On February 19 and 20, the Arts & Entertainment Network is scheduled to show “The Boys of St. Vincent,” a Canadian film about priest pedophilia in a Catholic orphanage. Catholic League president William A. Donohue has written a letter about the show to Brooke Bailey Johnson, Vice President for Programming and Production at A&E.  Dr. Donohue and Ms. Johnson exchanged letters last fall concerning the network’s programs on the Catholic Church.

Dr. Donohue released the following statement today:

“With the exception of a biography on Pope John Paul II, A&E seems to have a penchant for airing shows that do not look kindly on the Catholic Church. To wit: ‘Brides of Christ,’ ‘Behind the Veil’ and ‘Sex and the Church: A House Divided.’  And now we get ‘The Boys of St. Vincent.’

“It is revealing that the courts in Canada initially held up the showing of ‘The Boys of St. Vincent’ because the movie was so vile. It is revealing that even last June the Village Voice admitted that the film was ‘programmed to offend.’  It is revealing that no other American network would go near this movie-not even PBS would touch it.  And it is certainly revealing that the one network that is about to show the movie has a history of portraying the Catholic Church in a negative light.

“I pose the same scenario to the media that I posed in a letter to Brooke Bailey Johnson of A&E.  Consider this: a network airs successive programs about homosexuals that cast them in a bad light.  It then airs a program that puts gays in a good light, only to be followed by another negative portrayal.  Would you think there was reason in the gay community to wonder what was going on? More important, do you think that any network-including A&E-would dare offend gays in such a manner?

“The Catholic League, through its monthly journal Catalyst, will let its members know about the pattern that seems to be emerging at A&E. It is expected that they, in turn, will convey their sentiments to the network.”

The Catholic League is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. It defends the right of Catholics-lay and clergy alike-to participate in American life without defamation or discrimination.

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