Out-of-Date Message Movies

I haven’t seen Philomena but I’ve noticed it’s been getting a lot of attention: many TV ads, awards nominations, numerous interviews with the stars, with the book’s author, and with the real-life Philomena Lee.

Then I read some reviews of the film and realized why the media was giving it so much play. It’s about an unwed teenager who gave birth to a boy in a Catholic convent in Ireland some sixty-one years ago. When the boy was three, he was put up for adoption by the nuns and “sold” to an American couple. The rest of the film concerns Philomena’s efforts to find the son she had lost.

I’m not suggesting that the anti-Catholic element is the only reason for the hype surrounding the film. By most accounts, it’s a well-made film with first-rate acting, and it’s based, moreover, on a heart-wrenching true story.

The larger problem with the film is that it is seriously dated. More often than not, movies that deal with the recent past are meant to be relevant to the present. But just how relevant is Philomena? Like many other movies of its kind, Philomena aims to teach us a lesson, but, as with so many other recent movies, the lesson it teaches is one we all learned decades ago. In short, the message has passed its sell-by date. The problems depicted in such movies are yesterday’s problems. Rarely does the film industry address the problems of today.

philomenaFor instance, one of the “lessons” imparted by Philomena concerns the harmful consequences of attaching social stigma to unwed pregnancies. Because of the moralistic climate in Ireland circa 1955, Philomena was pressured to give up her baby—an act she regretted for the rest of her life. That’s fine if you’re addressing your message to the conscience of a 1955 audience, but the filmmakers don’t seem to have caught up with the fact that we live in a changed world. Many of the problems we face today stem from the fact that there is practically no social stigma attached to illegitimacy. Indeed, there are numerous social incentives for unwed mothers to remain unwed. As a result, the incidence of out-of-wedlock births has skyrocketed and, along with it, rates of poverty, crime, drug abuse, child abuse, child neglect, and abortion. What followed in the wake of the new non-judgmental morality was a seemingly endless cycle of husbandless mothers and fatherless children. Moreover, the number of children forcibly separated from their mothers by court order far exceeds anything seen in previous eras. If the filmmakers were really serious about addressing the issues of the day, the blight caused by the sexual revolution would be one of their top priorities.

There should be no objection to a well-made movie that has a message to convey. But it would be refreshing for a change to hear a message that bore some relevance to the world we now live in, rather than to the world of sixty years ago. Consider the main event in Philomena: a child is taken away from its mother. That’s something that happens every day in the Muslim world. Islamic law and custom tend to favor males in cases of custody dispute, especially if the wife is non-Muslim. Is Philomena meant to be a veiled comment on Islamic practices? Not likely. The last time Hollywood dealt with the subject of Islam and abduction was the 1991 film Not Without My Daughter. Since then, however, the forces of political correctness have tightened their control on what can and cannot be said about Islam.

Betty Mahmoody (the real-life mother on whom the movie is based) is not the only American to undergo this experience. Last year, a Pennsylvania mother rescued her twelve-year-old son who had been kidnapped twenty months earlier by her Muslim husband while they were on a trip to Egypt. Kalli Atteya hired an agency to track down her husband, made several trips to Egypt and, finally, disguised in a niqab, grabbed her son as he got off a school bus in Alexandria, led him to a waiting car, and eventually escaped with him back to the U.S.

So, here is a true story about a stolen child, and his loving mother’s desperate search for him—a story not unlike that of Philomena. The story has plenty of drama, plenty of action, several twists and turns, and loads of human interest. The Daily Mail’s coverage of the story alone has sufficient detail to provide a good screenwriter with enough plot elements to start crafting an absorbing screenplay. Will the movie be made? Probably not. It might be considered offensive to the sensibilities of Egyptians and Muslims. And that, in the current scheme of things, counts far more heavily than the sensitivities of Irish Catholics.

There is nothing wrong per se with stories that remind us of the sins and imperfections of the past. Moreover, many films of the Philomena genre are worthwhile in themselves simply on the level of storytelling. Taken as a whole, however, they display an obvious selectivity. They concentrate on certain sins and avoid others. Every year, for example, Hollywood treats us to at least a few new anti-Nazi movies (Valkyrie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), but very seldom do we see films about the crimes of communism. Is this simply because the Nazis had more stylish uniforms than the Soviets? Or does the reluctance to criticize communism stem from a deeper bias—such as the general sympathy for the left that pervades the film industry?

Likewise, while Hollywood never tires of reminding us of the evils of slavery (Django Unchained, Twelve Years a Slave), its focus is entirely on slavery in the West. The Arab slave trade, which lasted centuries longer and resulted in the loss of many more lives, is passed over in silence. Moreover, the fact that slavery is still practiced in several places in the Muslim world does not seem to excite the imagination of the movie execs.

Discrimination? We have The Butler, The Help, and dozens of similar films to remind us of just how bad it was for American blacks in the pre-civil rights era, but where are the films about the blatant discrimination that currently exists in the Muslim world—discrimination that is becoming more and more pronounced. Where is the major motion picture dealing with the legalized oppression of women in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia? How about the socially sanctioned discrimination against Christians? In Pakistan, for instance, the slang world “chuhru” or “street-sweeper” is almost synonymous with “Christian” because that is one of the few jobs available to Christians.

