top of page
  • Writer's pictureFred

Morally Offensive

My late-Grandmother used to work at Cleveland's Catholic Universe Bulletin. The Universe Bulletin was a Catholic newspaper that was published from 1874 to 2015. 141 years.

Even though the newspaper was often on my Grandparent's table, it wasn't a very good read. Let me give you an example. The paper would rate movies, not whether they were good or bad, but as to whether they were Morally Offensive or not.

If the movie was deemed Morally Offensive, I decided it was probably a good movie. Most of the movies the paper rated as family friendly or uplifting stories were usually poor efforts. In my teens, I learned the difference between movie ratings in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and ratings in the Universe Bulletin.

Which brings us to today. There seems to be a real shifting of the sands as to what is morally offensive and what is acceptable. Let's take the case of Woody Allen v Mia Farrow as Exhibit A.

As Woody Allen claims that he is retiring at the ripe old age of 86, people forget that he should have been out of the movie-making business decades age due to his criminal accusations, but Hollywood never held his feet to the fire.

Woody, by any metric, would have been in jail had he not been filthy rich. As soon as you start to feel for Mia Farrow, you find out that she's no peach herself.

Don't forget, it was journalist, and Farrow's and Allen's own son, who helped bring the allegations against Allen to light.

(ahem, ahem) "Allen's Son."

But in an immoral town, the story of the Farrows is just one of many of decadence in Hollywood. It wasn't so much a singular crime, but ...

As I started to cite other examples in my head, I thought to myself "maybe the Diocese of Cleveland wasn't the best arbiter of morality."

In the year 2006, Bishop Richard Lennon came to Cleveland after spending his entire life serving the Boston Diocese. But Lennon wasn't promoted to Cleveland due to his piety, he was promoted because he had expertise in downsizing a diocese in crisis.

By 2008, Lennon was closing and merging churches in under performing markets all over Northeast Ohio. Um, that sounds like he was a Papal Hatchet Man. By 2011, Lennon had made enemies all over Cleveland, from his own parishes to the city government. At one time Lennon excommunicated a priest that failed to close his church. In 2015, Lennon was behind the shuttering of the Universe Bulletin itself. "Word of the closing was delivered to the six members of the newspaper staff June 3 by Bishop Richard G. Lennon"

In its place, the cheaper to operate Northeast Ohio Catholic Magazine rose from the Bulletin's ashes.

Why are these unfocused ideas on my mind today? I can't help but think: Who are the arbiters?

Seriously. People on the right say Hollywood is horrible. People on the left say the church is horrible. Can't they both be horrible in their own little ways?


While I was writing this, I saw a Jesus Commercial on Fox.

Yes, I said Jesus.


In 2,000 years, they ain't gonna be making Beacon of Speech Commercials.

And even though Bishop Lennon closed the Universe Bulletin, I'm 99% sure that my late-Grandmother would have hated Beacon of Speech. She would have thought we were horrible.

Which makes me sad.

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page