Tamara Collins, a research analyst at the Catholic League, has previewed the MGM movie “Stigmata.” She describes the film, which opens September 10, as an attempt to use a supernatural thriller as a vehicle for making a political attack on the Catholic Church.

“The thrust of the plot,” says Collins, “is that there exists a lost gospel of Christ, whose message—that the kingdom of God is inside us and all around us, not in buildings made of stone—would thoroughly undermine the legitimacy of the Catholic Church. Naturally, Church officials, hell-bent on preserving their power, will stop at nothing (including violence, if necessary) to suppress this gospel.”

Collins adds that “Particularly insidious are the references to such Catholic figures as Padre Pio and St. Francis of Assisi, in order to give credence to the film’s outlandish exploitation of supernatural phenomena.”

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, viewed the trailer of “Stigmata,” and issued his own take on the movie today:

“MGM risks attenuating its prestige by backing such an outlandishly gory and insidious film as ‘Stigmata.’ The idea that salvation can best be achieved by rejecting the Catholic Church is an old and very tired idea. The good news is that there exists a small audience for such an exploitative film, and all the hype and technical effects in the world can do nothing to redeem this bomb of a movie.”

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