It’s unrealistic to expect that Hollywood (or British) filmmakers will drop everything and rush their film crews to Pakistan. In any event, they won’t have to, because, in a very real sense Pakistan is coming to the West. In fact, the mores and prejudices of the Islamic world have already arrived in parts of the West. Enforced wearing of the burqa, forced marriages, polygamy, female genital mutilation—practices that would have been unthinkable mere decades ago—are now common in Britain and on the continent.

For many young people, the entertainment world is their sole window on the real world, and most of them have little awareness that the Hollywood worldview is a dangerously distorted one. Obsessively focused on the past sins of the West, the Hollywood gatekeepers have seriously neglected the present dangers that Western cultures face. In short, they don’t seem to have noticed that the world has changed profoundly since the 1950s. Events are now unfolding that will affect our future far more profoundly than any events that took place in an Irish convent sixty years ago.

According to Open Doors USA’s 2014 World Watch List, Muslim persecution of Christians has now spread to forty-one nations. Part of that persecution consists in the abduction and/or kidnapping of Christian children on a wide scale. If you want to do a contemporary story about children being separated from their mothers by religious zealots, the Muslim world would be the place to look. Here are a few recent headlines which the movie makers could mine for material:

American Woman, Abducted as a Child by Her Muslim Father wants to Start Foundation to Help Victims of International Abduction.

Pakistan: Christian Children Kidnapped by Muslim Father.

Islamists Kidnap, Rape Egypt’s Christian Children.

Irish Mum Reunited with Daughter Who Was Abducted by Muslim Father.

What’s that? An Irish Mum? A stolen child? Circa 2011? Which top-rated British actress will get the lead role? When will the movie version be released? Don’t hold your breath. There were no Catholic nuns involved.

William Kilpatrick


William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and First Things. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com

  • Don

    Hollywood and the Left see no problems associated with single parenthood. Their morality derives from impulsive feelings and they attack with real hatred, anyone who suggests a valid moral code must come from a transcendent source. They never tire of sending the world messages that comport with their world view . . . which is why I have tired of going to the movies.

    • tom

      None of them are worth $10 bucks. Most of them are garbage.

  • John O’Neill

    The Irish past has become a whipping post for the modern American democrat/liberal; it is the example of the terrible conditions that the Church forced on the unsuspecting Irish. Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes became a best seller among Americans especially Irish Americans because it dwelt on the horrible living conditions inflicted on the poor suffering Irish by the Catholic Church. Irish Americans love this version of their narrative history. In fact Ireland in 1955 was a very poor country and the parents of a pregnant teenage girl had no means to support her and the baby because in many cases they still had babies at home of their own. The nuns were the only social agencies available in the country and they judged that the child would have had a better chance of survival in an adoption especially an adoption to America the land of milk and honey. Fast forward to 2014 Ireland has many social agencies financed by a government flushed with EU money and Irish girls have been taught that there is no disadvantage to have as many illegitimate children as it is often a means of obtaining a government check and government council house ; the Irish rate of illegitimacy is now equal to that of any American big city. So now the Americans who would have advised the young teenager to abort the child display their moral superiority over a fifty year old social mores by blabbing about how cruel the Church has always been to people in poor countries. There is also the hidden message in most American cultural media that fornication is not only not evil but it is a highly regarded virtue; in America the single mother is now revered on the same level that earlier ages honored the Virgin Mary. A perverted culture like America has no right to cast stones at any other culture especially when one realizes the impact of ninety million abortions performed in the name of the American people by their government over the past forty years. A poor girl who loses her child to adoption is not the moral equivalent of ninety million butchered babies and America has become the culture of the Evil One and the everyday Americans who continue to buy into this demonic culture are no better than those who carry out the orders of the abortion loving government which the Americans have gleefully put into the hall of power. America delenda est.

    • hombre111

      If I can judge from the many Irish priests who came to this diocese in the forties and early fifties, the Irish are a hard people. Which is understandable, because it took hard people to resist four hundred years of English persecution. A couple of those priests became my heroes, including one who solved his own marriage cases, thus short-cutting the painful annulment process, and another whose kindness to people in trouble was a legend. But most of the others: Hard drinking and hard to get along with tyrants who ruled with an iron hand. We called them the Irish Mafia, and woe to any priest who got into a fight with one of them, because the whole bunch was on him like a pack of hounds. Soooo, if they reflect the Irish Church of Angela’s Ashes, it might not be a surprise.

  • Sam Scot

    I read that the key, nasty details in the movie, such as the nuns selling the child, are untrue—that no money changed hands. (I don’t have the reference at hand, but it consisted of point-by-point specifics.) That’s how you know why the movie was made. It’s a war on God and his annoyingly (to people with moral problems) faithful servants.

