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Not Rated | | Drama | Episode aired 29 November 1973
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 »


Jack Gold


Brian Moore (screenplay), Brian Moore (novel)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Howard ... The Abbot
Raf Vallone ... Father General
Martin Sheen ... Father Kinsella
Cyril Cusack ... Father Manus
Andrew Keir ... Father Matthew
Godfrey Quigley ... Father Walter
Michael Gambon ... Brother Kevin
Leon Vitali ... Brother Donald
Seamus Healy Seamus Healy ... Brother Pius
John Kelly ... Brother Paul
John Franklyn John Franklyn ... Brother Martin
Patrick Long Patrick Long ... Brother Sean
Cecil Sheridan Cecil Sheridan ... Brother Malachy
Tom Jordan Tom Jordan ... Father Terrence
Liam Burk 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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

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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) See more »

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Technical Specs



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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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

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User Reviews

Not just for Catholics; Trevor Howard is magnificent
9 October 1999 | by Guido-35See all my reviews

This play is about a group of Catholic monks and an abbot and does involve a theological - actually liturgical - dispute set some time in a future that it now turns out never actually occurred (one in which the Catholic Church apparently did not all but disappear because of its hierarchy's demented obsessions with sex). But that is merely the setting; the point of the story is much more universal and has to do with how people tend to huddle together to find meaning in life; how the relationships formed between different sorts of individuals may in the end be all the meaning there is to life. In the final analysis the monks, a fairly limited lot, are lost without their abbot, who provides the meaning they need in their lives, and he in turn, far more aware than any of the others, and therefore most anguished by their common predicament, is lost without his flock of monks' need of his leadership, which is the only meaning he can grasp in life.

Trevor Howard gives an absolutely magnificent performance. His abbot is intelligent, articulate, cunning and in the end so courageously and purely alone that the final image of him on the screen has stayed with me for years.

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