The film Benedetta was released nationwide on December 3 during the holy season of Advent. Traditionally, the faithful prepare for the Holy Day of Christmas during Advent. However, one way of preparation has been a corresponding wave of protests to meet this blasphemous film.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and its America Needs Fatima campaign organized rosary rallies of reparation and protests in front of theaters everywhere. The dismal box office receipts prove that the anti-Catholic film is a spectacular failure.
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Benedetta is arguably one of the most sacrilegious and blasphemous films ever. This film is the work of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, 83, who viciously attacks all that is holy in many ways. The film attacks the sacred human nature of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mary Most Holy in unspeakable ways, the Catholic Church and the consecrated religious life of nuns.
While blasphemous films are common, Benedetta sinks to new depths. It promotes immorality and full nudity in a religious setting. The sacred atmosphere of a Catholic convent serves as the setting for horrific sins of unnatural vice. A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is used in a horrific sacrilege. The leading lesbian character is the antithesis of the chaste life of a Catholic religious.
This film is an insult to the consecrated religious over the centuries who have dedicated their entire lives to serving Our Lord by zealously obeying His commandments and by vowing to live according to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.
In addition, the media contributed to this scorn by favorably reviewing the film. One reviewer, Amy Nicholson of FilmWeek (KPCC—NPR Los Angeles), wrote, “A very fun, very naked, very blasphemous movie.”
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In hundreds of venues, members, supporters, and friends of the American TFP and America Needs Fatima were honored to mobilize to protest this insult to the Catholic faith. Wherever it appeared, the film did not go unchallenged.
All over America, rallies of reparation put the soiled merchants of sacrilege and blasphemy on the defense. Once protesters started to appear, many theaters took measures to hide the film or minimize its showings.
Some theaters did not place the name of the movie on their marquees. Others removed the film’s title as a result of the negative publicity. Some ended the film’s run early or canceled showings. At one location in Columbia, Missouri, protesters lined up outside a well-lit theater. The outside lighting helped illuminate the signs held by protesters. As a result, passersby honked in support. Eventually, the theater manager turned the lights off. Once the rally ended, and the participants departed, the lights were turned back on.
At most rallies, protesters outnumbered those few who entered the theaters. In some cases, less than ten viewers attended a showing.
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The box office receipts to date indicate the film was a financial failure. However, the producers of such films do not create these despicable films to make money. They do it to break down public morality and expand the boundaries of sacrilege and blasphemy. Each unopposed action on the part of evil pulls society farther away from God and closer to the devil.
The hundreds of rallies against Benedetta served to console Our Lady and bring graces upon the nation. She saw those who loved Her enough to brave the public scorn of the unrepentant wicked.
It might also explain the abysmal failure of the film. Our Lady may have granted graces where the public realizes that this movie went too far. The overwhelming number of positive reviews should have generated crowds. Instead, there was widespread support for the protest. The failure should give protesters confidence that their actions have consequences. That is all the more reason why Catholics must continue to offer reparation and defend Our Lord, Our Lady, the Holy Catholic Church and Catholic institutions.