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, OP.

After the National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures was reestablished in 1960, it later became the Office of Film and Broadcasting (OFB).[1] The Office of Film and Broadcasting merged with the National Catholic Office for Radio and Television in 1980.[2] Together they reviewed motion pictures, radio, and television using the same rating scale the original Legion of Decency did in the 1930s and 1940s.[1] They shared the same goal, which was to rid the screen of stories that lowered traditional moral standard and persuaded people, especially young people to accept false principles of conduct.[3] By 1990 the National Catholic Office for Radio and Television collapsed leaving the Office of Film and Broadcasting to review strictly motion pictures.[1] The Office of Film and Broadcasting worked to review every movie in the United States still adhering to the original rating system.[1]

The organization had been run by United States Catholic Conference in their Communications Department but was later joined with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and renamed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001. The Office of Film and Broadcasting carried on the same film rating system as the Legion of Decency. The rating “A” meant morally objectionable but falling into the subcategories of AI: Suitable for all audiences, AII: Suitable for adults and adolescents, and AIII: Suitable for adults only. The next ratings were “B”, which meant morally objectionable in part, and “C”, which mean it was condemned by the Legion of Decency. The Office of Motion Pictures began with the intention to rate every motion picture made in the United States and labored for 45 years.[4]

In 2005 controversies grew surrounding the intense rating system and inconsistent reviews. 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. Ultimately, the Office of Film and Broadcasting shut down in 2010.[5] The USCCB continues to voluntarily provide information and movie ratings for Catholics through the Catholic News Service.[1] The Catholic News Service also gives access to archived reviews dating from 2011 and prior.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Office of Film and Broadcasting of the USCCB. "Records of the Communications Department/Office of Film and Broadcasting."". 
  2. ^ Green, Jonathon. The Encyclopedia of Censorship. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1990. Print.
  3. ^ Donnelly, Gerald B. "The Motion Picture and the Legion of Decency." The Public Opinion Quarterly 2.1, Special Supplement: Public Opinion in a Democracy (1938): 42-44. JSTOR. Web.
  4. ^ Foerstel, Herbert N. "One A Brief History of Media Censorship." Banned in the Media: A Reference Guide to Censorship in the Press, Motion Pictures, Broadcasting, and the Internet. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998. N. pag. Print
  5. ^ "United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.
  6. ^ "USCCB - (Film and Broadcasting) - Archived Movie Reviews." USCCB - (Film and Broadcasting) - Archived Movie Reviews. USCCB, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

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