16 user 1 critic


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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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

An Intelligent Religious Movie
5 August 2000 | by phalsallSee all my reviews

It's a relief to find a movie that can deal with Catholic religion that is intelligent yet not sentimental. For some reason other religious groups have been dealt with much better in recent years (think about _Kundun_ or _The Apostle_).

By far the most important event in late 20th century Catholicism was a the Second Vatican Council held in the early 1960s. There, amazingly, a group of bishops brought up in traditional Catholicism set out to revitalize the Church and make it relevant to the modern world. For many liberals (both within the Church and without), they failed, and we are still left with a sex-obsessed church leadership that is focused on bureaucratic control. Few could deny, however, major improvements: the way Catholics deal with Jews, Protestants, and members of the other religions has been transformed; a decisive (and apparently permanent) opposition to the capitalist reduction of human beings to economic figures; and so on.

For most Catholics, however, the greatest changes brought about by the council (and shortly afterwards) were in practice rather than faith: Friday abstinence was abolished; a number of saints were demoted (St. Christopher, St. George, St. Nicholas) or declared non-existent (St. Catherine of Alexandria); and most dramatically the old Latin Mass was replaced by a rather pedestrian English-language "liturgy." For very many people, it turns out, old fashioned "devotional Catholicism" was the root of their existence and the loss was devastating.

Very few movies have addressed the impact of Vatican II (in fact, I find it hard to think of any), and even fewer the pain of the loss of Catholic devotionalism. It turns out that devotionalism was not especially connected with hierarchical power, and that the Vatican centralists have been very happy with the pop-py new liturgy. _Catholics_ addresses a future Church (actually in 1999) where has been devotionalism is destroyed (Lourdes has been closed down; the Vatican has repudiated transubstantiation), but the Church hierarchy is still as power hungry and controlling as ever.

This film is based on the novel _Catholics_ by Brian Moore, perhaps the greatest Catholic novelist in the tradition of Graham Greene. What is this tradition? A tradition which breathes Catholicism, but which stands in critical opposition to the power-seeking elements within Catholic structures.

There are, of course, other elements in the film, addressed by other reviewers, and if you are not concerned with the history of modern Catholicism the film may not appeal. But that is hardly the point.

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