Petition by a Catholic activist group against a film about a lesbian nun “Benedetta”

A Catholic activist group has spoken out at Belfast’s Queen’s Film Theater after showing a “blasphemous” film about a lesbian nun on Good Friday.

he Irish Society for Christian Civilization branded Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s film Benedetta as “a fraud” and “a blatant attack on the Catholic faith.”

The film is due to be shown at QFT this Friday and ahead of its screening, ISCC has collected around 13,000 signatures on a petition it intends to send to MUBI, the London-based distributor, and to QFT.

The synopsis for Benedetta Starring Virginie Efira reads: “A 17th-century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing and erotic visions. She is supported by a companion and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair.”

According to ISCC, the film contains a number of controversial scenes, including the use of a statuette of the Virgin Mary as a sex toy by lesbian nuns.

The film, loosely based on the 1986 non-fiction book Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy by Judith C. Brown, sparked protests outside of theaters in the United States upon its release last December.

“This film is a fraud and nothing more than a blatant attack on the Catholic faith,” said Damien Murphy, a spokesman for the Irish Society for Christian Civilization.

“To launch this film on Good Friday is a calculated insult to all Christians. And shame on the Queen’s Film Theater in Belfast for allowing this screening at all times but especially on this most significant religious occasion.”

Mr Murphy said the film claimed to tell the story of Sister Benedetta Carlini, an early 17th-century abbess of the Theatine Convent in Pescia.

The nun was the subject of an investigation by church authorities between 1619 and 1623.

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Among the accusations made against her by other nuns were that she was a false stigmatist and possessed by demons.

She was eventually removed from her position and died penitent and reconciled with the Church in 1661.

“Catholics have been silent for too long in the face of these attacks on our faith,” Murphy said.

“From now on, we will make our voice heard through peaceful protest and public prayer.”

The QFT has been contacted for a reply.

The cinema’s website describes the film as a “subversive erotic drama based on the true story of a 17th-century nun who becomes involved in a forbidden lesbian affair.”

It adds: “A transgressive and seductive look at faith, power and religion, Verhoeven’s heady latest film is every bit as scandalous as one would expect from the controversial filmmaker.” Petition by a Catholic activist group against a film about a lesbian nun “Benedetta”

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