London: film screening, debate on celibacy

John Deery

John Deery

Film director, John Deery, is staging a debate on the issue of celibacy in the Catholic Church, at a West End cinema,  two days before Pope Benedict's visit to the UK on 14 September.
The motion for the debate will be: 'Celibacy should no longer be a compulsory requirement for the Roman Catholic priesthood'.
Speakers for the motion are: Professor Tina Beattie, Roman Catholic theologian, writer and broadcaster, Roehampton  University;  Helena Kennedy QC, leading human rights lawyer  and  Fr John McGowan, Order of Carmelite (OCD).

Speakers against the motion are:  Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham  Jack Valero, Communications Director Opus Dei UK; Coordinator Catholic Voices and  Fr Stephen Wang, Dean of Studies, Allen Hall Seminary.
The event will be chaired by Ernie Rea, broadcaster and presenter of BBC Radio 4's Beyond Belief.  It takes place at the Odeon West End Cinema, 40 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7LP and will be preceded by Deery's  2003 film Conspiracy of Silence.  The film, which was never released in the Uk or Ireland,  won a Freedom of Expression Award from the National Board of Review (NBR) in the USA,   which he shared with  Mel Gibson for The Passion of the Christ and Michael Moore for Fahrenheit 9/11.

Deery's film was inspired by true stories and real events researched from Catholic priests in the UK, Ireland and  Italy. The screenplay was developed at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab in the US and deals with the issue of celibacy.

Deery said: "I am delighted that so many leading Catholic thinkers have agreed to debate this most important of subjects facing the Catholic Church. The celibacy issue has become increasingly contentious as vocations to the priesthood have fallen so dramatically. The
Church's refusal to face this growing crisis, alongside its alleged culpability in multiple child  abuse scandals points to an internal inertia and denial which must be challenged. Sexuality and  celibacy are at the heart of the matter."  

Bishop Malcolm McMahon said:  "I am pleased that I have the opportunity to put over the Catholic Church's view on the vow of celibacy at this important time in our history. The speakers John and his team have assembled are first class and I am sure we will have a most enjoyable and enriching evening.
Deery will be available on the night for an audience Q&A with the guest speakers.  A former altar boy, and a practicing Catholic,  Deery says he once considered the priesthood.

Door open at 6pm. The film will be screened at 6.30pm. After a break for refreshments the debate begins at 8.30pm.

Tickets  are £30,  available from the Odeon Box Office on 0871 22 44 007 or on line at:  

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