Sunday, September 2, 2012
Reading some of the data below made me recollect that I never saw my father go to the movies. Our mother took us to the movies on occasion but for the most part it was just us siblings that made the trek to the local art deco palace, the Midway Theater in Philly, on most Saturday afternoons.
|Midway Theater Philly under construction 1932|
In fact my father never had a kind word for Hollywood when the topic would arise and his non-praise of the industry often contained descriptives that were in fact anti-Semitic.
Having done some research, apparently there was a cultural divide whereby I think the impact of talking motion pictures in the late 1920s and early 1930s and the standard violence of gang mob movies of the era got combined in the minds of the consumer with movies about divorce and infidelity.
The Christian Right was a little behind on this curve back then and it was the Catholic Church at the point in trying to gain control over the “artistic” abilities of a new industry. These days, many complaints about videos games, violence, sex and the product does not fit into any old standard niche. Which leaves some to protest and want to control Content.
The movie industry that was new was trying to sell a product and did not want control from the church crowd or even the FDR big government crowd. Somewhere in all the cultural war over movies came the Catholic Legion of Decency out of Chicago. But it did not have any legs or arms until outsiders came into play and manipulated the scene to gain power over the present then situation.
Having grown up in Philly, I had heard about the mighty Cardinal Dougherty who apparently did not issue a mere appeal for a Movie Code but a full Catholic Fatwa in 1934 against the whole movie industry, forbidding all Catholics to totally boycott all cinema. A fatwa that he never bothered to rescind.
Ironic that about this time in 1935, Dougherty bought his humble forty plus room palace on the Philadelphia Main Line with its nine acres of privacy that had a private movie theater for hisself and his cronies to watch Hollywood movies. Hypocrite!
|Cardinal Dougherty Palace - Philadelphia|
My father, the son of a church sexton, do doubt had the fear of God of being seen anywhere near a movie theater. His father’s reputation and possible livelihood rode on the shoulders of a young teenager, a feeling I think that never left him. This looking over your shoulder is a feeling I think a lot of people in the present world, the recent and past world, speaks against the concept of freedom and for a government controlling the lives of its people in a fascist state.
Hollywood picked up on the sexual laxity in the country and began making movies that depicted scenes that offended the Church. American Catholics were used to being told when to stand, sit and kneel, so when Cardinal Dennis Dougherty of Pennsylvania declared that Hollywood’s movies were entirely based on sex and violence and forbid all Catholics to attend movies on pain of serious sin. Catholics listened and movie attendance dropped dramatically. Catholics did what they were told.
When the movie moguls threatened to close all movie theatres in Philadelphia and put 15,000 people out of work in the time of the depression, the Cardinal said–Good, close them! They didn’t! The ban remains in effect to this day. The League of Decency came into being as Catholics drifted back to the theatres to face the threat of placing one in a state of an occasion of sin.
That the guiding force that gave the American Catholic Bishops the push to do the most and take on Hollywood was none other than the recently appointed Papal Nuncio Amleto Giovanni Cicognani. Cicognani was appointed Nuncio to coincide with the new FDR administration by Pius XI, the pope who signed a treaty with Mussolini to settle territory disputes from 1870 and to create the bizarre political state of the Vatican. Pius XI also gave away Catholic political rights in Germany to the new Hitler Administration in exchange for private church perks and privileges.
|Papal Nuncio Amleto Giovanni Cicognani (center)|
The German Concordat and the Lateran Treaty gave legitimacy to Italian and German Fascism by the Catholic Church for the sake of the private political agenda of the global Catholic Church. Many say these two treaties are the basis, remote enabling factor, of the 50 million deaths in World War Two including the estimated six to twelve million victims of the German Concentration Camp Archipelago.
