Mass entertainment at your local multiplex

'Being a Pope is very hard work. Being a future Pope is much more congenial'
Click to follow
The Independent Online

A most amazing case is going on at the moment in the High Court, where the Catholic Church is suing Hollywood for millions of dollars on the grounds of plagiarism. The Church claims that... but a brief extract from the trial will explain things better than I could. Here is the moment where the Catholic spokesman, Cardinal Rintermann, takes the stand to spell out the Church's complaint against world cinema:

A most amazing case is going on at the moment in the High Court, where the Catholic Church is suing Hollywood for millions of dollars on the grounds of plagiarism. The Church claims that... but a brief extract from the trial will explain things better than I could. Here is the moment where the Catholic spokesman, Cardinal Rintermann, takes the stand to spell out the Church's complaint against world cinema:

Counsel: Do you swear by almighty God to tell the...? Cardinal: Of course I do. That is my job.

Counsel: Right. And you are Cardinal Rintermann?

Cardinal: I am.

Counsel: Unusual name, isn't it?

Cardinal: Yes. But all names are unusual.

Counsel: Are they?

Cardinal: Oh, yes. Even the commonest names are borne by less than 1 per cent of the population. Smith is a very rare name compared to the names that aren't Smith.

Counsel: Perhaps so. Now, Cardinal Rintermann, you are a fast-rising cardinal in the Catholic hierarchy. Some have talked of you as a future Pope, have they not?

Cardinal: Yes. But all cardinals get talked of as a future Pope at some time or other.

Counsel: Do they?

Cardinal: Certainly. The Vatican is a hotbed of gossip and rumour.

Counsel: Would you like to be Pope?

Cardinal: Not particularly. Being a Pope is very hard work. Being a future Pope is much more congenial.

Counsel: Do you go to the cinema often?

Judge: Mr Bastable, I fail to see any point in your line of questioning so far.

Counsel: My Lord, I am trying to confuse the cardinal with irrelevant questions so that I can get him off guard and then suddenly swoop with an audacious but triumphant line of attack.

Judge: Fair enough. I can't see you succeeding, though. He seems a smart cookie to me. Still, carry on.

Counsel: Now, Cardinal, the Catholic Church has had some bad publicity recently, has it not?

Cardinal: No more than usual.

Counsel: Really? But what of all these priests found to be secretly conducting sex lives? What of scornful TV programmes such as Father Ted? What of all those monks and nuns who have turned out to be sadistic carers?

Cardinal: Yes, indeed. Was it not the Irish comedian Sean Hughes who said recently that things were now so bad in the Church that when he went to confession these days, he said to the priest, "So, what have you been up to, Father?"

Counsel: Is that not horrendous?

Cardinal: No. I think it's very funny. The Catholic Church has always been very good at laughing at itself.

Counsel: Is it not rather a humourless thing to sue the world cinema industry?

Cardinal: Not at all. We think we could be hitting paydirt here.

Counsel: Perhaps you could give the court some idea of what you accuse the cinema industry of. Is there some film you feel has misportrayed the Church?

Cardinal: It is not the film industry we object to. It is the cinema industry.

Counsel: Is there a difference?

Cardinal: Of course. A film is what you show. The cinema is the place where you show it.

Counsel: Of course. How silly of me. Carry on.

Cardinal: Recently the cinema industry has begun to economise by converting many movie houses into multiplex cinemas - that is, creating various smaller areas with their own auditoriums, all showing different films, to attract more people than one big screen would.

Counsel: Do you have any objection to that?

Cardinal: Not at all. It is a very good idea. It is so good that we Catholics thought of it centuries ago. Go into any large church, and you will find that it is subdivided into many smaller worship areas - side chapels, lady chapels, memorial chapels and so on - which all have their own services and times of worship. A large church is, if you like, a multiplex, each bit with its own attractions. We thought of the idea first, and would like our slice of the action.

Counsel: Isn't it a bit surprising to hear the Catholic Church being so obsessed by money?

Cardinal: You clearly don't know the Catholic Church...

The case continues.

Comments