Sex and the Holy City
Investigates the impact on poor women and families of the late Pope John Paul's position on sex and reproductive health.
Produced by Chris Woods for BBC's "Panorama" Series
Reporter: Steve Bradshaw
Series Editor: Mike Robinson
In the West, many Catholics ignore the Church's teachings on sex. But in poorer countries the words of the Church still matter, whether spoken from the pulpit or through a government minister. Pope John Paul believed everyone - not just the world's billion Catholics - should follow the Vatican's teachings. And he tried to make sure the world listened, becoming a key player in the bitter global debate over women's rights and reproductive health. In this unique documentary, BBC reporter Steve Bradshaw investigates how the late Pope, who tried to act in the best interests of women, came to be accused of ruining so many lives.
"Truly an eye-opening -- if deeply disturbing -- experience." Merrill Wolf, Senior Associate, Public Information, Ipas
Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2003
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-052-9
VHS ISBN: 1-59458-051-0
"Deeply disturbing...When religious doctrine is blindly invoked and scientific fact twisted beyond recognition to put millions of lives at risk, then the integrity of the Roman Catholic church in all matters should rightly be called into question."
Tony Kerridge, Marie Stopes International
"SEX AND THE HOLY CITY does an excellent job explaining the origins of the Catholic Church's current misguided and often just plain inaccurate teachings related to sexuality, especially concerning contraception and abortion. It also illustrates -- often very poignantly -- how disconnected these teachings are from the realities of modern life. That disconnection has a tragic impact, especially on some of the world's most vulnerable people. Viewing the film is truly an eye-opening -- if deeply disturbing -- experience."
Merrill Wolf, Senior Associate, Public Information, Ipas
"Sex and the Holy City exposed one of the most shameful secrets of the Vatican's War on modern sexuality. It exposed the Vatican's willingness to lie about the effectiveness of condoms, to claim that condoms cause rather than prevent HIV/AIDS. From high ranking Cardinals to parish priests in Africa, some church leaders would rather see others die from AIDS than change their minds about sex. The film is a wake up call to the world's Catholics and the public health community, pointing out that flawed religious teachings can be dangerous to your health and that anyone who cares about human life must challenge religion when it does damage rather than good."
Frances Kissling, President, Catholics for a Free Choice
"Sex and the Holy City would make a good discussion starter in college classes where human rights, women's rights, or health issues are debated. General library collections are also a potential home for it... An interesting look at a topic that has a global reach."
Mary Northup, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Recommended for selective high school and academic libraries."
Awards and Festivals
Certificate of Merit, Chicago International Television Awards
Finalist, ICIJ Award (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)
Nationwide Broadcast in Britain on the BBC
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Oneworld Media Awards
Vermont International Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford
American Psychological Association Convention
American Public Health Association Film Festival
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