ITV Sunday Night Theatre: Season 6, Episode 9

Catholics (29 Nov. 1973)
"ITV Saturday Night Theatre" Catholics (original title)

TV Episode  |  Not Rated  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 260 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 1 critic

In the near future, the Catholic church has joined with other western religions in an ecumenical movement that has washed out much of the original message of the religion. A group of Irish ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Catholics (29 Nov 1973)

Catholics (29 Nov 1973) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
The Abbot
Father General
Father Kinsella
Father Manus
Andrew Keir ...
Father Matthew
Godfrey Quigley ...
Father Walter
Brother Kevin
Brother Donald
Seamus Healy ...
Brother Pius
John Kelly ...
Brother Paul
John Franklyn ...
Brother Martin
Patrick Long ...
Brother Sean
Cecil Sheridan ...
Brother Malachy
Tom Jordan ...
Father Terrence
Liam Burk ...
Brother Daniel


In the near future, the Catholic church has joined with other western religions in an ecumenical movement that has washed out much of the original message of the religion. A group of Irish monks have begun saying the mass again in Latin and have begun to have an international following. Martin Sheen is sent from Rome to bring them to task and they must confront what is truly essential in their worship and what is not. Written by John Vogel <>

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Riveting for believers, half-believers and unbelievers alike [Video Australia]




Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

29 November 1973 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Featured in The Lonely Passion of Brian Moore (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

So what's wrong with a Latin Mass?
9 April 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Not being a Catholic, I think I'm a bit lost in criticizing the movie. I can't understand for the life of me what the big problem was.

Not that the liberalizing tendencies of John XXIII were bad, they didn't go far enough, but they were a step in the right direction. But if older priests set in their ways wanted to say a Latin mass, why couldn't they?

Martin Sheen is an emissary from the Vatican who's come to this really remote island off the coast of Ireland which some television station broadcast a Latin Mass said by the Father Abbott Trevor Howard. In the Russian Orthodox Church there's this crowd called Old Believers who practice their religious rites from before the Patriarch Nikon introduced his reforms. I'm guessing what Howard is fostering there is a nest of Catholic old believers.

Anyway Sheen's come from the Vatican with a cease and desist order and it's met with hostility by Howard and the monks in his charge.

Call me ignorant here, I plead guilty to it, but why can't the Vatican just make the English or Latin Mass optional? Certainly these guys might take positions on other issues I'd have serious problems with and so would other people. It seems that what language you do your religious observance in should be a matter of choice. If they want to say it Latin, let them.

Of course other issues are touched on, but that ain't why Sheen's there. He and Howard give good performances of two generations of Catholic clergy in conflict.

But should non-Catholic viewers of the film really care?

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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