Archbishop Charles Chaput – Are Violent Films Appropiate?

Denver, CO  (CNA) edited for length- At a recent film event in Denver that explored the topic of violence in movies, Archbishop Charles Chaput weighed in on the issue, telling CNA that he believes violence to be appropriate in film only if it’s the kind “that teaches us not to be violent.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

CNA caught up with Archbishop Chaput following the event, who explained the significance behind his decision in taking time from his schedule and attending a relatively small, independent film seminar.

“I chose to participate because I think that it’s important for the Church to be involved in the culture and in the broader society and I think movies are hugely influential,” the Denver prelate said.

“So I jumped at the opportunity to speak, just so the Church would have a face here,” he added, “but also to meet the community that gathers for this kind of discussion because I think it has a huge impact on our culture and I think it’s important for them to know that the Church is both interested and aware of what’s going on.”

CNA then asked Archbishop Chaput if violence is ever contextually appropriate in film or if it is gratuitous in all instances.

“I think the only kind of violence that’s good in movies is the violence that teaches us not to be violent,” he underscored. “I think sometimes that graphic violence can demonstrate how damaging violence is.”

War movies, for instance, “really teach us that war is always horrible and always to be avoided,” he noted.

Archbishop Chaput then cited the example of an earlier clip shown from the movie “The Godfather,” where scenes that show a mob boss attending a baptism and repeating the vows are juxtaposed with images of the mob boss’ enemies being ruthlessly killed at his behest.

“’The Godfather’ violence demonstrates hypocrisy and how people can say one thing and lead entirely different lives,” the archbishop said. “When you’re confronted with that in such a graphic way, it makes you look at the hypocrisy in your own life.”

The prelate added a caveat, however, saying that violence in film “always has to be the kind of violence that educates us on the ugliness and damage” of violence in real life.

Archbishop Chaput also spoke on his own love of film and earlier aspirations as a young boy to be a stunt man when he grew up. He then commented on the gifting and potential influence for the good those in the movie industry have.

To “those who are involved,” in the industry, he noted,  “I congratulate them and bless them and I hope that they really will use their talents to make sure that film is transformative of society in a good way.”

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3 comments to Archbishop Charles Chaput – Are Violent Films Appropiate?

  • IrishEddieOHara

    Joan — Are you praying for Archbishop Chaput? Or are you just criticizing? Remember, the bishops are the princes of our Church. Far better to pray for the man. You have no idea the pressures such a position entails. I would be very careful of what I said about one of our Lord’s princes, even if one of them is wrong. Prayer much better.

  • Joan Bottcher

    Archbishop qoutes about the movie The Godfather. “’The Godfather’ violence demonstrates hypocrisy and how people can say one thing and lead entirely different lives,” the archbishop said. “When you’re confronted with that in such a graphic way, it makes you look at the hypocrisy in your own life.”

    Archbishop Chaput seeems to be doing the same thing about his positions in a lot of areas where he still gives out communion to Catholic leaders that create laws and pass them that kill babies in the womb. I personally feel Archbishop Chaput speaks with forked tonge on many issues; but abortion is the gravest of his offenses. Or, is it, that Archbishop Chaput is politically positioning himself to becoming Pope. Sure hope that doesn’t ever happen.

  • Patty

    To think that a little over 50 years ago there was no t.v. or movie pictures. I have not watched t.v. in over a decade and I cannot even bring myself to view any part of it. I am certainly not less of a human for not having an even slight affection for this technology. The 7 deadly sins were DEADLY before they became even prettier and more enticing because of t.v. and movie shows. Humans have lost their ability to communicate and think in a holy manner because of years of t.v. and movie programming – Instead of imitating holy people, there is an idol of fantasy even if it a movie about a saint (of course the saint is pretty and beautiful!) or Christ’s Passion (do we really feel it now? Oh my – Mel Gibson!) No my brothers in Christ – none of it is good, it has never been good nor will it ever be good. It would be better to start admonishing the flock of Jesus to turn all of it off and open the Bible and the incredible writings that have been handed down through the milleniums. Unless someone comes up with a better story, I’m still stuck on the general idea that this t.v. and movie thing is “statue that the beast breathed life into” and he caused everyone to adore it. I’m open for the Truth as it comes, but in my little life experience is were I’ll tag t.v. and movie shows with all the 7 DEADLY disorders.


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