    • tom

      Our movie making “elites” in Hollywood..all friends of Barack…are trying to nail the coffin lid on the Roman Catholic Church. Barack’s doing what he can, too, to eradicate Christianity here, with SEBELIUS, and abroad…especially in Syria.

      • musicacre

        Yep, they (Hollywood and Obama) have the big money behind them, and the directives from truly powerful people who don’t let their names become public, only thing they (Hollywood) have to come up with is the narrative to sell to an undiscerning and almost illiterate public. The timing has never been better.

    • hombre111

      Actually, Catholic friends who have gone to the movie tell me its a wonderful movie about forgiveness.

  • Gail Finke

    I have read that the real story behind Philomena is not much like the one the movie depicts, either. When “message movies” give old messages, and their “true” stories are not even true, what does that tell you about Hollywood? Of course, Hollywood is no stranger to mining real life for a message, and changing the real life part if they have to to convey the message. Weird.

  • ack8910

    Good read.

  • Pingback: The Thinking Housewife › Another Movie about the Evil, Evil Past()

  • MgW

    An brilliant article!! Thank you, Mr Kilpatric, I will be forwarding this to everyone in my addres book!

  • lifeknight

    I recently housed and fed 5 Irish soccer players for several days. They all went to “Catholic” schools, but only one attended Mass on Sunday. They were about as Westernized as anyone can imagine. At our nightly prayers and rosary they were completely silent. So, no worries about offending the Irish with that movie……they really don’t care.

    • tom

      They’re lost to modernity and the sex abuse cover-ups. meanwhile, the World Bank and IMF are moving Islam on to the land to finish them off.

      God Save Ireland.

      • lifeknight

        I believe you are correct based on the comments about the Muslims in Ireland. All were very familiar with Islamic ways on the Emerald Isle. God Save Ireland!

    • musicacre

      Hey be careful if you’re leaping to stereotype an entire nation. I know a girl who married an American Catholic and he said he detested all Canadians because he associated all of us with a previous, socialist Prime Minister. We are not all what someone has portrayed publicly. We are not all modernists just because we had to suffer through some very bad liturgical abuses. And not all Irish have stopped praying the rosary…we have an unbroken line from the time my grandfather came from Ireland to Canada to the present day. There are terrible things going on in various countries, to which the entire nation is exposed; it doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands suffering in silence on what the tyranny of the majority has put in place. Or the tyranny of the media which nudged and massaged public opinion in a direction that was too subltle for the (unsophisticated) majority to see….which would nicely describe America, actually.

      • lifeknight

        Of course you are correct about stereotyping an entire country. I am sure there are suffering souls on the Emerald Isle.

  • poetcomic1

    I was just reading a local memoir from a boy and his brother who were put in a Catholic orphanage in St. Louis because his alcoholic father and mentally ill mother could not care for them. Life there was very tough and disciplined and of course there were some ugly memories as well as beautiful ones. In the end he shakes his head in disbelief that a small band of sisters managed to control, educate and keep out of trouble hundreds of boys from the worst possible circumstances. He turned out OK except he swore he would never set foot in another church. He seems to have changed only later on. The barbaric practice that destroyed his faith? Forcing small children to go to daily communion. It is a hateful, horrible and UNNATURAL thing to impose on children.

    • tom

      I’ve known a number of men sent to a Catholic orphanage for most of their childhood. They revered the priest and the nuns who raised them until the day they died.

  • Rusty

    I think the author doth protest too much. The story is very relevant for today, as it is about the regrets one has for past decisions. It is also about the power of forgiveness. Even the “moralistic” nuns are human – they acted the way they did as products of their time and society. It is always easy to let judgment shoulder aside mercy and compassion, as amply demonstrated by some of the older nuns.

    If his real issue is that the Catholic Church acted in a paternalistic fashion and made decisions that negatively affected the lives of others, I think he should calm down. The Church has recognized the error of numerous historical wrongs, and as a community of imperfect human beings, so it must.

    • tom

      But it’s not a true story.

      • Rusty

        It is a story. The historical accuracy of the facts isn’t the point.

        • Progressivism nicely summed up in two sentences.

          • Rusty

            With all due respect, I am no progressive, but I do see many shades of grey. Even Christ used allegory and parables.

            • Our Lord didn’t use outright deception. Please stop making excuses.

            • tom

              Not to eradicate Judaism, He didn’t.

            • Gilbert Jacobi


              Why couldn’t the nuns practical concern for the child’s welfare have been their main motive? Perhaps they knew from experience that leaving a young girl, who, after all, had amply demonstrated her lack of judgement and self-control, in charge of a baby, was a recipe for disaster? Why leap to the conclusion that they were sinfully abusing their authority? Furthermore, call their treatment harsh if you like, it is still infinitely preferable to today’s welfare system, which reduces motherhood to an afterthought and fatherhood to a joke.

        • tom

          When the story is altered so you can attack a Church, it’s worth noting. Note, it wasn’t changed to make the story about a nice Muslim or Jewish girl mistreated by the rabbi or the Imam. That would be an impossibility in Hollywood, out of respect and fear, respectively. It’s just open season on Catholicism.

