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Cardinal Has Harsh Words For Film ‘Priest’

April 7, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ Cardinal John O’Connor slammed the movie ``Priest,″ comparing it to ``scrawling on the walls of men’s rooms″ and its producer to Pontius Pilate.

``The movie `Priest’ is as viciously anti-Catholic as anything that has ever rotted on the silver screen,″ O’Connor wrote in his weekly column in Catholic New York, the archdiocese’s newspaper.

The cardinal admitted he had not seen the film, and he left it up to Catholics whether or not to buy a ticket. But he was unambiguous in his criticisms, which he said he based on newspaper reviews.

The British-made movie tells of two priests in Liverpool, England, who have affairs _ one with their female housekeeper and the other with a male lover. It was produced by Miramax Films, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Co.

Disney and Miramax declined comment.

O’Connor objected to the depiction of priests in the film as sexually active, alcoholic and unstable.

The movie is ``little more than the kind of things kids used to take delight in scrawling on the walls in men’s rooms,″ he wrote.

The cardinal told Miramax to ``grow up,″ and compared Disney to Pontius Pilate, who sentenced Christ to death.

``It’s hard to wash your hands of this kind of thing, Disney and Company,″ he wrote. ``Pilate has been trying unsuccessfully for 2,000 years.″

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