USCCB Reviewer Caught Okaying Another Film Celebrating Homosexual Immorality

Harry Forbes, director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office of Film and Broadcasting, has given a positive review to the homosexually-themed Rent.

Forbes, whose initial positive review of Brokeback Mountain two years' ago was subsequently modified by the USCCB, became the center of controversy earlier this month after the USCCB withdrew his positive review of The Golden Compass.

The 2005 movie Rent is based upon a musical of the same name.

The movie's plot follows the relationships between a group of friends who come together through New York City's East Village fine arts community.

Three of the eight main characters are HIV-positive, while a fourth named Angel is a transvestite street musician with full-blown AIDS.

One of these HIV-positive characters is Mimi, a heroin addict who earns a living as a stripper and a prostitute. The movie portrays some scenes of her performing in the club.

A second HIV-positive character is Tom, a philosophy professor who finds himself in a homosexual relationship with Angel.

Two of the other main characters include Maureen, a bisexual performance artist, who breaks her engagement to aspiring film-maker Mark in order to enter into a sexual relationship with Joanne, a lesbian lawyer. Maureen and Joanne will hold a commitment ceremony part way through the movie.

The only one of the eight friends to settle down and marry is Benjamin, who is often portrayed as the antagonist for "selling out" the fine arts community. In fact, the name "Rent" comes from Benjamin's attempt to fulfill his family obligations by collecting rent from the other seven characters.

Although Forbes admits in his 2005 review that the "film's subject matter may turn off many viewers," he nevertheless describes it as "a snapshot of a piece of cultural history — both the era depicted and the musical itself," calling it "an impressive achievement."

"The cast is superb," writes Forbes. "The original cast members wear the years lightly, while newcomers Dawson and Thoms fit in beautifully with the ensemble. […] The dissolute, countercultural lifestyles of some of the characters take second place to the overriding themes of love, connection, dealing with loss and appreciation of life."

Sample lyrics to "La Vie Boheme", one of the musical's main songs, include the following:

"Bisexuals, trisexuals, Homo Sapiens, Carcinogens, hallucinogens, men, Pee Wee Herman German wine, turpentine, Gertrude Stein"

As well as:

"To sodomy
It's between God and me
To S & M"

See Forbes' Review of Rent published by the Catholic News Service:

To express concerns contact:

USCCB President
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archdiocese of Chicago
155 E. Superior Street Chicago, IL
60611 312-751- 8200

This article is a special report to Lifesite News by Pete Vere.

Vere is a canon lawyer and co-author of "Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy" available at
As well as Surprised by Canon Law II (St. Anthony Messenger Press)

Pete Vere


Pete Vere is a canon lawyer, author, and Byzantine Catholic from Northern Ontario, Canada. He and his wife Sonya have six children. In his few spare moments, when he is not cooking or camping with his family, he enjoys hunting, reading, video games and scotch.

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  • Guest

    This guy really needs to be fired.

  • Guest

    Echo that, Claire!  And may God enlighten his soul with Truth.

  • Guest

    He seems to me to be a movie critic. I wonder if the USCCB, when hiring him, made it clear that they wanted the movies reviewed in the light of Christ or if they just wanted the movies reviewed?

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    The whole USCCB needs to be disbanded. Too many are wolves in sheep clothing for sure. – AndyP/Doria2    Yonkers,  NY    HOSEA 4:6

  • Guest

    This article makes it sound like he just wrote the review for Rent, ("… has given a positive review.") but he wrote it in 2005.  Hasn't anyone been paying attention to this guy?

  • Guest

    Good grief, not again?!?! Yell Doesn't anybody read his stuff at USCCB, particularly Catholic News Service, before it goes out the door? Surprised I'm wondering now if there isn't some convoluted contract stipulation that says that Forbes' reviews are not subject to review or censure by anyone else in USCCB, and that his contract calls for punitive damages if terminated for reasons other than gross insubordination or commission of an outright crime. Otherwise I find it hard to believe the top miters at USCCB are that clueless that they let this guy review whatever movies he chooses and then publicizes whatever he writes without so much as a caveat to caution otherwise unwitting readers (i.e. a simple disclaimer: that these reviews do not necessarily reflect the views of the USCCB, it's employees or management).

  • Guest

    I don't know if Forbes did it, but someone on behalf of USCCB gave a positive review to Michael Moore's "Sicko".

     Merry Christmas and God bless.