          Sic huten! It’s all happened before.

          • Rusty


            I guess if the movie made you think, it served a purpose. Nobody said you have to agree with it.

            • tom

              Quakers were always the friends of Ireland’s persecuted Catholics.

              Now, we see a Dame Quaker piling on to denigrate the Church in a pile of falsehoods. Dench owes the Church an apology.

              Leni Riefenstahl flicks are fun, too? They served a purpose, Rusty, didn’t they?

              • Rusty

                I guess I saw a different movie than you did. The lead character is a Catholic who has forgiven those who sinned against her. Is that denigrating the Church, or recognizing that there is strength in our faith that exists apart from the actions of individuals or groups within the Church herself?

                I suppose you can see a conspiracy wherever you look, but you can also see those in any of Dan Brown’s novels.

                • tom

                  Again, no one sinned against ms Philomena Lee.

                  • Rusty

                    No, not if you believe that signing a contract that allows the child to be placed as a condition of assistance isn’t a sin. Sounds like a deal with the devil to me.

                    • tom

                      Then, a woman walking around with her illegitimate would have been given more than a difficult time as the need for intact families was considered a virtue worth preserving. If a gal gives up her child, now, there’s a contract, too. No devils involved.

                      One can imagine the trouble these film makers wisely avoided in not finding a Jewish or Islamic pregnant woman in Crown Heights or Baghdad in 2014. Oh, the horror.

                    • Julia B

                      I don’t know where else to put this. The upset over Philomena being accused of “abandoning” her baby is misunderstood. “Abandonment” is a necessary finding in order to free a child for adoption. It doesn’t mean the child was cruelly dropped in a ditch; it means the mother has given up her legal rights.
                      We’ve got movie writers and producers not knowing anything about the era and an audience who also have no clue about the actual situation at the time.

    • Julia B

      Everybody is forgetting that the nuns had no ability to go and kidnap the girl. Her parents turned her over to them as the only solution to their delimma. I’m 69 and remember well how difficult it was for a woman to make her way in the world alone. Think how much harder it was in 1952 Ireland where no man would have married a woman with an illegitimate baby. Why do people think men in the US at that time would have thought differently?
      And why do younger people today not know that the US had a lot of pregnant mother homes back in the same time period. I had several friends who went away for a few months to “visit relatives” in the early and mid 60s. That kind of ended when single women were allowed to get birth control prescriptions.
      Last I knew a state like Illinois allows birth mothers to register as being open to a child later making contact. Not all mothers are ready to use the registry at the time of crisis, but later do so. This anonymity is not a horrible invention that only occurred in long ago Ireland. I’m a retired attorney who did adoptions. I think many of these mothers would have had abortions rather than allow an adoption if they thought it wouldn’t be confidential.

  • tom

    Anti-Irish, anti- Catholic bigots have a lot to celebrate.

    England tortured the Irish for centuries due to their Faith. Spain and France warred with the Brits, in part due to the ill treatment afforded their fellow Catholics in Ireland. Now, Eire has joined the world of secularism and relativity, due in large part to the horrific priest abuse scandals and cover ups. The rip-offs from the Anglo Irish Bank and the Bank of England demoralized the nation, too.

    Now, they can say Philomena is a “true” story even as they distort it all. No one other than the nuns cared about the mother and child. The nuns didn’t sell the baby, Philomena didn’t travel to America to seek reunion with her child. None of that happened and none of that matters.

    Dame Dench shouldn’t need to appear in such anti-Catholic tripe. She’s doing something Queen Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell and the Orange Lodge couldn’t accomplish. She’s gloating over the death of the Catholic Faith in Ireland. A Quaker, like herself, should have better taste. Shame on her.

    • flourgiggy

      Thank you for pointing out that the Sisters were the only ones who would step in to help these girls when their families turned them out. The nuns may not have coddled them, but it beat living on the street – the only other alternative these girls had.

      • tom

        Now, just abort, declare it your “right”,….55,000,000 times… and go to lunch with your girlfriends before you find a new date online.

        Then, repeat. Barack and Rodham love it.

  • HA

    Pretty much the only suicide-vest-wearing Islamic terrorist in Hollywood these days has a complexion like this and goes by the name of “Brody”. Ah, those dastardly Irish mujahadin, begorra.

    Then again, I’m pretty sure he was never a nun, but I suppose there’s always the chance of a prequel.

  • Tony

    Hollywood used, more than once in a while, to depict moral conflicts with human sympathy even for those whose positions were in the wrong. Hollywood used, more than once in a while, to remember that human beings were more interesting than pasteboard caricatures. It’s been a while since The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance …

  • publiusnj

    I have been reading up on Philomena and the distinct issue of the “Magdalene Laundries” and my reaction is that the Laundries were a lot less of an incarceration scandal than the average American prison, where rape and racial warfare are daily facts of life. indeed, it is a commonplace in law and order movies for the detective or the prosecutor to force a suspect to spill his guts by threatening him with nocturnal visits from a roommate named Bubba. IOW, the state uses the threat of rape as an investigative tool to enforce cooperation. Yet, nobody is calling for the dismantling of that system.

    Likewise, the Irish “mother and baby homes” such as Sean Ross (the home in which Judi Dench’s character was left by her disowning parents), which reinforced the taboo against unwed pregnancy in a rather too cruel way, nevertheless kept the rate of unwed births down far below the levels we are now seeing here or there. Thus, a case can be made that those homes did less harm to the institution of the family than our current welfare/justice system which “welcomes” in unwed mothers and showers them with support (and voting registration papers, btw) and once they work again with an associated tax apparatus of earned income credits, child and child care credits, head of household filing status, and marriage penalty plus other state bureaucracies necessitated by the breakdown of the family such as DYFS. Yet at the end of the day, all of those systems conspire to give the “advanced” American nation an illegitimacy rate of close to 40% now across all races. How many stories of mothers taken away from children could be written of the American system in which so many families get broken up permanently by the massive criminal punishment system necessary to police our increasingly anarchical society?

    • tom

      Our throw-away culture has piled 55,000,000 babies on to a pyre from hell, too.

      Mommy Dearest wields a surgical drill to the baby’s head.

      • publiusnj

        No, let’s not be overly dramatic. Mommy usually just hires a henchman to do the slicing and dicing.

        • tom

          And to think, Obama wants to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to finance it all. The man, and his LaDy SeBelius have an agenda that would make Goebbels cry for its depravity towards innocents and to conscience.

      • publiusnj

        What Tom wrote goes to the heart of the difference between the treatment of unwed pregnancy in the 1950s and now. Back then, the woman–Philomena, say, who was the only one who could have prevented access to her womb (rape excepted)–was held responsible for the consequences of sex outside marriage. Today, the child is too often the one who bears the brunt of the “punishment” for out-of-wedlock pregnancy even though he or she never consented to the act.

        • OLO101

          Only the woman is responsible…because she impregnated herself?

          • tom

            She orders the death sentence, doesn’t she? No one else.

            • OLO101

              I am not talking about abortion. I was referring to the comment that said in the 1950s an unmarried pregnant woman was held responsible for her actions. My comment was questioning why only the woman was held responsible when obviously, a male was also involved.

              • tom

                The woman wasn’t. there was generally a loaded shotgun and the male decided to do the right thing at the insistence of his future father-in-law. It worked for thousands of years!

              • Gilbert Jacobi

                The commenter publiusnj was not saying only the woman was held responsible, he was recognizing the existence of, and praising the effectiveness of, the old double standard. Women rightly were held to a higher standard of morality than men because we followed natural law and did not act like they are men’s equals. We did not tolerate licentiousness in women because we had not yet accepted the lie that they have libidos equal to a man’s.

                • Julia B

                  It’s not the “libido” responsible for that double standard. It’s the obvious recognition that it’s the woman who can get obviously pregnant and then deliver a child. It wasn’t until DNA tests that the father could be positively ID’d.
                  There’s a reason why young girls have a natural modesty – it’s an ingrained protective device. That’s why I am so angry at people like Miley Cyrus, the advertising business and others who are stripping that away from young girls.
                  It’s being replaced with “slut walks” wherein young girls are encouraged to think they should rut away ignoring their biology and natural tendencies.

                  • Gilbert Jacobi

                    Of course the possibility of pregnancy was part of the reason for the double standard. I focus on feminism’s denial of the disparity in sexual appetites between males and females because that is the club I have most often been hit with as a male. Are you saying there is no disparity?

                    • Julia B

                      I’ve never been bashed with that. I’m saying that women have a protective instinct that men don’t have – this balances out the effects of libido. OR it did before the birth control pill and the easy availability of abortion.

                    • Gilbert Jacobi

                      Agreed on the protective instinct. I still maintain though that most women do not burn at the same intensity for sex as do men, to use the first metaphor that comes to mind. Feminists pushed the idea of equality of libido so as to counter the argument that it is easier for women to resist sexual temptation, thus knocking out another of the legs the double standard used to stand on. Presumably some women now believe this, and I’ll bet there’s at least one study somewhere “proving” this to be true, but it’s hogwash, in my experience.

                • silvermoonkisc

                  Yeah, whatever. PubliusNJ is a disturbed little creep any way you slice it.

                  • publiusnj

                    More ad hominems; more nonsense.

                    • silvermoonkisc

                      Hey, I call it like I see it, and it’s not nonsense. You don’t like it, too freakin’ bad for you. You’re disgusting. No one cares what you think.

          • publiusnj

            Where did I ever say that? Some man impregnated her, but it was some man whom she let enter into her sexual parts…unless she was raped. If a woman only allows her husband entry into her sexual parts, the law in most countries has always had ways of holding him responsible. Indeed, in many countries, so long as she was married, the husband would be held responsible for any pregnancies even if she allowed some other man/men entry into her sexual parts (there being an irrebutable presumption of legitimacy to any children born of a woman in the course of a marriage, under the common law).

            Cultural exxpectations (or as they are sometimes deprecatingly termed: “taboos”) also strengthened the legal sanctions and tended to keep both males and females in monogamous relationships to a far higher degree than presently. Under the old regime, both men and women were held responsible for the issue of sex to a far higher degree than presently. Today, the man often considers the problem of issue to be one for the woman alone, after all she is the one with the right to terminate the pregnancy or not. Is that right? No more or less right than her right to kill the baby.

            • silvermoonkisc

              You’re mentally ill. Deeply disturbed.

              Jesus, but you are why there are days I have to get as far, far away from all things Catholic as I possibly can.

              You’re a sick, sick man. Get help.

              • publiusnj

                If you had a point, you didn’t make it because you got side-tracked into an ad hominem. That does not advance the discussion.

                • silvermoonkisc

                  Dude — no one wants to advance any discussion with you. What part of that do you not get?

        • silvermoonkisc

          Well, publiusnj, as long as men like you keep diverting any responsibility on the part of the men involved, do you really care who pays the price? As long as it’s not you, it’s all good, right?

          • publiusnj

            I am not diverting responsibility from anyone. I am not a state and I am not a woman; they are the only ones–now that taboos are practically gone–that have any say over a man’s responsibilities in a pregnancy situation. The only person who can really ensure that the man is responsible for the results of sexual intercourse is the woman (except of course in the case of rape). The woman can make sure the man is responsible for the baby and herself (even if he dies, to some degree, due to the laws of intestacy), by insisting on a wedding ring/ceremony before engaging in intercourse with the man. Without a wedding, all a state can do–even if paternity is established–is order child support and that is of limited value at best. In fact, if the woman goes to bed with the wrong man, he may be unable to pay whatever child support the baby.

    • silvermoonkisc

      Well, the Taliban kept the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancy down too.

      The system under which Philomena was coerced into relinquishing her child was evil and corrupt. Full stop.

      You cannot commit evil in order for something good to happen. That’s Catholic teaching 101.

      Plus, road to hell, good intentions, and all that…

  • Like many other movies of its kind, Philomena aims to teach us a
    lesson, but, as with so many other recent movies, the lesson it teaches
    is one we all learned decades ago. In short, the message has passed its
    sell-by date. The problems depicted in such movies are yesterday’s
    problems. Rarely does the film industry address the problems of today.

    That’s because the sexual revolution is utterly triumphant and now the only thing left is continually trying to convince everyone it was right to win and to pay no attention to the broken families, race-to-the-bottom perversity, and millions of humans ripped apart in the womb.

    Having defeated or at least silenced or marginalized anyone left who doesn’t believe it should of won, agents of the sexual empire have to scrounge for enemies by looking to the past, or simply making them up out of whole cloth.

    • tom

      The Democratic Party’s only important plank is defining deviancy downward.

      It dooms this dying party, and its members, for eternity.

  • poetcomic1

    Ever see the movie Gangs of New York? In ONE GENERATION Bishop ‘Dagger’ John Hughes turned the totally depraved and wretched Irish of New York into cops, teachers, nuns, priests and mass-goers. Read his life and try to figure out how it happened. Jaw-dropping transformation he could have never done alone.

    • tom

      Scorcese’s confusing Italian immigrants, who brought the Black Hand, with the Irish immigrants of the previous century. In the Five Points most held paying jobs. as shoemakers, tailors, masons, grocers, cigar makers, liquor dealers, and laborers. Sure, there were prostitutes and drunkeness, but not a lot of crime.

      These new arrivals were simply the remnants of the Famine, with most of them having seen their relatives and friends starve to death, with grass stains on their mouths.

      They were smart, knew the English language and worked hard. That would make a dull movie if Scorcese made it, not if Frank Capra did so. Catholic cardinals of NYC have always had an uphill struggle with America, and Dagger John was no exception. Frankly, he’d go mad if he knew so many Catholics remain registered in the pro-abortion Democratic Party. They’d be running for their mortal lives if he were around, chasing them down to save their eternal souls.

      • poetcomic1

        ‘There was not a lot of crime in the Five Points neighborhood’. Uh, OK.

        • tom

          True. It compared to other sections of Olde New York per municipal court records. People were NOT walking around with axes and clubs to beat the heck out of each other. They came back from work, tired. There was no welfare, no Food Stamps, no medical care, and no Section 8 grants. If they didn’t work for a living, they and their loved ones starved.

          A funny story: There were Chinese in the area as there are, today. Some intermarried with Irish gals. People enjoyed listening to Chinese-looking kids with a rich brogue. That’s America.

          • tom

            As late as the early 1870’s, many Irish Catholics were killed by the police for strenuously objecting to the Orange Lodge marches through their neighborhoods. There’s was the greatest loss of civilian life between the Draft Riots of ’63 and the Attica prison riot of 1971 in NYS.

            • Hank

              Ah yes, the Draft Riots. That almost brings us back to the topic. They burned an orphanage for black children, and killed eleven blacks. Beat some abolitionists and burnt their churches. Which were Protestant, of course. Bishop John Hughes was gone by then, or he’d probably have joined them.

          • poetcomic1

            Five Points was known as an IRISH BLACK slum and boy THEY fought a lot. If the municipal records didn’t show the crime, I suspect its because they let them kill each other with impunity.

    • uncle max

      I saw the fight scene which opened that movie. I honestly thought that it was going to be a song scene. IMO you picked a poor movie to make your point – that was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Daniel Day-Lewis was so over the top as the bad guy that he was laughable, Leonardo was beyond absurd – he does NOT do Irish well at all.

  • tom

    I see ms Philomena Lee is lobbying for “adoption rights” so that some women will prefer abortion to adoption. Some women will NOT want to be tracked down by their child in 20 years, so they may abort. Leftists say that’s not true, but they’ll say anything to keep the abortion rackets going. Death is their medium.

    • silvermoonkisc

      Adoption is an evil industry, just like the abortion industry.

  • sparrowhawk58

    Well, I saw “Philomena.” I agree with many of the points the writer of this article makes. Here are a few more things to consider:

    1)(plot spoiler): Philomena’s son, it turns out, is a wildly successful political lawyer who happens to be gay. She meets his sister and his partner and they paint a picture of a saintly man who is nonetheless discriminated against for his sexual orientation. He bore this cross bravely before succumbing to AIDS. I thought this was a little too neatly tied together.

    As it turns out, he was indeed gay, and he led a life of extreme promiscuity, frequenting bathhouses and leather bars and finally exposing himself to HIV. This is all in the book on which the movie is based. Why hide all that information about the son? We have the nuns’ “dirty laundry”, so to speak, on full display. But oh no–if the son is gay he MUST be a long-suffering holy individual.

    2) It’s implied that babies were “sold to rich Catholic families” as if this is the same as child-trafficking. Actually it is not uncommon for adoption agencies to choose adoptive parents because of their values–for a Catholic order this would mean they would have to be Catholic–and for their financial solvency. A big donation to a charity was also probably never turned down.

    I have heard from credible sources that these homes were spartan and that the discipline was often harsh. But so were the secular orphanages. I also know people who were raised in Catholic orphanages who say they were treated fairly and received decent food and a good education. The producets of this movie are painting with a very broad brush.

    • silvermoonkisc

      The story is about her search for her son, not her son’s private life. That’s why the movie doesn’t make it a major plot point.

      The circumstances under which he was taken and sent to America are now well-documented as a result of the investigations into the Magdalen Laundries, the adoption industry in Austrailia and the ongoing trials in Spain. The Church has even admitted wrongdoing in many cases and has issued the standard apology (as if that takes it all back…).

      Abusing people in your care is not excused by the fact that other people abused people in their care.

      Trying to hide or gloss over the truth only makes people distrust the Church more. It’s a stupid thing to do, and God is not going to award you bonus points for covering up for bad people in the Church.

  • hombre111

    You had me until your huge effort to turn attention to the Muslim world. Plenty of topics here. I think Hollywood really needs to start to analyze the impact of the sexual revolution, but that might have to wait as long as Philomena. Maybe this is a task for Christian moviemakers backed by Christian money. But it could not be done in a preachy sort of way, or it would be dismissed as a screed. It would probably be dismissed anyway. But I think it is time for Catholics to support Catholic authors and other kinds of art reflecting a Catholic vision.

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  • Tracy

    Looks like the movie’s filled with lies. From the Catholic League:

    Bill Donohue comments on a movie that has been nominated for four Oscars:

    Owing to many false impressions about Catholicism that have been
    generated by the movie, “Philomena,” I decided to write an extensive
    review of the film, and the book upon which it is based.

    The film and the book maintain that cruel Irish nuns stole Philomena’s
    baby in 1952 and sold him to “the highest bidder.” In reality,
    Philomena’s widowed father found the nuns—the only persons willing to
    accept the teenager’s out-of-wedlock baby—and they subsequently found a
    home for him in the United States; no fee was charged.

    The film and the book also maintain that Philomena went to the United
    States to find her son, but this is patently untrue: she never set foot
    in America looking for him.

    Copies of my analysis of the controversy surrounding “Philomena” are
    being sent to the bishops, many in the media (in the United States,
    England and Ireland), those in the entertainment business, various Irish
    organizations, and friends of the Catholic League.

    The Catholic League’s report can be downloaded here: http://catholicleague.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e7e656b0a27630ee25cd133ac&id=775aeb9e62&e=d0f40e744e

    • silvermoonkisc

      Oh yes. The Catholic League. Bill Donohue. There’s a reliable source…not.

      If he’s getting all blotchy-faced and spittle-flecked over this, it must be true.

    • Maria

      oops…I didn’t read all the comments before I posted same link above.

  • David Brunk

    “There is not really any courage at all in attacking hoary or antiquated things, any more than in offering to fight one’s grandmother. The really courageous man is he who defies tyrannies young as the morning and superstitions fresh as the first flowers.” – G.K. Chesterton

    • silvermoonkisc

      I’m not so sure the issues raised in Philomena aren’t current tyrannies. The adoption industry is still a corrupt, twisted mess on many fronts, most especially what’s little more than out-and-out baby-buying in third world countries, and the deceptive tactics of “crisis pregnancy centers” and the manipulations of “open adoption”.

