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The Catholic Movie Rating System

Updated on September 6, 2013

The Catholic Movie Rating System classifications

The Catholic Movie Rating System. Did you know there was one? Current google search results show just over 1 million listings for Catholic Movie Rating System. It appears to still be a little known system. This article endeavors to bring attention to the Catholic Movie Rating System by reaching more people with the information. So, here is one addition to those google search results.

Have you ever watched a PG movie and thought "this is what PG is now?" "Maybe it should be PG-13." and so forth? The Catholic Movie Rating system differs from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) by having stricter guidelines.

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops confer on this movie rating system.

By the way, historically, there was also a Legion of Decency rating system from the 1930s to early 1980s I've heard about with stricter guidelines still, but I will research that Decency rating system and perhaps hub about it at a later time...

For example, in learning more about former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney of Mormon faith and a hugely successful business man with many investments, I thought it was interesting to learn that according to Wikipedia, he avoided investing in/ management consulting for a film company the produced rated R movies. I thought that was amazing if true. How disciplined of him to not want to profit from them if the opportunity presented itself. Are rated R movies all that bad? Some of them are really good or excellent, no? Well...

Whether you are a young person that likes to watch the popular movies of today, a single older person, a member of a Catholic family raising children, another Christian family or a member of another faith, (really, anyone at all looking for more family friendly options in movie entertainment for yourself and/or your family), you might appreciate The Catholic News Service Movie Rating System.

Here are the Catholic News Service Movie Rating System ratings / CNS classifications:

A-I - general patronage

A-II - adolescents and adults

A-III - adults with reservations - films not to viewed casually, may need analysis and explanation to avoid misinterpretation.

L - limited adult audience - content may be problematic and troublesome for some viewers

O - morally offensive

The online community might seek information about Catholicism at sources such as the Vatican website.

Websites such as also provide information for the Catholic community. Sometimes there are articles there that are opinion pieces to be read with caution. Those seeking to become more devoted to their faith need to look to the Bible and seek guidance in interpretation of difficult to understand reading passages. Church leaders/ your Pastor, those who have attended Seminary and have spent years studying the Bible extensively can help to guide you in your own Bible study and translations/ interpretations. Catholics need to know the Bible. As followers of Jesus Christ, Catholics seek to do good works.

You must know the Catholic philosophy in order to ascribe to it so it is important to know the teachings of the Church and where the Church stands on key issues.

Christians and all those religiously affiliated are living in a world of modernity. Modern means current. In the current state we are living in, we must be present and in touch with the modern reality but we can choose what to accept and reject in these modern times. We want to have fun, enjoy life and be entertained but we need to be careful with what we choose to accept for ourselves from the entertainment and media industry without judging others.

When Catholics attend Mass on Sundays, there is often access to newsletters and the news of the Diocese. Newspapers and pamphlets may be readily available at your church. The Catholic News Herald is one such newspaper and can be enjoyable reading for Parishioners wanting to learn about current events in the community such as those at the parochial schools or learning the news of a newly ordained Priest.

There is also attention called to local news and world news (both good and bad news) and guidance for what the community can do to help those that are suffering locally and around the world. There are advertisements as well and a small section of the paper contains film reviews with a rating system specifically to help guide us in making the better choices in film viewing.

Watching movies might be among our favorite past times. Here on HubPages, a lot of us enjoy writing movie reviews. Lately, I was thinking about being more careful about what I put out into the atmosphere. Some movies that I have seen are like whoa, that was 'interesting'. As interesting and thought provoking as it was, do I see it as a positive thing or a negative thing? Do I really want to recommend it to others? When shopping for movies (renting movies, going to the movie theater or buying a movie to add to your dvd collection), The Catholic Movie Rating System can be a very useful guide for you. Perhaps, you will want to stop spending your money on certain types or movies altogether and avoid recommending these types of movies for others to go to watch.

The worst rating that the Catholic Movie Rating System gives to a movies is "O" meaning "morally offensive". As I sought guidance on this, I will avoid watching the "morally offensive" films and I highly doubt I will give any of them "5 stars", saying "this was great!", "a must see", "you should go see this" and other film review lingo.

This eye opening Catholic Movie Rating System led me to "UnPublish" a couple of my movie reviews here at HubPages before reconsidering whether to publish them again. The films include "The Reader" and "The Wrestler". These are both films, where the actors played their parts so well but I could see how people can become offended with issues such as nudity in the films. The shame of being unclothed in public is also discussed in the Bible and nudity in films is about as public a display as you can get. Many actors are excellent and gifted in their craft as are the writers, directors, producers, editors and all involved in moviemaking but what should be the boundary in artistic licensing? Speaking of art, I have taken 5 college level art courses and learning how to draw and paint the human nude body is an integral teaching in the studio art. The model publicly displays for the art students as a training tool as the patient must disrobe for the medical students. But is nudity in the Hollywood big screen movies acceptable according to the church?

As it turns out, The Catholic Movie Rating System rated "The Reader" as "L" meaning "limited adult audiences" who might be particularly sensitive to or disturbed by the depictions of suicide, the Holocaust, underage sex, nudity and other issues. The film is not considered "morally offensive" but proceed with caution.

"The Wrestler" was also given a rating of "L".

Currently, the Church recognizes that many films endeavor to depict the reality of life events and may be based on true stories.

Some actors in various films have been interviewed by various reporters and also say things along the lines of- nudity is part of life and if the nudity is needed to tell the story, he or she would justify being nude in the film.

In my opinion, the nudity was a lot in "The Reader" and "The Wrestler" so I thought okay, this is a bit much. Is this to be considered "morally offensive"? To answer the question, I looked toward the guide of the Catholic News Service Movie Rating System.

Sometimes we think that avoiding certain things is just common sense but as more and more "morally offensive" movies with excessive violence, gratuitous sex, plenty of profane language, full frontal nudity, etc continue to be more and more popular, we can be more vigilant with the Catholic News Service (CNS) Movie Rating System.

Thanks for reading! God Bless You.

Website of interest

Before you head off to the movie theater, you can check the Catholic News Service's specific ratings of the latest movies here:

Catholic News Service Movie Ratings

Movies given the "O" rating right now include Riddick.


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    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks to all of you for your comments so far. I appreciate the input and welcome continued comments from everybody.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I didn't realize they had a rating system different from the standard reviews. I think it is a good option and probably more accurate for viewers, especially families. Thanks for the information.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hello Journey....Never heard of this, but I'm not surprised. It's fairly well-known that the Catholic Church is a seriously vigilant group, always protecting their flock.

      I can't imagine who the Catholics are who view and/or research and rate these movies. Some of the films that are being made today have pretty rough viewing and listening. The sex, drugs, violence....all of it....I rarely will watch anything any more, unless someone I know and trust recommends it. I am easily shaken, disgusted and frightened. The real world is scary & nasty enough for me. No need to seek it out!

      Very good hub. Quite informational....UP +++

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Never heard of The Catholic Movie Rating System; but I like it. Thanks for educating us about this tool. Positive parenting families could use this; also singles who care about what they feed their minds. Thanks a bunch. Voted Up and Useful.