Skip to site content

Catholic Bishops Revise Movie Ratings

A new movie classification is forthcoming from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The conference’s Office for Film and Broadcasting announced Aug. 6 that one of its movie classifications—”A-IV: adults, with reservations”—will become “L: limited adult audience; films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
The revised rating will take effect Nov. 1, according to the press release. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Movies having previously earned the A-IV rating will receive the new L classification.
 
“With movies being more explicit these days in terms of violence, language, sexuality and themes, the designation ‘L—limited adult audience’ offers a more cautionary assessment than the previous ‘A-IV, adults, with reservations,’ which some interpreted as just slightly problematic but otherwise equivalent of a straightforward ‘A-III—adults’ classification,” said Gerri Paré, the office’s director, in the release.
 
The office currently applies five classifications to the movies it reviews:
 

  • A-I—general  patronage;
  • A-II—adults and adolescents;
  • A-III—adults;
  • A-IV—adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions);
  • O—morally offensive.

 
“The revised designation is clearer,” Paré said. “While an ‘L’ film in not expressly ‘O—morally offensive,’ it is likely to contain material that many Catholics would find troublesome.”
 
The USCCB’s Office for Film and Broadcasting reviews mainstream movies “for moral suitability as well as technical and artistic considerations and assigns a moral classification to each,” according to the release.
 
Reviews are posted each week at the office’s Web site.