      • Maria

        Are you suggeting that the Catholic Church is to blame for this as well? Let’s not let the sentimental touches of Philomena get us carried away…

  • billy

    Making movies is a business, and the goal of a business is to make money. Nothing else. The makers of “Philomena” felt that the way to make money was to make the movie the way they did. They were successful in their goal. Movie makers aren’t in the education business, nor in the business of “addressing the issues of the day”, unless that’s what makes money. If you feel that you’ve got a good idea for a movie, you should definitely pursue it and see how it does.

  • Brain Kelly

    So, true. Great article. I know of no movie, Hollywood that is, on the theme of any Communist atrocity. McCarthy was absolutely right about the Reds in Hollywood, many of whom were card-carrying. Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Communist-affiliated Hollywood Ten, friend of Kirk Douglas, in 1956 wrote to his son:

    “The important thing about a lie is not that it be interesting, fanciful, graceful, or even pleasant, but that it be believed … Let the lie be delivered full-face, eye to eye, and without scratching of the scalp. Let it be blunt and forthright and so simple that you can repeat it in detail and under oath ten years hence.”

    Anti-Communist actors such as Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, Ward Bond, and John Wayne all attested to the Communist dominance of Hollywood, especially producers, writers, and directors.

    • uncle max

      Para 1 – Try the 1st (1961) Manchurian Candidate. The more recent one is a bad joke.

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  • Robbie J

    In this day and age – one terrifying aspect of all this, IMHO, is that many of our youth get their ‘education’ from the mainstream media of which Hollywood movies is an integral part. “If everyone’s doing it, it must be right” seems to be a reasonable assumption. In the absence of intact families (especially strong, loving parental guidance) the moral code of the youth is malleable and can change (or be manipulated) according to the current ‘norms’ of society. It takes real faith to not be swayed by public opinion and walk “the way” in the midst of all this nonsense.

  • uncle max

    It is a wonderful movie. It is a story of forgiveness.

    A question raised in the film needs to be addressed.


    The accusation is made that Pres. Reagan and Bush41 both blocked funding for AIDS related research. Is this true? If the accusation was made completely out of context I would not be surprised in the least.

    Judy Dench is spot-on perfect in the title role.

    There is a quietness about it that is quite wonderful.

  • Patrick Coffin

    Word is, this bit of celluloid brilliance is being screened soon for Pope Francis….

  • silvermoonkisc

    Well, in all fairness, movies are made based on anticipated audience numbers and profitability more than good storytelling. But good storytelling means being able to resonate with an audience, and Westerners probably find more to relate to in the Philomena story or 12 Years a Slave than they would about similar situations happening in the east to those peoples. And of course they’re promoting Philomena during awards season. It’s what they do.

    Also, this movie is not anti-Catholic. Depicting true stories that expose the wrong deeds of Catholic institutions is not anti-Catholic. I think that’s an unfair characterization of the movie, especially given that the subject of the film exhibits a genuinely Christian/Catholic spirit of forgiveness in spite of how she’s been wronged.

    It doesn’t help, either, when Catholics make excuses for what Catholic institutions in Ireland (a country where the inextricable intertwining of government and Church led to some of the uglier chapters in Catholic Church history, and should be a lesson to all those who secretly wish for a Catholic theocracy) did to young women in difficult circumstances. What happend in Ireland (and other countries — Australia, Spain, and even here in the USA, for example) was wrong. Full stop.

    If the Church can’t admit its wrongdoing, it’s not much of a Church and it’s fair to question any truth (or Truth) held therein, which is exactly what people are doing. We saw this during the peak of the sex abuse scandal exposition, and we’re probably going to see it now that Philomena has brought the Church’s appalling history re the adoption industry to fore.

    • publiusnj

      The Catholic Church is not much of a church? As though these little protestant churches that have been popping up in the last few hundred years are real churches? No, you obviously don’t know much about the Catholic Church which is as large as all the protestant churches in the world combined and then some. Although you say that the Catholic Church’s intertwining with the Irish government is responsible for some of the uglier cha[pters in Catholic Church History, NOTHING the Catholic Church did in Ireland remotely resembles the ugliness that that anti-Catholic Oliver Cromwell tried to wreak on Ireland’s Catholics at Drogheda in 1651 in the name of his little church and “protectorate.” What the Catholic Church actually did in Ireland from 1534 through the End of the Anglican Occupation of Ireland in 1922 was keep hope alive while the rabid Protestant haters exercised their bigoted control over Ireland

    • Gilbert Jacobi

      I’ll allow that the commenter you referred to is “disturbed”. I know I am. About the “little creep” part, we may have to agree to disagree.

    • Maria

      Please take a moment to read how “true” the movie Philomena is a depiction of “ugly chapter of Catholic Church history” – http://www.catholicleague.org/philomena-smears-catholicism/
      God bless