During World War II, Cicognani expressed reservations about Zionism. In a letter dated June 22, 1943 to American representative (to the Vatican) Myron C. Taylor, he said: "It is true that at one time Palestine was inhabited by the Hebrew Race, but there is no axiom in history to substantiate the necessity of a people returning to a country they left nineteen centuries before …… If a 'Hebrew Home' is desired, it would not be too difficult to find a more fitting territory than Palestine. With an increase in the Jewish population there, grave, new international problems would arise.”
The fact that a Papal Nuncio was the spark to an internal secular matter regarding the movie industry controlled largely by banks and Jewish CEOs and managers makes me think that in the early thirties the RCC could do favors for Italian government and German government power agendas courtesy of an accommodating pope.
After more than three years of unholy and unwholesome screen fare, Catholics formed an organization to beat back the plague. Its official name was the National Legion of Decency—morally upright Protestants and Jews might enlist as well—but the group was known as the Legion of Decency or, more ominously, simply “the Legion.”
A notion that had percolated in Catholic circles for years, the Legion took formal shape in October to November 1933, after Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani (American Papal Nuncio), speaking at the National Conference of Catholic Charities in New York on the authority of Pope Pius XI, denounced “the incalculable influence for evil” exerted by the motion picture screen.
“Catholics are called by God, the Pope, the bishops, and the priests to a united front and vigorous campaign for the purification of the cinema, which has become a deadly menace to morals,” said the bishop. Within a matter of weeks, the Legion of Decency congealed into the most feared of all the private protest groups bedeviling Hollywood.
Backed by a coordinated network of Catholic weeklies whose front-page headlines, editorial broadsides, and scare-mongering cartoons fueled parishioner outrage, the Legion lanced Hollywood’s hide with pitiless zeal. It had numbers, focus, energy—and a blunt instrument. “Worn out by promises, tricked by pledges, deceived by codes, and dismayed by filth, the Church has finally decided to take action in the one way left for it—boycott,” warned Chicago’s Catholic weekly, the
The Legion was as good as its word, and it put its word into writing with a brilliant tactical device, the Legion pledge. A prayer-like pact, the Legion pledge was a contractual avowal signed by parishioners and recited in unison at Sunday masses, Knights of Columbus meetings, Ladies Sodalities gatherings, and parochial school assemblies.
“I condemn absolutely those debauching motion pictures which, with other degrading agencies, are corrupting public morals and promoting a sex mania in our land,” affirmed the pledger. “Considering these evils, I hereby promise to remain away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.”
The picture at the top of the page is the Papal Embassy in Washington DC, home of the current Papal Nuncio / Embassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò who you might remember is persona non grata these days in the Vatican and the basis of a great deal of dissent within the Vatican Curia regarding the dictatorial and extremely corrupt Bertone/Ratzinger administration, framed in the media under the title "Vatileaks".
Which means the control from Rome no longer filters through a papal embassy but rather directly to the papal foot soldiers of the USCCB ready to take away our secular civil liberties through fascist propaganda “religious liberty” PR campaigns and such.
While I do not think that the RCC will ever have the dictatorial powers of a Cardinal Dougherty to attack the “Jews in Hollywood” like the 1930s, the RCC Rome can send millions of dollars into PACs and try and manipulate the American Election in 2012 via bishop/cardinal puppets, Dolan etc. following allegiance not to the United States but the King of Rome, Benedict XVI.
Cicognani BTW was American Papal Nuncio for twenty five years. He was instrumental in helping my cousin, his one time protégé, to carve out five counties of the Philadelphia Archdiocese into the new
diocese of Allentown Pennsylvania.
The Allentown Diocese was a consolation prize for my cousin for not getting the Cardinal’s chair in Philly. (Or so the family oral history states.) That Philly chair in terms of papal and American politics got taken away from the traditional Irish American holder of said territory in favor of a new ethnic/economic center of power in America, perhaps negotiated by a Papal Nuncio, in the form of the Polish American future king/pope maker, John Krol.
|452 Madison Ave NYC, Archbishop's Townhouse|
(Residence of the President of the USCCB)
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