“A Love Divided” is another BBC-produced movie that we didn’t appreciate. It is based on an allegedly true story about a Protestant woman, married to a Catholic, who brings her children up Protestant in Ireland in the 1950s after pledging to bring them up Catholic. As the story goes, when a local priest objects, the woman flees to Northern Ireland. Irish bishops then join a boycott of all Protestant goods and services and a national uproar follows.
Catholic League researcher Louis Giovino saw the film in New York when it opened in select theaters. “Cruel caricatures of the Catholic clergy abound,” he said. The first caricature is of “an arrogant bishop,” followed by “a demagogic priest.” Giovino agreed with Stephen Whitney of the Newark Star-Ledger who said, “it rather strenuously portrays the Catholic Church and the Republic of Ireland as a haven for bigots and bullies.”
Giovino told the press that “The film portrays Catholics as being anti-intellectual.” He drew attention to the part where “the wife tells her husband to ‘think for himself’ instead of listening to the priest.” Not unexpectedly, Giovino offered, “The priest is portrayed as a figure who has complete control over the minds of people.” In the end, he said, the movie “portrays the Catholic Church as small-minded and the Irish as a bunch of bigots.”
This didn’t sit too well with William Donohue. In a news release on the subject, he opined, “I await a movie produced by the BBC about the life of Oliver Cromwell and how he ‘interacted’ with the Irish.” Donohue said that in the meantime it was important to note that the producer of the film, Gerry Gregg, has been described by the Sunday Business Post as having produced documentaries which “have dumped on Sinn Fein or the Catholic Church, or both.”
For example, Donohue said, “Gregg is on record for saying that Ireland is a ‘corrupt, hypocritical, inegalitarian society.’” Using sarcasm to make his point, Donohue observed that Gregg’s base point of reference was “his gentlemanly England: his home still outlaws marriage between its splendidly egalitarian princes and lowly Catholics.” Donohue also commented that the actress who plays the victimized wife, Orla Brady, had previously charged that the pope is “a voice for evil.”
When Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” and “The Patriot” were released in England, Donohue said, “the WASPS went mad.” Indeed, after “Braveheart” was released, there reportedly was an outbreak of anti-English prejudice in Scotland.
“Fortunately,” Donohue remarked, “America is more civilized which is why the Catholic League does not expect an outbreak of anti-Catholicism in the U.S. now that the anti-Catholic film, ‘A Love Divided,’ has been released.”
The only good news is that the film didn’t make it to most theaters. Indeed, less than 10 people were at the first showing in the lone New York theater that showed it. We know this because Lou got stuck with this assignment.