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Catholic Church Ratings Will Focus On Movies’ Morality

Dana Calvo Associated Press

Forget Siskel and Ebert. The Roman Catholic church is giving its own thumbs up or thumbs down to the latest movies.

The Catholic Communications Campaign next Wednesday will open a national toll-free movie review line giving “moral ratings” to the latest movies and videos.

“The morally offensive film is one that exploits sexuality and violence - like ‘True Lies,”’ said Henry Herx, director of the campaign’s office of film and broadcasting.

Each review will provide a plot synopsis and an evaluation of content, entertainment value and moral qualities.

The rating system differs from the Motion Picture Association of America Inc.’s ratings by focusing on the film’s overall moral message. Herx and his partner, Gerri Pare, review all of the movies.

“‘Die Hard: With a Vengeance’ was replete with contemporary violence, terrorism as well as rough language,” he said, so it, like “True Lies,” got an “O” rating for “morally offensive.”

Others receiving that rating were “explicitly sexual” movies such as “Exotica” and “Two Girls in Love.”

The campaign does not condemn themes of homosexuality as long as they are portrayed within “sensible bounds,” Herx said.

Walt Disney’s “The Lion King” and the newly released “Arabian Knight” earned A-1 ratings (general audience), because they did not contain morally objectionable material.

Due to profanity, “Apollo 13” received an A-2 rating (for adults and adolescents).

“Bye, Bye Love,” a film about divorced fathers and the challenges of dealing with their children, got an A-3 rating (for adults) because it dealt with a sophisticated theme on an adult level.

“The Bridges of Madison County,” was given an A-4 rating (for adults, with reservations) because it dealt with what Herx called the “A” word: adultery.

xxxx REVIEW NUMBER The Catholic movie review line’s number is 800-311-4222.

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