ITV Sunday Night Theatre: Season 6, Episode 9

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

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 253 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 »



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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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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


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

Decline and Fall of the Mother Church
9 February 2006 | by (The Man-Cave) – See all my reviews

My visceral reaction to the plight of a group of traditionalist monks on a lonely Irish island is rather ironic because I am a card-carrying agnostic, the quintessential "fallen Catholic." I found myself rooting for the monks who want to keep the church focused on the fight against spiritual evil (and the obvious saving of souls) and against the perfect example of modernity, Martin Sheen, as the epitome of "Liberation Theology," the liberal emissary from Rome who arrives to stomp down the monks' celebration of the Mass in Latin.

Catholics (or The Conflict as it appears in the cheapo DVD version from Digiview) lacks much of what makes movies entertaining for most folks--there are no drive-by shootings, exploding spaceships, bouncing breasts, or language to, as Stephen King says so well, "make a twenty-year Navy man blush," but it does have superb performances by Sheen, Trevor Howard, Cyril Cusack, and a number of fine British and Irish actors. It is an intellectual's movie with a smidgen of scifi--it was made in 1973, but it's set in the near future, maybe ten years later, when the Church has been so modernized that bread and wine are just that, not the body and blood of Christ and confession is not between a parishioner and his or her priest.

By rejecting the miracle of the Mass, by denying the personal interactions between the priest and the public, and by refocusing the Church on liberation theology and not the battle between good and evil in a spiritual sense, Catholics shows a congregation lost in the modern world. Sheen is on the island to crush a conservative rebellion and I found myself feeling as sick and as angry at him as many of the monks.

Finally, I have to congratulate the cinematographer and the art director for creating and using locales that are so bleak and cold that the viewer must concentrate on the human drama. The flesh and the blood of the actors are the miracle here (including the tears flowing from the faithful monks and from Howard's abbot who has lost his faith and must live an excruciating lie for his men), even if Rome wants it stopped right now.

Catholics is brilliant, but it certainly isn't popular entertainment. For a buck, I found a gem in the Wal-Mart DVD dumpster.

Sounds like a miracle to me!

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