When the Catholic League learned that a controversial new movie was to open in the U.S., “The Crime of Father Amaro,” we asked Samuel Goldwyn Films if we could preview it. They graciously agreed. The movie, which opened in select theaters on November 8, was previewed in New York on November 5 by Louis Giovino, the Catholic League’s director of communications. He prepared a report for William Donohue who, in turn, issued the following news release:
“Imagine a film script that is wholly fictitious and portrays in the most vicious way every member of the clergy introduced to the audience. That’s right—there are no exceptions: if the clergy are not dishonest and corrupt, they are vile and abusive. Is there anyone who wouldn’t question the motive of the writer and producer? We do. After all, it’s our religion that’s being assaulted in ‘The Crime of Father Amaro.’
“Here’s whom viewers meet: a) a bishop who abuses his powers to squelch a scandalous news story b) a hypocritical pastor who launders money and has an affair with his housekeeper c) a liberation-theology priest who is at once corrupt, supportive of guerillas and soft on abortion d) and Father Amaro. He hits on a 16-year old catechism teacher, gets her pregnant, refuses to marry her and then gets her to have an abortion. Oh, yes, she hemorrhages and dies. Move over Bing Crosby—make way for Father Amaro.
“Scenes include an old eccentric woman who steals from the collection plate, spits out the Host at Mass and feeds it to her cat. Then there is Father Amaro in the buff dressing his girl in a robe meant for the statue of the Blessed Mother commenting, you’re ‘more beautiful than the Virgin.’ And all the way through, celibacy is ridiculed.
“But guess who likes this flick? The DNC’s favorite ‘Catholic’ organization, Catholics for a Free Choice (see the Autumn issue of Conscience, the group’s journal). And the Democrats wonder why they are so hated these days. When will Terry McAwful finally get it?”