United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting

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United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting is an office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is best known for the USCCB film rating, a continuation of the National Legion of Decency rating system begun in 1933 by Archbishop of Cincinnati John T. McNicholas.

Under the USCCB a film can be rated:

  • A-I (morally unobjectionable for general patronage);
  • A-II (morally unobjectionable for adults and adolescents);
  • A-III (morally unobjectionable for adults);
  • L (limited adult audience – films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling); or
  • O (morally offensive).

Prior to 1982, films adjudged "morally offensive" received either of two ratings, B, which stood for "morally objectionable in part for all," or C, "condemned".

Originally the A category was not subdivided, the age-based segments within it shown above being added later. Until November 1, 2003, the L classification was known as A-IV, which meant "morally unobjectionable for adults, with reservations" and was given to films which, in the Office's judgment, "while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a protection to the uninformed against wrong interpretations and false conclusions."

Examples of movies which received the A-IV rating include The Exorcist and Saturday Night Fever, two films whose content was seen by many as being exaggerated by the mainstream press, perhaps leading to the wrong interpretations and false conclusions cited in the rating's full description. In 1995, the description was changed to films "which are not morally offensive in themselves but are not for casual viewing."

The Office for Film and Broadcasting is a direct descendant of the National Legion of Decency.

In 2007, Office director Harry Forbes was sharply criticized[by whom?] for giving a too favorable rating to the film The Golden Compass, which criticizes the Church by alluding to it through the fictional Magisterium.[1]


  1. ^ LifeSite News (5 February 2008). "Why Harry Forbes, USCCB Film Reviewer, Must be Replaced". Catholic Exchange. 

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