  • Guest

    It's hard enough trying to keep our kids on

    the straight and the narrow with out the

    bishops serving up gravy for the lamp chops.




  • Guest

    <The whole USCCB needs to be disbanded. Too many are wolves in sheep clothing for sure. – AndyP/Doria2    Yonkers>


    Amen to that.


  • Guest

    So far "wolves in sheeps clothing" is the most likely scenario. You can e-mail all the protests you want, you won't get a response. I've got a half dozen in there without ackowledgement. They're too busy figuring out how to pay settlements on past scandals and it looks like they're fine with presiding over new ones.

  • Guest

    I looked at some of the other reviews.

    At least he doesn't endorse slasher movies.

    Only the ones he seems to feel are emotionally compelling.

    Bishops, dear Bishops…if your reading this:

    Don't you care about the souls in your care?

    …we need someone in the movie review office who will reveiw movies with the ye of an informed Catholic who would ask...would Jesus let his mother watch this?

    Or better yet, would Mary let Jesus watch this?

    it really is that simple.  That's how my husband and I rate movies, and admittedly we see very few as a result…but there you go.

    And so what if most of the movies then get an 'O' rating? It's not the world you will answer too, but Christ, who spilled his blood for these souls who are being lead to hell's picnic in a gravy soaked hand basket.

    And personally, I think the rating system needs to be simplified and more dramatic in emphasis. For example, 'L' movies and 'morally objectionable' to be replaced simply with an "F".



  • Guest

    I don't think we can simply disband the USCCB.  A national conference of bishops — an episcopal conference — is mandated by Vatican II as an instrument through which the bishops of a nation or region should "exchange views" and "jointly formulate a program for the common good of the Church" (Christus Dominus 37). In the USA, the episcopal conference is called the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

    Now, for the common good of the Church, the conference ought to fire Mr. Forbes and any other staff who are not supporting the bishops' in their mission to preach, teach, and sanctify.

  • Guest

    There must be a wholesale house-cleaning that must be done. I pray that Cardinal George will be the one to carry that out. And I will continue to pray…


    At the same time, how did it get to be that the tail wags the dog here? The conference seems to do MUCH more that simply act as a forum to exchange views or jointly formulate programs. It seems to act as a nearly independent organization out of touch with the mainstream. Somewhat like a number of (interestingly enough) like-minded "Catholic" universities. Another analogy is the deeply entrenched bureaucracy in places like Walter Reed and large VA hospitals. It just doesn't matter who is the commander, everyone knows who "really" runs the place.

  • Guest

    Many have missed commenting on the Simpon's Movie review.  Take a look at that one too.  Enough is enough.


  • Guest

    Does no one realize that whether a movie has artistic merit is a *separate issue from whether it conveys a message compatible with Catholicism? A Catholic movie reviewer must give an honest, thorough assessment of the movie's artistic quality *in addition* to evaluating its moral value. A movie can be "a snapshot of a piece of cultural history" and feature "superb" acting despite being morally offensive. Should Forbes have lied and said Rent's cast was terrible and storytelling shoddy? Or should he simply have neglected part of his role and not have addressed those aspects of the movie?

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    PTR, that rational suggestion of firings does mean that they will have to ‘fire’ some mitre wearers, quite frankly. Though the mitre is meant to reflect the forked tongues of fire of Pentcost, some seem to think that it refers to their own tongues, in reference to their roles in the Magisterium.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In our delighted glory in our Infant King,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest


    I agree that a film's artistic achievement is a quite different aspect from the underlying morality of the story.

    But we all recognize the danger of a counterfeiter who disguises his false money so that it appears to have the same look and feel of good money to everyone but a subject matter expert.  Likewise, the book or motion picture industry can package their atheist-based products, aiming their marketing at specific demographics, in this case aimed at children through Scholastic books and Burger King Kid's Meal toys and so forth, disguised to have the same look and feel as the Christian-based Narnia and The Lord of the Rings.

    We all recognize the useful role of the subject matter expert in helping expose the counterfeiter.

    But for some reason, this does not seem obvious in the matter of books and film. Many are more than willing to give the movie reviewer for the Catholic bishops' conference a pass in praising the acting, the writing, the setting, the choreography, and the special effects of morally offensive, evil products.

    Thereby, instead of exposing the counterfeiter, they aid in the counterfeit. Which is why it is all the more distasteful.