Catholic activists are petitioning the censorship of a lesbian-nun film, Benedetta, which will screen in the UK and Ireland on Good Friday.
An outraged Catholic activist group is petitioning a cinema in Belfast for screening Benedetta, which tells the story of a lesbian nun from the 17th century.
Directed by Paul Verhoeven, Benedetta depicts the true story of Benedetta Carlini who engages in a lesbian affair, which the film explicitly portrays; nun-on-nun kissing, nudity, lesbian sex, and self-flagellation are also displayed.
“This movie is a fraud and nothing more than a blatant attack on the Catholic faith,” said Damien Murphy, a spokesman for the Irish Society for Christian Civilisation.
Murphy’s rebuke of the film comes with its release across Ireland and the UK this Friday: “To launch this film on Good Friday is a calculated insult to Christians everywhere.
“And shame on the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast for permitting this showing at any time, but especially on this highly significant religious occasion.”
The petition, which currently has 13, 114 signatures and directly addresses distributor MUBI and director Verhoeven, states:
“I strongly oppose and condemn your distribution and promotion of Paul Verhoeven’s film Benedetta. It offends God, and countless Catholics all over the world.”
The petition specifically admonishes the depiction of “several Jesus-on-nun intense ‘make-outs’ and a statuette of Mary Most Holy used as a sex-toy” and concludes with “promote virtue, not vice!”.
Last year, Verhoeven responded to criticisms of Benedetta, stating: “I don’t really understand how you can really blaspheme about something that happened, even in 1625.
“You cannot change history, you cannot change things that happened, and I based it on the things that happened. So, I think the word blasphemy in this case is stupid.”
Responding to the “puritanism” of modern cinema at a 2021 Cannes press conference for Benedetta, Verhoeven said: “don’t forget, in general, people, when they have sex, they take their clothes off.
“So, I’m stunned basically by the fact that we don’t want to look at the reality of life. Why this puritanism has been introduced? It is, in my opinion, wrong.”
Are historically accurate depictions of vice blasphemous? Should we censor past representation according to modern proclivities?
Benedetta is currently streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime.