether ancient, medieval or modern. These clerics cry “Blasphemy!” every time one of the movie’s good guys suggests anything like tolerance or peaceful collaboration between Christians, Jews and Muslims in the crusader-held parts of the Holy Land.

The propaganda message is crystal-clear: the only “right” thinking is that of the various heroes, who are models of integrity, justice, compassion and valor after having rejected all dogmas, whether Christian or Muslim. Catholics, by way of contrast, are fanatical, merciless, grasping, cowardly and hypocritical. Not one skerrick of any redeeming virtue is ever to be allowed. Not even a trace of valor may accompany clerical bigotry. For we find that the Bishop of Jerusalem, after several times denouncing our heroes for their unorthodoxy, himself lapses into immediate and abject apostasy as soon as his own skin is in danger. (“We must all convert to Islam!” he whines on learning that Saladin’s massive army is at the city gates, “We can repent later!”).

Imagine the tsunamis of outrage that would immediately flood the media following the release of any film which treated rabbis or imams the way this one treats priests and bishops! Once again, Hollywood is proving that the one fully acceptable bigotry in Western society today is anti-Christian, and especially anti-Catholic, bigotry.